DT 29491 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29491 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29491 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Morning all.

I’m still having to work (two more Saturdays after today and then the big R) so it is a little truncated.

Very enjoyable puzzle today by one of our Mysterons, needing a little more thought than last week’s. For those who attach importance to such things, no pangram today. A few creatures in the grid though. Lots of anagrams as well, most of which I have not hinted at. Look for the words that could indicate movement in clues.

Remember not to post answers to other clues, it isn’t big or clever and annoys people. Especially me.

If you tackle this one and need something else to do, you can go and tackle the Guardian and FT free of charge where you’ll tackle our Sunday setters old and new. I know which of the puzzles I prefer…

You can find them here:



(Click on the little print icon just to the right below the puzzle).

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.


5a Bind helium in nucleus (6)
A term in science meaning to bind is found by taking the symbol for helium and place it inside something meaning a centre or nucleus.

8a Great loss of liquid for flushing lavatory? (8)
Take the word for a type of liquid and a slang name for a lavatory. The definition is in the dictionary.

14a Non-Equity presentations shot in the afternoon? (2-4)
The name for performances where the cast are not professional could be described as ‘being done by noon’.

17a Send back rotten fish (3)
Reverse a word meaning rotten to get an edible fish.

20a Rodent traps doctor in shopping centre (6)
The name for a member of the rodent family is found by taking an abbreviation for a doctor and placing it inside the (American) name for a shopping centre (or center).

23a Substantial weight is in wood floor (8)
Inside the name of the wood from which cricket stumps are made goes a weight and IS.

31a Old weapons in unopened graves (6)
A word for type of raised burial site doesn’t have its first letter.


1d Ultimately malicious sorceress making light flicker? (6)
The last letter (ultimately) of MALICIOUS plus the name for a sorceress gives something you can flick to get light.

3d Sound rising? Time to exit street party! (9)
A musical term meaning getting louder is the name for a type of thoroughfare, minus a T, plus a word for a party.

4d Murphy dropping old rubbish in river (6)
The abbreviation for old, plus a word for rubbishy antiques both go inside the name of an Italian river.

7d Those out to stop traitor that changes Resistance? (8)
The name for a scientific device that alters resistance is found by rearranging the letters (out) of THOSE and placing them inside a word for a traitor.

15d Second number scheme on European aircraft (9)
A word sum. A word meaning a second, plus the abbreviation for number, add a word for a scheme and an abbreviation for European to give the name of an old aircraft

16d Heater that’s cooler for car (8)
Two definitions. At home it warms you and in the car, it’s designed to cool the engine.

18d Having reached 50, worker lives in fantasy land (8)
The name for a fictional land is found by saying you have got to the Roman numeral for 50, add a standard crossword word that is clued by ‘worker’ and a short word meaning exists.

27d Digs in snow and ice? (5)
Something for which ‘digs’ is a slang word for, but when snow and ice are involved.

Thanks to our setter for today’s puzzle. See you next week.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today comes courtesy of one of Britain’s most promising young musicians. Jess Gillam is a truly talented saxophonist and this is one of her best:

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD

The Quick Crossword pun: pour+chew+Gaul=Portugal

108 comments on “DT 29491 (Hints)

  1. For a Saturday, this was one of the easiest I can remember. All completed in */** time, without a single Hmm, Umm or Err.

    26a was one of the last to go in, and so is my COTD.

    Many thanks to Mysteron and Tilsit, from myself and Humphrey & Spot, my 13a visitors.

  2. There were a lot of really straightforward clues in this puzzle and a few with a sting in the tail for a challenge (**/****). I really enjoyed it and the creatures. The best clues for me were 13a, 30a with good misdirection, 7d and 27d, the latter having made me laugh out loud. Thanks to Tilsit for finding time to do the hints and to the compiler.

  3. A gentle jog through this morning. **/*** The clues are pretty straightforward, nothing convoluted. 5d made me smile. Favourite 23a. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  4. A largely straightforward and accessible Prize Puzzle that was punctuated by a few tricky clues. My standout favourite was the excellent 27d. A great example of a crossword that can be relatively easy to solve yet still very enjoyable to complete.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit for hosting the blog.

  5. That was eclectic fun completed at a gallop with only one Hmm (on 14a) – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 3d, 12d, 15d, 16d, and the Pun – and the winner is 13a.
    Other than Jay on a Wednesday, Ray T on alternate Thursdays, and, of course, Dada on a Sunday, my setter detector radar is worse than useless but I am going to risk everything and say that this was a Donnybrook who has set a SPP or two recently. Of course, I am more than happy to be proved wrong.
    So, thanks to him and Tilsit.

    1. Whoever it was, I would be interested in trying another of his/her to see if I can untangle the thinking. At the moment most of it has me more lost than a Ray T.

  6. For me one of the most difficult Saturdays for a long time. Needed electronic help to finish it. I am still completely at a loss to explain the afternoon reference in 14a and the hints has confused me even more – done by noon????
    Some very clever clues that were in the main above my cerebral capacity, 8a for example.
    Thx for the hints?

      1. I think it’s the afternoon part of the wordplay that has Brian nonplused – it certainly has me confused & wonder if that’s why Senf thought it merited the dreaded Hmm

        1. Yes – the afternoon part is what caused the Hmm. But I have now justified it to myself and, as I don’t want to be sent to the naughty step, I will have to keep it to myself and hope that CS or Gnomethang can explain it to us on Thursday.

    1. I’m at a loss to understand how or why you found this puzzle so tricky and for that matter yesterday’s too after telling us how little problem you had with Thursday’s. . . . . which for me personally was the most challenging for quite some time. I suppose it really does all boil down to ‘wavelength’.

      1. It is the way we think. I am often surprised when I think it’s a stinker, others find it simple. I have problems with anything to do with physics, so you know the last one I put in today. I find cricket, art, literature, classics, geography, history, all very simple.

        I find The best clues always use just the correct number of words, and will use misdirection or humour to give us that penny drop moment

  7. Enjoyable puzzle with 16d as my favourite. It’s probably an oldie but I hadn’t seen it before so it’s a golden oldie. Thank you Tilsit for your blog and not doing any anagrams. Your suggestion about them was good and they were fairly easy to spot.

    On a literary note the Nobel Prize for Literature was very interesting. Like many my first reaction was “Who she?”. Then the American poet label rang Mary Oliver alarm bells very loudly. On checking some of her available poetry on line I was more than just impressed with what I read. No banal cracker barrel platitudes wrapped in nature but rather a darkly hued perception of the world which seemed thoughtful even if perhaps a little difficult. I immediately ordered three of her works and am looking forward to them arriving.

  8. I concur wholly with Senf on faves and Hmms.
    With 14a I thought the 4th word was relevant and the 7th was less than strictly correct but the answer was apparent
    Special mention for 20a who pops his head over the parapet in quick succession.
    Thanks to tilsit and setter

            1. My 4 letter word is singular yet the clue suggests it should be plural.
              When you experts are puzzled it indicates to me the clue could have been better

                1. Tilsit’s interpretation in the hint seems to be that shot means done with or over, finished
                  Gazza’s interpretation is that the word order suggests something slightly different
                  My interpretation is that either way it isn’t the greatest clue

          1. If you write the second synonym of the answer after a term for morning it will be after noon. Any cake in the naughty corner?

              1. High bake water biscuits are going, too. What will I have with my Christmas port and Stilton?

                Oh, I forgot – Christmas has gone also!

                Hudson, pour me a large one!

                1. My other half has eaten the last lot and is now eating his way through the almond fruit and oat bars with a cup of tea.

  9. First run through led me to expect this to be somewhat of a killer but, on the contrary, it turned out to be entirely manageable.. Favs were the closeted pair 8a and 27d. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit to whom also thanks for intoducing Jess Gillam to me – the “Rise” extract is beautifuly chilling 🎷.

  10. 2*/3*. This was light and reasonably enjoyable although I am flummoxed by 14a which I thought would have worked if the last word in the clue had been a different time of day. :unsure:

    My top two were 24d & 27d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  11. Nice if short-lived Prize Puzzle – add me to the ‘confused by 14a’ people. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

    I can highly recommend both the Brendan (Virgilius) in the Graun and the Shabbo NTSPP

      1. Can’t tell you Hoofit how pleased I was to see that I’d got last week’s Paul correct – it took countless revisits & 2 days. It’s been a good week for Graun puzzles.

          1. Yet to tackle Crucible (foolishly spent most of the day on Elgar) – I always look out for your comments & am surprised when you think the DT is harder as I find the Graun much more of a struggle as evidenced by my current labours with Brendan’s prize. (aka Lockdownloopy – wasn’t allowed Huntsman)

            1. I don’t find the the DT harder, I just do it after the Graun, by which time my brain is usually addled.

  12. Puzzle of two halves for me.Just the opposite of yesterday: today South no problem North nearly blank. Some good clues with 23a my COTD.
    Not sure I have 14a correct so a technical dnf but whatever the answer it is an expression I have never come across & I never enter for the prize so doesn’t matter.. I thought it a poor clue which doesn’t detract from an otherwise pleasurable solve.
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit for the hints.

  13. I struggled with 14a, the kind of clue leading to an answer that I really dislike, a kind of portmanteau-ish, abbreviated-hyphenated term that this foreigner can only guess at. It’s the syntax of the clue that seems jagged. (But I really should have known it, and my bung-in was correct.) A pleasant puzzle except for all that, with the NW corner a cut above the rest, and 13a & 8a taking the honours along with 27d. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to today’s compiler. ** / ***

  14. I agree with others that this was fairly straightforward for a prize puzzle although there are a few head scratchers. I spent ages trying to solve 12d because I put the wrong answer at 13a initially. Once I corrected 13a, 12d became obvious. I also was slightly confused by the clue for 14a. COTD is 27d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for taking the time to write the excellent hints.

    1. Wish I’d read your comment before posting mine at 18 – would have saved me the trouble as I could have just replied ditto except that you’ve figured 13a/12d out.

      1. I have no idea why I put in the first answer I did for 13a but it did seem to fit the clue. I won’t say more because I think the cake on the naughty step might be stale by now. :grin:

        1. Just putting the kettle with the golf on pause & the penny dropped despite not even thinking about it. I’ll nominate 12d as my COTD now.

  15. On first scan through I thought this was going to be tough, but after a little struggling and consulting BRB and Roget I git there in the end. A very entertaining crossword really good for a Saturday cogitate.
    Enjoy retirement Tilsit, I can rcommend it. Thanks also to setter.

  16. Tilsit,
    Thanks for the links to the Guardian and FT crosswords.
    Is there any way of getting the Sunday Telegraph crossword on line ? I’m subscribed to Pressreader but for some reason there’s never a crossword published on the Sunday edition.

    1. RupertB, using PressReader, the Sunday Cryptic is not in the main paper but in one of the many supplements.

      It’s called “Sunday”

      Hope this helps.

      1. Doh, never thought of that, and I’m afraid I’ve moaned to both Pressreader and the Crossword section of the DT and ST about it.
        Thanks for the steer !

            1. This one – Tilsit’s original hint written in the very early hours of this morning gave too much away and its now been amended

  17. I’m still not wholly convinced by 14a but no other issues to report.
    5d made me smile and podium places went to 13,23&26a plus 24d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints – I do enjoy listening to a saxophone.
    PS Do make time for the NTSPP – one of our very successful ex-Rookies.

  18. Other than the wordplay at 14a a reasonably straightforward & entertaining offering though one that as yet I am unable to complete for the want of the last letter at 12d – mind you that’s always assuming I have letters 6&8 correct in 13a. 27a was my pick of the clues.
    Many thanks to the setter & Tilsit.

      1. Apropos 12 down; I was in two minds as to whether it was a very good clue or a very silly one, but as I ended up chuckling over it I came to the conclusion that it must be a good one. A very gentle puzzle for a prize one, but good fun all considered. Among my favourites were 2 down (a place that I have been itching to visit for many years) 13 across for the misdirection that it gave me and 31 across. Top spot for me was 8 across. Thanks to today’s setter and also to Tilsit.

        1. On reflection, Shropshirebloke, it is a great clue. I was so pleased to have got it that I didn’t notice the subtlety of the clue.
          I should have made it my COTD.

  19. Still got to look up “Scottish Archipelago”. Loved 12 down once I got 13 across right.

  20. I think my brain is tired today as I made unnecessary hard work of this one. I stared too long at 5a, [redacted for being in alternative clue/wrong answer territory]….hey-ho!
    14a confused me too.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Not sure why I have been redacted since I did not provide an alternative clue to the one in the puzzle, nor did I suggest an answer be it right or wrong… but anyway, ita est; apologies if I crossed the line.

  21. I join the coterie of confused cruciverbalists regarding 14a, but I found it an easy puzzle. What was hard was picking a favourite from what I felt was a poor set of choices. In the end I opted for 27d.

    I have an issue with 31a in that [redacted]

    I might be flirting with danger here, but I half expected my iPad to burst into flames after entering 22d.

  22. Add me to the list of confused by 14a.

    I didn’t find it as straightforward as most seem to have…..but not as difficult as Brian says he did.
    Needed Tilsit’s help to parse 15d……which resulted in a bit of head slapping when I saw it.
    A very enjoyable crossword with clever and entertaining clues. I too laughed out loud at 27d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    Thanks too for the links to the other crosswords. Not a great day up here in Dundee…..dank I think best describes it….could be worse, could be dreich, or even “fell dreich”. So, crosswords looks the way forward for me as Mr Meringue watches the rugby……I don’t know where he finds it, but he does most weekends in season.

  23. Well, I found this the hardest puzzle of the week and have only just finished. Pesky 10a last in and it held me up for ages until it literally dawned on me! So obvious now. Thanks to all, must go and finish my supermarket delivery for tomorrow. My only sweet yearning is liquorice which I adore but terrible for blood pressure so will try not to hit that button.

    1. Really? I’d no idea. George lives it and I used to buy big bags of it from Lakeland. Good job I can’t get there any more! Why is everything nice bad for you (except fruit of course, and even then we cannot eat grapefruit. 😟)

      1. No, I can’t have grapefruit either, Daisygirl. However, it reminds me of the man how injured his arm and he asked the doctor if he would be able to play the violin now. The doctor replied that there was no reason why not once the arm had healed. The man replied “Really? That’s good. I couldn’t play it before”.

        I hated grapefruit!

  24. I go with the majority with 14a being a bung in which had to be and 27d being delightful. 2d was nicely disguised. I also had the wrong word in for 13a but couldn’t justify it, then the penny dropped and 12d is not exclusively what it says on the tin. I’ve made some more Madeleines but this time I dipped them in chocolate and I offer a virtual one to anyone on the naughty step. It is very easy to get sent there. Thanks to Tilsit and to the setter. Have a good weekend.

  25. I thought this was a great piece of light relief written in good humour, entertaining and a pleasure to work through with a nice Saturday lunchtime pint. Many thanks to all

  26. I am so far off wavelength today I must be on a different planet. Certainly “easiest”, “straight forward” and “gentle jog” do not describe my attempt to solve today’s puzzle. Perhaps a couple of hours painting in the bathroom might wake my brain up. Thanks to setter and especially Tilsit.

    1. Forgot to say how pleased I was to read of the knighting of Tommy Steele. He was my first heartthrob at the age of 14, and the first records I ever bought. Lovely lad. My Gran liked him too, or perhaps she just said that to please me.

      1. All the mums, aunts and grans liked Tommy Steele. I bought a few of his records. One was ‘A Handful of Songs’ I think.

      2. I consider the first “British” rock and roll record to be Move It by Cliff and The Shadows. Even The Beatles and Led Zeppelin rated it highly. I heard a recording of a rock show Cliff and the Shads performed back in the early 60’s and they were just as good as any American band.

        I agree, BusyLizzie – a knighthood for Tommy was way overdue. His contribution to music and show business is peerless

  27. A nice work out, SW corner my main hold out but wrestled to the ground in the end. If there is any room left put me on the 14a hmmm pile.

    1. it was interesting and 14a came and went without any real comment. Maybe we overthought it a bit

  28. I’m in agreement with the many comments on 14a. Didn’t make sense to me so my bung-in will need the forthcoming review to explain. Otherwise it was a mixed bag and not my favourite. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  29. Not too tricky, but will add my confusion re 14a. The shot is clear enough… but the afternoon seems to be entirely the wrong side of the meridian? Personal faves were 24d, 25d and the cleverly misdirecting 27d. Excellent.

    Have to mention how entirely un PC I must be. I was convinced on a wrong answer for 12d that made total sense for a fair few minutes, even though it’d have meant 13a ending in a V. I clearly need to attend some course or something!

    1. I struggled with 4d despite guessing the correct river! Couldn’t figure out where Murphy fitted in (slap to forehead after reading the hint). Otherwise a reasonably straightforward challenge.

  30. After an abysmal result yesterday, this seemed almost a walk in the park – not exactly! I did quite well until I got to the SW corner when I needed a hint or two to get going again.
    Fave was 8a, 12d was pretty clever too. I was so pleased that I remembered the Scottish archipelago, so add that to my likes.
    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the help.

    1. Hi Merusa,
      You asked me to let you know what I thought of ‘Where the Crowdads Sing’. I’m halfway through reading it and all I can say is bring it up on your Kindle and dive in – it’s excellent!

  31. Hooray, finished a crossword, first for a few days. Didn’t find it altogether straightforward and like many, not convinced that 14a is very good although the answer is obvious.
    Ah yes, the brilliant Jess Gillam…she definitely should have won young musician of the year! But she’s making a name for herself…oh to be that talented!
    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter for all the clues apart from 14a!

  32. Late start on this one for me as the rain stopped today and the leaves in the garden were calling me to clear them up for compost bin.
    Not a bad puzzle at all though for the early afternoon solve. **/**** and lots of great clues … too many to list.
    Among my favourites were 8a, 10a, 13a, 2d, 5d & 27d. Really hard pressed to come up with winner so I declare a tie with 13a & 2d.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  33. 3*/3*…..
    liked 1D “ultimately malicious sorceress making light flicker? (6)”…..
    I think the “?” may be relevant in 14A..perhaps the full review can show some light… Gazza’s reply in comment 8 may have clarified.

  34. I’m in the” 14a what!” camp this evening and also the “perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t” camp. I think I’ll just leave it there. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  35. Excellent puzzle with lots of clever clues. As ever a few beat me, but resolved with your help. Still don’t fully understand 14a though.

  36. A bit late now but never mind – no time yesterday and I still have the NTSPP to look forward to.
    I started off thinking this was going to be tricky but then changed my mind and then changed it back again.
    My favourite was either 13a or 12d because they both made me laugh.
    I’m still as befuddled by 14a as everyone else is – a bit cross because at one point I thought I’d ‘sussed’ it and now can’t quite remember how it worked – rats! Never mind.
    Thanks to whoever set it and to Tilsit for the hints.

  37. Even later than Kath…! Busy on other commitments.
    I didn’t find it easy eg 14a, and needed the hints to finish and with outside help too. The wave length eg 10a came late, but very clever. The anagrams eg 30a and 2d were entertaining, and Tilsit was a great help too.

  38. Usually last in! Reasonably straightforward for a change. Made a mistake on 8a which slowed things up but all looks good now. 14a last in. Off to Lake District for a few days to clear cobwebs and get away from Covid in hospital!

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