DT 29492 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29492

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29492

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** / ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where today is the Canadian Thanksgiving Day holiday. We 9a (from the Quickie) our neighbours to the south and celebrate a month and a half before they do. The autumn leaves are especially brilliant this year and, for the most part, we have been having brisk and sunny autumn days although it was abnormally warm on Saturday with temperatures in the mid 20s (°C). No doubt the storms in the southern US are pushing tropical air north. While we are pleased to have the warm weather, we are saddened to see the devastation being suffered there.

I would say that today’s puzzle is a pretty typical Campbell offering. I expect the difficulty level is a notch higher for those of us outside the UK as I encountered several British expressions with which I was unfamiliar. Fortunately, I was able to decipher them and then verify them in dictionary.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   The old man, among others, gets a meal (6)
REPAST — another informal term for one’s father in the midst of others or remainder

4a   Reconnaissance vehicle in search involving wild cat (5,3)
SCOUT CAR — to search thoroughly round an anagram (wild) of CAT

10a   Famous person, judge, to paint the town red (9)
CELEBRATE — a shortened term for a famous person followed by a verb meaning to judge or assess

11a   Warm when feeding little one (5)
TOAST — a short conjunction meaning when, while or during taken in by a small child

12a   Capsized sailor, caught in school, improvised (7)
SCRATCH — a reversal (capsized) of one of our usual sailors and the cricket abbreviation for caught, both placed inside the abbreviation for school

13a   Tree  maintenance check (7)
SERVICE — double definition, both nouns

14a   Type of spice and some capsicum inside (5)
CUMIN — hidden (some) in the final two words of the clue

15a   A violent storm on the way? (4,4)
ROAD RAGE — an all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition of a nasty episode behind the wheel; the entire clue is also wordplay in which stormy or furious activity follows a way where vehicles travel

18a   Jack embraces French writer and composer (8)
TAVERNER — the same usual sailor that we encountered in 12a embraces a late 19th century French sci-fi novelist who wrote a story about underwater exploration

20a   Young dog accompanying the Italian student (5)
PUPIL — a straight forward charade of a young dog and an Italian definite article

23a   Queue behind small child where vagrants congregate? (4,3)
SKID ROW — another word for queue follows the clothing symbol for small and an informal term for a child

25a   Merciful, the French guys in court (7)
CLEMENT — a French definite article and a synonym for guys or chaps in the street sign abbreviation for court

26a   Show Greek character carrying six (5)
EVITA — the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet encompasses the sixth integer in the Roman numbering system

27a   Single rodent seen in river that’s clear (9)
EXONERATE — a synonym for single and a reputedly dirty rodent find themselves in a river in Devonshire

28a   Page about leisurely walk in introduction (8)
PREAMBLE — string together the abbreviation for page, a preposition denoting about or in the matter of and a leisurely walk

29a   Determined, crafty little supporter within (6)
STEELY — a word meaning crafty or cunning has a golfer’s supporter inside


1d   Question scoundrel raised about kilo in bag (8)
RUCKSACK — start by joining a word meaning question or inquire and a doggish scoundrel; then reverse the result (raised in a down clue); finally, append the single-letter Latin abbreviation denoting about or approximately and the symbol for kilo

2d   One in centre of Naples, sullen traveller (7)
PILGRIM — place a Roman one between the two central letters of Naples and add a word meaning sullen or gloomy

3d   Reserve position in matter (9)
SUBSTANCE — an informal term for a reserve player (who, in North America, might be called a benchwarmer) and a position or standpoint on an issue

5d   Dodgy character stole a 4×4? (7,7)
CHELSEA TRACTOR — an anagram (dodgy) of the second and third words in the clue produces a derisive term for an off-road vehicle that doesn’t go off-road; thank you to Richard for bringing to my attention that I had neglected to describe the wordplay (despite having pointed out in the epilogue that this clue is an anagram)

6d   Prize,  say (5)
UTTER — double definition, an adjective and a verb

7d   Constant irrational desire (7)
CRAVING — a mathematical symbol for a constant precedes talking wildly as if mad or delirious

8d   Somewhat in clover at hers (6)
RATHER — hidden (in) in the final three words of the clue

9d   Lie when teacher unexpectedly discovers firework (9-5)
CATHERINE WHEEL — an anagram (unexpectedly) of the first three words of the clue

16d   Mean about gift (9)
REPRESENT — the preposition from 28a makes another appearance followed by a gift

17d   Praise young children drinking something hot and milky (8)
FLATTERY — young children or young fish who have ingested a drink served by a barista

19d   Stupid, like number tackling current (7)
ASININE — the conjunction from 11a returns, this time meaning like or in the same way that; it combines with the largest single-digit number to grab hold of the physics symbol for electric current

21d   Quietly tell church dignitary (7)
PRELATE — link together the abbreviated music direction for quietly and a verb meaning to tell or narrate (a story, anecdote, etc)

22d   Silly lapse catching English out (6)
ASLEEP — an anagram (silly) of LAPSE enveloping E(nglish)

24d   Existing head of monarchy’s royal domain (5)
REALM — not fake or fictional followed by the initial letter of Monarchy

I enjoyed the long anagrams at 5d and 9d as well as the containment style clue at 17d all of which I thought exhibited exceptionally smooth surface readings. However, I do have a thing for cryptic definitions and so will go with 15a as my personal favourite.


Quickie Pun (Bottom Row): CHILLY + SOURCE = CHILLI SAUCE

96 comments on “DT 29492

  1. My top three this morning are exactly the same as our blogger’s selection. This was a real pleasure to solve, not difficult but enormous fun, a light delight as RD might call it.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  2. A very gentle start to the week, completed in ** time. I didn’t know the tree at 13a, but apart from that is all went smoothly.

    COTD has to be the Quickie pun.

    Mant thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  3. A straightforward solve today with no hold ups, I liked quite a few clues but my favourite has to be 23a with 17d and 2d on the podium. I thought 5d and 9d anagrams were excellent also.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  4. Light and good fun, a very good Monday puzzle. Had the grid filled in no time but had to think about the parsing of 5d and 12a.
    I particularly liked 28a (lovely word)&10a, plus 2&17d amongst quite a few others.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the top notch entertainment
    Ps For music lovers check out 9d by Crowded House…beautiful song

  5. As I was doing the puzzle, I fully expected to see this, especially as Falcon is from her part of the world.

      1. I saw the comedian Peter Kay in 1997 claiming the lyrics to this are actually “Can’t stand gravy” — and I haven’t been able to hear anything else since.

          1. Yeah, same act — but a decade and a half earlier, in the Leeds Poly students’ union, compèring and filling in the gaps between the bands. Given he was just some comedian from Bolton none of us had heard of, working with an audience who’d just had to endure a fairly lousy Spice Girls tribute act, his command of the audience was particularly impressive.

  6. Enjoyed this start to the week, especially 5d – neat.
    Lots of musical interludes if you’re that way inclined….10a could have been Madonna, leaving 26 to the superior version. 15a -Cerys Matthews, 23a is a band, 18a-sublime, 29a speaks for itself…….

    Thanks a lot to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. 11a, the eighties pop song by the
      Q-Tips, surely worth a mention !! (He says tongue firmly in cheek)

      1. Well you do surprise me Terence. Fortunate to see them live a couple of times though if I’m honest Fagen’s voice was past his best. I think my Dan playlist is probably right up there with Van as my most played. Royal Scam is my favourite album & love Fagen’s The Nightfly.

          1. Well you’ve got me a pondering now MP. Would I punt my last buck on Dylan (Seger possible, doubt Marley) Young (could be a Diamond geezer) Cohen (can’t think of any others) & Petty (doubt Jones or Waits). Probably……

            1. Dylan, Morrison, Young, Cohen and Waits. Partial to Ronnie Lane. Enjoy Led Zeppelin. Watch a lot of live jazz but never listen to it other than live gigs. Steely Dan a bit. Bowie. Nick Cave. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones of course. Not forgetting The Who. Sinead O Connor. Whatever is on Radio three. Dylan and Waits are my favourites especially the live stuff.

  7. 1.5*/4*. Yes, YS, this was indeed a light delight!

    I don’t often select an anagram as my favourite but 5d is an absolute gem.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  8. A pretty straightforward and enjoyable puzzle (*/***), which was just right for a Monday. I liked the anagram at 5d, the old chestnut at 13a and the composer at 18a, whose work I enjoy. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell for another entertaining puzzle.

  9. A very enjoyable start to the week. Slow start but then gained pace. I hadn’t heard of the tree in 13a so something learned. 5d was my favourite. Thanks to Falcon and today’s setter.

  10. I found this a little more difficult to decipher than the usual Monday fare. ***/*** It took me a while to figure out the type of tractor in question in 5d even though the answer was staring me in the face. I like 23a and 9d but top marks to 17d. I can’t find a tree in 13a. What is it, please? Thanks to all.

    1. The whole answer is the tree in question, Greta, maybe it’s just one that you’re not familiar with – that nice Mr Google can tell you all about it!

    2. The Serice Tree is a Sorbus with both a wild and domesticated variety. The fruit, called chequers, can be distilled and it often grew round pubs. Hence the common pub name, The Chequers.

    3. There is one in Ambridge. Linda Snell discovered it and got a tree preservation order placed on it.

      1. The best thing about this virus is that I haven’t listened to The Archers since March having listened for 50 plus years, even when living in S Africa. It got sillier and sillier and now I’m FREE of it!

        1. I think I may have said this before but I gave up on The Archers when Nigel Pargeter was killed off.

          1. Our reading group start the afternoon with all our ailments, the news of our families, The Archers – then the book followed by cake and discussions on other books. I had to bone up on the Archers every month as it isn’t one of my ‘things’, I think I stopped when Grace died. In lockdown it was impossible to follow.

      2. I have many of these trees in the olive groves. Here they are called Sorbola (but I think that’s the dialect and not Italian). The wood is extremely dense and heavy – used here to make statues of the Saints. One tip, if you have one don’t cut it down as the roots will sprout suckers for years!

        Pleasant start to the week but NW held me up for a while. Can’t see why!

        Thanks setter and Falcon.

  11. As straightforward and enjoyable as ever for a Campbell on Monday, I wish I could say the same about today’s Quick, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 27a, and 1d – and the winner is 27a.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  12. Another very enjoyable Monday puzzle with plenty of clues worthy of mention.
    Podium places here finally went to 15,23&28a plus 5d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review – enjoy your glorious autumn colours, they enchanted me when I visited some years ago.

  13. Lovely for a Monday with everything falling into place in ** time with **** fun.
    Motoring – related 15a (a chestnut?) & 5d take joint honours for COTD.
    Not heard of tree in 13a I suspect in common with a few others.
    As always thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  14. I found this harder than some Toughies I have solved and the Quickie even more so! I take issue with oracles being infallible – they weren’t and I’m still struggling with 9a. Expressions in crosswords aren’t the easiest to clove.
    COTD in the cryptic? 18a, a composer I have heard of! It could have been a cricketing Lord.
    P.s.My word search has just coughed up 9a. Not impressed.

  15. I found this somewhat less than straightforward probably because I had other things on my mind. Still, it was an enjoyable solve although I, to, have not heard of the tree. My COTD is 18a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  16. I read a book about tree identification earlier this year so luckily, 13a came swiftly to mind. The trouble is I shall have to keep re-reading the book as a month after learning many of the varieties of tree in the UK, I forget 90% of them. This is one of the reasons that undertaking the Telegraph cryptic most days is so important to me – to keep my brain on its toes (does a brain have toes?).

    Great crossword to start the week – thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  17. Shane Watson’s column in the features section reckons us youngsters Have ‘No clue as to the names of plants or trees or birds and can’t tell an oak leaf from an elm or a sparrow from an osprey’ I wonder how she gets on with cryptic crossword puzzles. An excellent start to the puzzling week in both the double punned quickie and the solver friendly cryptic. I do like the service tree comments from the newbies and the forgetful.

    1. Solving over 50 years so hardly a newbie but have had fallow periods. No doubt someone can tell us when said tree last appeared on the backpager but I genuinely cannot recall it MP.

      1. The most recent appearance that I found was DT 28983 (February 25, 2019) in a puzzle reviewed by Miffypops — which may explain his detailed knowledge of the tree as he also mentions the connection to The Archers in that review.

  18. A most enjoyable Monday offering. I didn’t know 5d but the anagram rather worked itself out; I did, however, remember the tree from an earlier puzzle, as well as the firework. Great surfaces. Delightful quickie too. Podium winners: 5d, 27a, 17d. Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell. 2* / 4*

    Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends; it’s Columbus Day down here.

    1. Burnham Market is known as Chelsea onSea because of all the second homes and their 5ds. The shops rival Knightsbridge!

      1. I once nipped into a fishmonger there on a Saturday morning, on the way back from a short holiday. It was full of men, in late middle age, wearing red and yellow corduroys…..I’d be surprised if anyone lacking a title (apart from me) dared to venture in.

        It reminded me a bit of a sandwich shop I used to frequent by Birmingham Crown Court that made everything to order as you stood in line. Wall to wall (literally) with barristers. The Rumpole days of steak and kidney pie and red wine pub lunches were long gone by then.

        1. Can I just say, 8 of us had lunch and The Hoste in Burnham Market a couple of years ago. Fortunately the person who took the bill noticed 2, yes 2 other tables were added to our bill and removed. She paid the bill anf took it home to sort it out and found another 6 drinks, not ours added to our bill. I slightly knew their PR person and emailed them forwarded on to the manager. No apology, just told we would gave a glass of Prosecco on the house nexy time. Needless to say none of us ever went back. Perfectly ghastly little village and not in the spirit of North Norfolk!

      2. I confess I own a 4×4, but I pay heavily for my folly by paying a fortune in petrol costs and car tax.

        1. So do I but I definitely do not wear red or yellow corduroys! Wellington boots, moleskin trousers, tattersall shirts and whatever outer clothing that suits the weather. My 4×4 is covered in mud – it would not be welcome in Chelsea!

          1. We don’t have a 4×4. We do wear the wellies/mole skins/tattersall shirts. The red or yellow corduroys are a non-starter. I’m full of admiration for whoever has the courage to wear such items of clothing.

            1. I’m not. What self respecting guy would even contemplate red or yellow trousers? Mind you, they think differently in Mayfair and Chelsea.

            2. It seems to me red and yellow “cords” are de rigueur nationwide amongst the golfing community! ⛳️

  19. Pleasant start to the week, notning ro frighten us. By my standards there will be at least one stinker later, for me anyway.
    Looks like more restictions on the way, stocking up freezer and dog food. Hope all are keeping safe in these trying times.
    Thanks to Falcon and setter

  20. Found this quite tricky not helped by never having heard of either the tree or the obscure composer.
    Too many stretched synonyms for my liking as in 6d and 15a. Didn’t particularly enjoy this puzzle.
    Thx for the much needed hints

    1. Brian
      If we are to criticise 15a as “stretched” it seems to me there would be little scope for setters to give us clues that make us think. I thought it worthy of COTD!
      Shows what an eclectic lot we are.

    2. Brian, it’s interesting that I had a similar initial reaction to 6d and 15a. However, a little research changed my mind.

      Lexico (Oxford Dictionaries Online) defines Prize as an adjective meaning complete or utter “you must think I’m a prize idiot”.

      The BRB defines rage as violence, stormy or furious activity. The definition in Chambers 21st Century Dictionary is even a bit closer to the wording of the clue, with rage defined as (said of the wind, the sea, a battle, etc) violent, stormy action.

      1. Rage against the dying of the night – or Rage against the Machine if you want another musical act

      2. Absolutely right Falcon. If in doubt always check these things . Firstly, we then learn something new. Secondly, we do not look silly in front of others already in the know.

      3. I was completely befuddled by 6d until I read your comment Falcon, so I am definitely a prize idiot 😆

    3. In Brian’s defense, I had exactly the same problems, didn’t know the tree or the composer, and I don’t feel at all silly saying so. I solved 6d right away, but couldn’t make it fit the clue. Didn’t care for 15a. Plus I don’t think 5d was part of the vernacular when we set sail across the pond in 1982. Hey ho. Did find this much tougher than yesterday’s Dada. Clearly I am not on Campbell’s wavelength. But thanks to him for the challenge and two new words hopefully tucked into my grey matter, and to Falcon.

  21. Thanks to Falcon and the setter. We did a magical tour from Ottawa down into New England during what the locals called one of the best years for colours – spectacular and never forgotten. 6d and 11a were my sticking points but it is always good when the first half a dozen answers just go straight in. Thanks for the link to Peter Kay, it is so spot on. I very frequently get the wrong words into my head then it is hard to dislodge them.

  22. All was going swimmingly well until I got to 18a, and the “French writer”. I am so used ( in crosswordland) to needing “pen” for writer, that I instantly thought I needed the French for “pen”. I tried to wrap all sorts of sailor around a “ stylo.” I do like to make things
    difficult for myself. The answer was much simpler than that. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon. 5d and 23a were joint favourites. I have spent the last few days walking in and around Wendover Woods, before the weather really changes and stops us from enjoying our walks. Either the weather, or the possibility of another lockdown (lockup).

  23. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much. Was bogged down at the top half, so completed the lower, then managed to finish. Had a guess at 6d, still didn’t know prize=say. Double definitions are my bête noire. 13a was OK by me, must’ve got it because I’m having the car serviced on Wednesday 😁. Last in was 19d. Favourite was 11a. Was 2*/3* for me.

    1. As Falcon says 6d is a double definition. Prize (as an adjective) means utter as in “My neighbour is a prize/utter buffoon”.

  24. I am in line with the majority. Most enjoyable. Thanks Campbell and Falcon. Hints not needed save for the fact I had not fully parsed 1d as the answer was obvious. I could not give you a list of the works of 18a but I had certainly heard of him as clearly had many of our number. I always find it helpful to Google any word or person I have not heard of before labelling them as “obscure”. Favourites 10, 23, 26, 27, and 28a and 2d. I can see that 10a is controversial but is a word in common usage. Did the solvers of my childhood object to the use of fridge, phone, and bus I wonder? For no particular reason I can see I had the right hand side in before the left. I had heard of the tree but it is difficult to think of another 7 letter word that would fit the bill. Good to have such fun in what is otherwise a gloomy day.

  25. Oh rats! I started reading this but it didn’t sound like my puzzle, only to discover I’ve solved the bonus puzzle 625 by mistake. If anyone’s interested, I loved it. Someone should lock me up before I make any more mistakes!

    1. That’s not a mistake! That’s lateral thinking!

  26. Solved early this morning. Found the west easier than the east largely because I took a while to twig the blindingly obvious anagram indicator at 5d due to the smooth surface of the clue. Even then pen & paper were required (sorry MP). Like others the tree was new to me & required Mr G’s ok & can’t say that I thinking of prize as an adjective (nice example Gazza). No other difficulty really once 5d went in & it’s COTD for me.
    Thanks to both Campbell & to Falcon (beautiful caption)

  27. Nice start to the week 😃 **/*** Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell 🤗 Favourites 11a & 26a

  28. A little more difficult today for a Monday puzzle I thought. 2.5*/****.
    Some nice clues though that caught my attention. These include 18a, 25a, 27a, 5d, 9d & 17d with winner 5d with a close second for 9d.
    Remember 9d from years gone by as a child in the UK, when they were legal to have and display at a certain November event held at the Lowestoft rugby grounds. Very much clamped down on these days in the Greater Vancouver area unless controlled by permit or at community sanctioned event.
    How times change … and not necessarily for the best.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon

    1. When I was a child, we would have “sparklers” indoors before going out to see my dad light the fireworks in the garden. His 9d always flew off the flagpole in mid spin! After, I had to go to bed but my dad would poke his head round my bedroom door and say, “Only seven weeks to Christmas now!”

      I would fall asleep dreaming of the magic to come.

      The next morning, I realised seven weeks was a long time!

  29. **/****. Slow start but a fast finish. Took a little while to get on the right wavelength but the clueing was very fair. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  30. Happy Thanksgiving! This time last year we had all three sons home. What a difference a year makes.

    I am finding today’s puzzle quite difficult but still enjoyable. I won’t check the extra hints just yet but I am pretty sure I will need help with a few. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  31. Bottom half went in with little bother but had to think about the top half a bit more. 1d was a puzzler – I had a raised scoundrel and a bag and a Kilo but didn’t see the question or the about until Falcon pointed it out. 12a was a new synonym to me but this Prize idiot did know the tree and uttered a Doh when I saw the French writer.
    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell

  32. I agree with CS and Manders @ 18 and 19 and too knackered/busy at the moment to add anything else – need wine and supper – don’t really care which order they come in as long as both are pretty soon!
    Might pop back in later if the mood improves which it probably will with aforementioned sustenance!
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  33. All straightforward apart from never having heard of the composer but just about right for a Monday. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go with 5d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  34. This was */**** until 18a. Two cultural references within the same clue…

    The composer was one i have never heard of and I somehow never twigged the writer was French. I doubt the composer will ever cross my path again.

    *****/*** for me in the end. Thanks to all.

    1. I am surprised at the number of folk who have not heard of the composer. He wrote some wonderful choral music.

      I have loads of flies buzzing around. Don’t they know it’s October and they should be dead?

      1. Writing wonderful choral music does not necessarily mean becoming well known. I enjoyed the link supplied, but am not a regular patron of classical music. A favourite album of mine is The Planets by Holst. However, I listen to Radio 1 on a daily basis as that is what I enjoy.

  35. Nice way to unwind after endless washing-up from a small (less than 6 people Boris!) lunch party. Trio of Favs viz 27a, 5d and 17d and one “unfav” being the 10a abbreviation. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      There is a tree called the service tree which appears quite often in crosswords so is well worth remembering for the future

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