DT 29497 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29497 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29497 (Hints)

 The Crossword Club

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Tilsit is at work today, so I am back in my old slot!

Slightly trickier than the usual Saturday Prize Puzzle, but very enjoyable.

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.


1a Online writer — second-class feller (7)
The letter that represents second-class is followed by a (tree) feller

5a An outside line to ring? (7)
A cryptic definition of a geometric line

11a Deep breath? (3,6)
A light wind over “the deep”

15a State capital has no love for religious ritual (9)
The capital of a US state without (has no) its final O (love)

19a Odds in rugby tournament slashed at the outset (5)
“Odds” is a strange word for this betting term – drop (slashed) the initial letter (at the outset) from a type of rugby tournament

23a Fat soldier catching fish (9)
A six-letter soldier around (catching) a fish

26a Ne plus ultra strangely unremarkable (7)
An anagram (strangely) of NE with (plus) ULTRA

28a Gem dealer nuts to accept million (7)
An anagram (nuts) of DEALER around (to accept) M(illion)


1d Cooked bass initially weighed (7)
The initial letter of B[ass] followed by a verb meaning weighed (an anchor)

2d All family members at home in Scots island? (7)
Split as (1,3,3), if true, could mean all the family members are at home to a Scot

4d Bean soup — nothing less for seconds? (7-2)
a type of bean followed by S[O]UP without (less) O (nothing)

6d Mounted champion decapitated? It’s terrifying! (9)
Put a champion on a (female) horse (mounted) and drop the initial letter (decapitated) – I had thought that the term “decapitated” was not allowed in Telegraph crosswords in case a news item rendered it insensitive!

7d Controversial European driver (7)
E(uropean) followed by a driver or purpose

16d Green light in spare room (9)
Two definitions – spare room being an amount of play between parts of a machine

20d A royal flag from the South African nation (7)
The A from the clue followed by our Queen’s regnal cipher (royal) and a verb meaning to flag, all reversed (from the South in a down clue)

21d Dropped bombs without casing (7)
Two definitions

24d British in Australia finally denounce exploitation (5)
B(ritish) inside AUS(tralia) followed by the final letter of [denounce]E

Another of my favourite tracks today, this one is by Dave Edmunds:

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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!

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The Quick Crossword pun: claw+row+fill=chlorophyll

76 comments on “DT 29497 (Hints)

  1. 3*/3.5*. This proved to be an interesting mixture of trivially easy clues, some real head scratchers, and everything in between, but I did enjoy it.

    2d took me quite a while to parse and I wasn’t too keen on 22a. The very ingenious 26a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD.

  2. This was an intriguing crossword, with consistently good cluing, particularly in clues using double meanings and charades. I really enjoyed it (2.5*/5*). I liked 1a, which made me laugh, 16d and 21d, which made me think and 20d, a well disguised clue of a type, which I always enjoy. There were, however, too many good clues to mention them all. Thanks to BD for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. Loads to like today, but on the tricky side. NE held me up a bit. Had the wrong penultimate letter for 20d despite having been there which meant I couldn’t parse it. Checked the spelling and corrected but could’nt find the flag for ages! Thanks to all. Big Dave’s comment for 6d sadly rather true today. Stay safe everyone, 2 good friends in neighbouring village have tested positive but have very minor symptoms thanks goodness. Caught from a couple from London who stayed with them. Still haven’ had anyone in our home.

  4. Talk about after the Lord Mayors show! This was tough in parts but very clever. Needed the excellent hints to complete this one.
    Tricky but enjoyable.
    Best clue for me was 2d, a real head scratcher for our non-UK (or even Scots) solvers.
    Thx to all

  5. The NE pushed me into **** time in this tricky and, for me, quite tough Saturday puzzle. I finally twigged that 5d had to be one of those all-in-one clues that often drive me demented, but according to my ‘grader’ (100% for the puzzle), my plunk-in is correct. But some really great clues throughout: 5a, my LOI, is also my COTD and gets the gold; 6d the silver; 2 & 20d tie for the bronze. Thanks to Big Dave for the hints and to today’s cannily wily setter. 4* / 4* [a first pair of 4s for me, I think]

    I mailed my ballot for POTUS et al yesterday. I dare say no more.

  6. I agree with RD about the mixture and 2d in particular.
    A couple of my spelling Bête Noire’ held me up a bit too (15a 23a) and 26a COTD here too.
    Thanks to BD and setter
    An annoying crease in the paper version and my poor spelling have made my paper an illegible mess

  7. I thought this was fairly straightforward. **/*** some very good clues with double definitions. 16d favourite. Thanks to all.

  8. I really enjoyed that challenge with the West falling to first. Lots of Fav candidates including 10a, 11a and 16d. A bit dubious re 7d driver and agree with RD re 22a. Wonder if everyone will be aware of the 19a rugby tournament. Stupidly misread the plus in 26a so made life difficult for myself and lazily bunged in 20d without parsing. Thank you Mysteron and BD.

  9. I agree that this was a little tougher than normal, taking me a full **** time. I certainly couldn’t have parsed 2d without the hints, and 6d was my last in, I felt it was somewhat clumsy, but I suppose the question mark allows that.

    Regarding the ‘decapitated’, there is a report on the front page . . . .

    Many thanks to the setter and BD.

  10. I agree this was a mixture of tough and easy. I have answers for the tough ones but I cannot parse them. However, the checkers would allow no other word for each one so I will need to await the review. One of these was 7d, which has me completely baffled. Some great clues such as 10a, 11a and 8d but no real COTD for me although 16d is a contender.

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the hints.

      1. I don’t think you are breaking the rules, Toni because you have given no information. I’ve sorted it out now. I put the wrong answer in one of the across clues and that threw me.

  11. Agree this was a good deal more demanding than recent prize puzzles. The NE was the most troublesome for me because I had the incorrect last letter to 10a which made 8d somewhat tricky. By the time I’d figured that out completion was well into **** time. Nowhere near parsing 2d & another vote for 26a as COTD. Nicely clued & very enjoyable.
    Thanks to the setter & BD for explaining 2d

  12. Thought there were a few rather stretched synonyms in this one but also some clever touches.
    1a raised a smile and my top two were 17a & 21d.

    Thanks to our setter and to BD for the club – nice to see you back in the chair again.

  13. Well, I am going to buck the trend on this one as I found it reasonably straightforward with only minor use of the white space on my sheet of paper for completion at a gallop. Just about right for a SPP – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 4d, and 8d – and the winner is 4d.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  14. There was nothing too taxing about this one, although I had a couple of bung-ins and work them out later. 1a was my favourite. Thank you setter and BD. The quick pun didn’t quite work for me. I think it depends on which part of the country you are from.

  15. Cracking Saturday puzzle for me. Some straightforward clues to get everyone in then some good headscratchers to solve & get prize qualification.
    5a, 26a & 8d on podium with 8d my COTD.
    Thanks to Mysteron for 1st rate puzzle & BD for the hints

  16. Some clever clues for sure, but some stretched too far. Parsing 2d was next to impossible, I’m not a fan of 9a and thought that both 5d and 12a were weak. Also (and nitpicking here) I don’t think 21a applies to bombs exactly. On the other hand, 5a was fiendishly clever and 8d not too far behind. Fave clue? 23a made me laugh out loud.

    Finally, I’ve got 20d but have no idea why?

          1. T
            Sorry I was just being flippant, trying to say that contributors often seem to post before apparently reading the hints, even when it is BD.
            I have always gone through the review / hints before posting, taking them as the main reason for the site.
            I was struggling to parse 20d until I read the hint which explained all!
            I am sorry if you have “emigrated” because of comments like mine.

            1. Not at all… no apol needed. I was trying to infer that people were living abroad since BD (our prophet) looks better from afar. But thought it may result in some red pen (coupled with the wife’s Glaswegian accent) so abandoned the thought, wisely me thinks.

              The banter is always great to read, makes us remember we are British at heart (if not on paper).

              Mr T

              1. I’m only Brit because my parents were Brits, and they were Brits, capped, underlined, italics and bold. I still feel a Brit first!

  17. Hard to see past 26a for my COTD although there were several worthy contenders, such as 8d. The NE corner took as long as the rest of the puzzle, but it all came together nicely at completion. Not sure that 2d works but it is what it is.

    Many thanks setter and BD.

  18. I agree with so much of what has gone before – some really brilliant clues, 1a and 26a spring to mind, deliciously convoluted yet simple when you know how. Many thanks to the setter (quite often the Saturday puzzle seems to be the easiest if the week) for getting my brain cells working and to BD for reassuring me on one or two. Enjoy the weekend!

  19. A couple of corners pushed me over time, the grid was filling nicely other than that.
    A challenging interesting & testing Saturday prize puzzle,,, really enjoyable!
    Many thanks to setter & BD for direction

  20. Needed the hints for 2d as I didn’t know what to look for. Good laugh once explained.
    The rest fell in quite smoothly.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the help.
    Congratulations to BD’s university town, if I remember well, for winning the H cup.

        1. Exactly, but we still can not figure out the words in 2D… (aside from the middle word). Rhubarb scones in the naughty corner if anyone is daring and peckish.

          Mr & Mrs T

          1. If all family members are at home how many are ..not
            The more I read it the more I like this clue
            I’ll pass on the Rhubarb Scones they sound a bit like Air Biscuits 💩

            1. Ahhhhhh ! Thanks John

              The wife has now moved south to her dreadful Newcastle accent. I think it is going to be the theme of the weekend.

              “No dear, your boat is not arriving today!”

            2. Thank you for putting me out of my misery with this clue.

              I find 8d completely unamusing and possibly a bit irritating. Maybe after another glass (or two…) of grape juice, I may change my mind.

  21. 20 minutes of practicing our Scortish and we are still no nearer to understanding 2D. However, we have managed to solve some of our marital issues since we now accept that both of us are just talking nonsense.

    Mrs T said “Wiw ya mek tha tay n be neep aboot it!”. I replied “Aim fra done firm Lynn”.

    The key to a happy marriage !

    Mr T

    1. The Clan Bee have been moving south for several generations – Starting on The Isle of Mull via Glasgow, Newcastle and now Yorkshire but that was a bit of a stretch. Tantalus’s comment reminded my of the “well known” Newcastle firm of solicitors;
      Haddaway and Shi*e.

      1. You just had to mention Yorkshire. Now she’s saying “Wensleeeeedale” and “cracking toast Gromit”…

        1. I will have a bit of Green Tomato Chutney to go with that Wensleeeedale soon. I think we have got the last toms to ripen and all that remain will be chutnified with some of the crabapples from Askham Bog

  22. Good puzzle. Started off fairly easy on the left but got progressively slower SE then NE. Got there in the end. Favorite 2d.

  23. It always helps to read the clues carefully. By not following this key rule of crossword solving two clues took me well over the time I should have taken. 9a my favourite today with 11a in the frame too. Despite 26a receiving honourable mentions above I always feel such clues are a cop out for the setter.

    Thanks to the setter for an otherwise enjoyable solve and to Big Dave for his analysis.

  24. I started off gangbusters and the west sorted in no time, then I sweated bullets in the east. Eventually the NE went in, but I conceded and looked at the hints for the SE.
    Fave was 2d, I thought that was guffaw worthy. I also liked 15a, tricky that.
    Thanks to our setter for the fun and to BD for his hints allowing me t fill in the blank spaces.

  25. I enjoyed that – got very stuck for a while but took grandson to the playground, came back, they all left and then I finished it off very quickly.
    2d had to be what it was but even having looked at it all ends up and inside out I had no idea why – thanks, BD.
    Lots of good clues including 1, 17 and 26a and 2d (now that I understand it), and 6d.
    Thanks to the setter and to BD.
    Trying to keep NTSPP up my sleeve for tomorrow but might not be able to. :unsure:

  26. I quite enjoyed this but some answers were trying to be over-clever. Maybe I’m being a tad too critical. Just back from a lovely visit to Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. Beautifully maintained gardens and some excellent trees. And nice coffee cake. Thank you to the Setter and for the review.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed one of our two local NT properties (the other is Wimpole, of course) You should visit Anglesey in February
      when the snowdrops are out – spectacular!

  27. Definitely a harder offering than recent past Saturday puzzles, but other than a little grey matter use and accompanying head scratching, a nice puzzle for an overcast day. **/**** my rating for today.
    Clues that I liked include 9a, 11a, 23a, 6d, 8d & 21d with winner 21d, (also last in), with 8d close second.

    Thanks to setter and BD

    1. Welcome to the blog Justin

      The solution to today’s puzzle will be here next Friday, so why worry about what the Telegraph does or does not do?

      1. It’s just easier via The Telegraph and I can see what I didn’t get right (as if that ever happens 😜).

      2. And thank you for the welcome.

        In fact, I have been lurking for several years – when I first started cryptics I used to come on to work out you’d parsed the solution. It really helped me, so, I salute you!

  28. All this talk of snowdrops is making me very homesick… I filled in the south and most of the north, but then ground to a halt. 1a was my first one in, and that always spells trouble for me, for some strange reason. I had no trouble with 2d, once I gave up trying to make it be a Scottish island, oops. Same problem with 15a, didn’t read the clue properly, and was looking for a state, rather than a state capital. Double oops. Thanks to setter and Big Dave.

    1. Forgot to say that I finally solved 9a, and so annoyed with myself as we were there last July, with all the lavender in full bloom.

  29. Am I the only actual Scot here ?
    I understand BD’s parsing but it bears no relation to how I would ever say what is intended.

    I had to look at the hints to finish, so quite tricky for me.

    Thanks to Big Dave and to the (clearly not Scottish) setter.

    1. Amen… we are ten hours into our Scottish brogue and 2d still doesn’t make complete sense to us. We think we understand the phonemes for the last two words ( 3, 3 )… but the first word (1) is completely dafty… haver… glaikit ! (words sourced from the Cunninghams in Girvan).

      The wife has thankfully progressed south to her native Rhodesian accent.

  30. 3*/4*….
    liked 6D “mounted champion decapitated? It’s terrifying! (9)”
    also, from the quickie, “gave beer (anag.) (8)”

  31. Thanks to the setter and to Big Dave for the hints. A very good puzzle, a bit on the tricky side. Managed to get through without the hints. Was held up for a while in NE corner. Last in was 5a, which was also my favourite. Was 3* /4* for me. Luckily I just seemed to twig 2d straight away, that was my second favourite.

  32. I’m afraid I’m going to have to be the dissenting voice as I found this obscure and overly difficult in parts. 2d what! But hey ho! I got the in the end. No particular favourite. Thanks to the setter and Big Dave.

  33. I’m with you TG. Not much pleasure in this one for me. 2d beyond any sort of sense. Sadly no feeling of achievement when I finished. Some problems were of my own making eg putting in the wrong last letter for 10a despite the fact that the correct fodder was there. A few favourites 13a for simplicity, 15a to which Brian takes no objection surprisingly, and 6d. It is not the setter’s fault that this coincided with terrible news from France. I will grudgingly add 8d to my short list of likes which was my last one in. Thanks setter and BD

  34. I did put A blog on yesterday, but it obviously did not register. Some great clues and some dodgy ones, eg 2d!
    However I did enjoy it. It was very much a right hand hard left hand easier, to me. I particularly liked th ‘hidden’ anagrams, eg 18d.
    I hope this one gets through, and give my thanks to BD and to setter!

  35. This was a pig!! Bottom half was ok but NE corner took me a week. Finally got there with help of an anagram solver which I use as last resort. Shouldn’t have put in trash as 12a as this really slowed me up. Last Saturdays was fine in comparison 😓

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