DT 29515 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29515 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29515 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from a sunny Warrington. Now locked down again, it all feels a bit gloomy though I am faintly cheered by the news from across the Big Pond. Having been watching CNN for the past few days, I have now learned a few new words and phrases, including Key Race Alert. Don’t think I’ll be using it in conversation soon, though!

I am also cheered to see today’s puzzle is a bit more friendly than the past few weeks, and I suspect it’s either our original Saturday Setter, Cephas, back on duty or our original Mysteron.

Thanks to a correspondent, there’s something amusing in the Letters column of today’s paper. I’m surprised there haven’t been comments about a few other days as well!

Let us know what you think – please remember the site rules and the constraints we have to work to, so we can be allowed to bring you these hints on a Saturday.

And anyway, you’ll be sitting on the naughty step with a crying orange American chap, stroking his toupee. See you next week.

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 Scholar revised a manic idea about carbon (11)
An anagram (revised) of A MANIC IDEA goes round the chemical symbol for Carbon.

9a Trump has vehicle in Indiana abandoned (5)
Inside the first and last letters of Indiana (abandoned, i.e. the contents removed) goes that name of a vehicle to give you a name of His Ex.

10a Boss to lead with three articles (3,6)
A phrase for a boss in business is found by taking to and the chemical symbol for lead, and then adding three indefinite articles.

11a Sage Derby perhaps feeding mother (7)
Inside a name for a mother (or two!) goes what a Derby is to an American.

15a One obsessed in new way renouncing whiskey (4)
Take the word new, add the abbreviation for a way and remove the NATO alphabet letter to which Whiskey refers. Did you know the answer was first used by Dr Seuss as the name of an animal in 1950, with the word getting its first slang outing the following year?

20a Negative piece with slogan Reaganites used? (8)
The name for a particle that’s negative could be a voting slogan that could have been used by Reagan.

21a Trial by TV in the birthplace of science? (4,4)
The word for a trial is followed by the nickname for television is where a scientific experiment often begins.

23a Chap’s name is love (7)
You’re looking for a man’s name, though I have never met anyone with this name. Take IS and a word meaning to love.

25a Racing ace, forced out, not best pleased (9)
The name for a type of motor sport. Take A for ace, add an anagram (forced) of OUT and then a word meaning not pleased.

27a Bloke in forces set landmine off (8,3)
An obscure name for a military male is an anagram of SET LANDMINE


2d Church with old Irish singing group (5)
One of the abbreviations for church, plus the abbreviations for old and Irish.

3d Expert fish worker (3,4)
The name for a flat fish, plus that for a worker gives someone who knows what they are doing.

4d Musician Mike strangely silent around king (8)
The name for a medieval musician is found by taking the NATO letter associated with Mike and adding an anagram of SILENT going round an abbreviation for king.

6d Shot prior to retirement? (8)
A cryptic way of saying your drink (a shot) before bed.

8d Fellowship of real ale fans entertaining a Democrat on lake (11)
Probably a tricky one to work out. Take the name for a group loved by beer fans going around A and add the abbreviation for Democrat plus the name for a Great Lake.

12d Something wicked and frivolous that helps dispel gloom (11)
Here’s a crossword chestnut. Something that has a wick plus a word meaning frivolous.

Have some bonus music….

16d Unusually good ground yields element (4,5)
The name given to a group of elements in the Periodic Table is revealed by finding a word meaning good unusually and an alternative word for ground or soil.

18d Branch in High Street will keep bonnet that’s reduced (8)
Something that means high, as in stinky, and the abbreviation for street with the name for a bonnet or hat inside, minus its last letter.

24d Nobleman almost skinned? (4)
The name for a nobleman is a word meaning almost, minus its first and last letter.

All done? Enjoy it? Let us know.

Thanks to our setter for an enjoyable challenge today that had a few headscratchers in it. I’ll see you next week.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Today’s music is cheering too. When I feel in ned of a pick-me-up, this does the trick. And you have an appearance of Father Christmas off duty and a cummerbund!

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: dare+Reeve+arms=dairy farms

115 comments on “DT 29515 (Hints)

  1. For an SPP, I thought this was on the very gentle side. All over in **/*** time, with just a small problem, I couldn’t quite parse 10a, so thanks for that.

    I felt that 18d was a tad clumsy, but one of my last in, and therefore COTD, was 20a. An art that the folks across the pond seem to have lost.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Tilsit.

    1. Well said Malcom R , but some of us in the colonies are not free radicals and still have our full set of said particles (sic).

      Thanks to Mister Ron and Brian (Tilsit). And yes there are carrot topped muffins in the electrified barbed-wire naughty corner.

      Mr & Mrs Democrat.

      1. You’re alibi warms the cockles of my heart – BD can hardly object to that so I might be around a little longer!

        1. Good job you are not THE Brian, Tilsit, we would be lost for hints – see post 36!

  2. This was pretty straight forward but a few ckues in the SW held me up a bit so its 2.5*/4* for me today. I loved the intricately put together 8d and know MP will like that one too and 12d was delightfully sly. I found 18d impossible to parse, so thanks, Tilsit, for help with that. Thanks also to our compiler for a fenerally user friendly prize puzzle.

  3. This morning my Telegraph (and all the others in the shop) came without the TV Section or the General Knowledge Crossword and Pub Quiz so I bought the Times mainly for the telly guide – but to my surprise I have done the Times crossword – but I am seriously struggling with the Telegraph’s, so I am looking forward to reading these hints

  4. 20a was my clear favourite from this tricky in places but ultimately rewarding puzzle. 25a was my final entry but I should have got it sooner given all the checkers. Overall a bright and cheerful crossword that mirrors the day outside.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit.

  5. This all came together quite nicely today. **/*** I couldn’t work out the why of 18d either so thank you Tilsit for that. I particularly liked 8d and 12d. Favourite is 20a. Thanks to all.

  6. Yesterday I posited that “The only good thing going for it (yesterday’s back pager) is that this week we actually seem to have had the ‘correct’ progression of difficulty as this week has gone on. So, perhaps the SPP tomorrow will be quite ‘friendly.'” Well, today’s SPP was almost friendly so we nearly made it. Completed at a gallop – 2.5*/3*.
    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 15a, and 20a – and the winner is the oldie but goodie 20a!
    However, quite a large Hmm for the Quickie Pun.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  7. I like crosswords that have a range of difficulty within them leaving just two or three clues to force me to keep going to the end. This from that respect is very good, but like Tilsit I’ve never met a 23a and as mentioned above 18d could be cleaner. My final put in was 25a which is at the hard end of hard for me.

  8. Breath of fresh air after last week. As enjoyable as the weather up here. No real problems but some good clues, with 20a and 8d joint COTD for me. Didn’t particularly like 23a but one clue doesn’t spoil anything.
    Thank you Mr Ron and Tilsit for the hints.

  9. Other than 18d & finally 25a this was a reasonably straightforward solve with no parsing problems though I did check 23a with Mr G as not a name I’m familiar with. A coin toss between 8d & 20a for my pick today.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit

  10. Fairly straightforward today, but 17d is a new word to me. That’s fine as a day is only complete when I learn something new.

  11. Unlike Thursday’s crossword (see Letters Column in the Telegraph today), this brought a smile to my face. I did have difficulties with 25a and 18d, but great fun with favourite being 20a. Thanks to both.

    1. My husband and I usually collaborate to do the Saturday General Knowledge Puzzle in the Telegraph. Today’s is a catalogue of the most obscure facts that the compiler could dig up from a Cornish lookout for pilchard shoals to the name for a heraldic field covered in small charges. We have spent an hour or so googling the answers. Someone at the Telegraph is determined that their crossword loving readers won’t get off too lightly!.

  12. Just one hiccup to report – the very unusual chap at 23a. Sparkly bits for me were 3,7&12d.
    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints and video clips. Lovely to see the off duty Father Christmas – I’ve always thought that our own BD was a shoe-in for that role!

    1. I can just hear Santa saying “haven’t you read the guidelines about what you can ask for young lady?”

    2. I’ve only heard the name at 23a in the feminine form, but there is a clothing manufacturing company by the masculine name. I suppose it could be called after it’s founder.

  13. I’m afraid I found this puzzle difficult and sadly not very enjoyable.
    I managed to solve it all except 25a where I had to use the hint.
    At least I didn’t give up as I did on Thursday.

    Thanks to Tilsit and to the setter.

    1. I’m with you on that Ora. Not much fun and a slow grind to get it finished. Takes all sorts!

    2. I agree! ‘Friendly’?? I was stuck on more clues than I like to admit, having completed last Saturday’s without resorting to the hints!

  14. Very friendly Saturday puzzle with 20a a clear winner of the prize for favourite. 8d a very honourable second. Thanks to Tilsit for his blog which sorted out a few parsing queries and to the setter for an enjoyable morning.

  15. I didn’t find this anything like as difficult as the last few Saturdays have been.
    The bottom half was trickier than the top and a few of those did hold me up for a while.
    I’ve heard of the 23a name but only as a woman’s and with a different last letter – not saying how I’ve heard of her as that will send me straight to the naughty corner.
    I’ve never heard of 25a and 17d took a bit of untangling.
    I confess to being dim with 18d although the answer had to be what it was – combining ‘High’ and ‘Street’ like that was very successful misdirection – well, it fooled me anyway.
    11a would have been much easier if I could spell 8d.
    I particularly liked 20a and 3, 7 and 12d (chestnut or not) and my favourite was one of those four.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Tilsit.
    Wood to chop and going for a walk but not sure in which order.

  16. No serious problems today although 25a and 18d remained unparsed. SW was toughest corner for me. As Tilsit mentions, 11a with its transatlantic pronunciation may not spring immediately to mind for those on this side of the pond. Joint Favs were 20a and 12d. Altogether a fun run. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

  17. That was a fine SPP. Mama Bee particularly liked 11a but 8d and 12d get a mention too.
    My only difficulty was 24d where I had a completely different answer that I thought I could justify.
    I can’t really say more as it is a prize puzzle but I bet others made the same mistake without checkers to put them on the right lines.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter

  18. 2*/2*. A benign curate’s egg for me with a few hmms and ticks in equal measure.

    The reason that the military male mentioned by Tilsit is obscure is that he is American (the military male, not Tilsit!)

    My joint favourites were 3d & 12d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  19. I was progressing very slowly so went and sat on the verandah overlooking Noss Mayo creek and the picturesque view inspired success at a quicker rate. A clever puzzle and thanks to the setter for a satisfying solve. Early slow progress meant a ***/*** for me.

    1. Out of curiosity and a general feeling of, ‘what shall I do now’ I just googled Noss Mayo which I’ve never heard of. I assumed it was somewhere other than the UK – wrong! It looks very lovely.

      1. I must own up to doing the same thing! I agree, it is lovely but I was expecting it to be in Ireland somewhere – or, as Radio 4 now call it, “the island of Ireland”.

        1. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t Devon. Mr Google says that it’s near to Newton Ferrers and I have been there although I can’t remember when or why.

          1. Yes it’s by Newton Ferrers. A lovely spot but narrow and quite muddy lanes to and from! At least a drive clears the brain of all crossword clutter😂

  20. This was a puzzle of many parts, some straightforward and others causing quite a bit of head scratching. Still, there was a lot to like and my favourite clue is 20a with 11a a close second.

    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit for the hints.

  21. I have to go along with the majority in that I found this prize puzzle very much on the friendly side with no great hiccups. 27a was a bit of an odd one I thought and 17d had to be what it was, but a new term to me. I really did like 11a, 20a, 7d & 8d, but my vote for COTD goes to 12d. Thanks to today’s setter and to Tilsit – a puzzle completed in two mini sittings either side of a spot of gardening.

  22. Lots to like about this one. My page is covered in ticks. Top spot has to go to 20a for the penny drop moment. Thank you setter and Tilsit. I have a brace of pheasants simmering in red wine in the kitchen and the smell is wonderful . The recipe asked to cover the birds with the contents of a bottle of red wine. One bottle didn’t cover them, so I put in two.

        1. No, Chriscross they won’t. The alcohol boils off.

          Sorry, I’m being a bit pedantic! 🤓

      1. Can you contribute one to the naughty corner please. We do love a good drunken game at dinner.

        Mrs T (R)

        1. I’ve also got two pheasants bubbling in red wine in my new slow cooker! Much better than my old one as I can saute in it as well – the smell is wonderful.

          1. Ooh…. I hadn’t thought of the slow cooker. Good idea. They are terrific for slow cooking a duck. Stops it from drying out, and very tender.

          1. Gosh Florence I use mine all the time. I find pheasant quite dry normally but with a bottle of red in the slow cooker they are fine. Our butchers here in Norfolk are stuffed with pheasants at the moment. Horrid though that they breed them just to shoot them. We are just about to tuck in! Yum, yum, yum!

            1. You are right about pheasants being dry if you just roast them. I simmer mine slowly for 30 mins in the red wine, then let it all go cold and just steep in the wine. Strip all the meat off them then sieve the wine to make a sauce and put whole lot back in a casserole dish to warm through. Much better if stage one is done the day before and steeped overnight. I use my slow cooker a lot, but haven’t tried pheasant in it. Next time ( except it’s grouse next week) Sorry BD, I know this is not a cookery blog. But we can’t talk puzzle on a Saturday.

              1. The trick with roast pheasant is to cook it for only about 20 minutes larded with streaky bacon. Or wrap it in foil to retain the moisture.
                As for pigeon breasts, they need to be seared in butter for only a few minutes.
                Ok, nobody mentioned pigeon but just thought I’d pop it in.

        1. Do you make soup the next day? My mother used to cook a ham for dinner one day and create wonderful ham soup with lentils and goodness knows what in it the next.

    1. A brace, Florence? How many are coming to dinner?
      Actually, thinking about it probably about four. There’s not much meat on a pheasant.

  23. As others, 25a and 18d were last to yield.
    Before that it was the long 12d for which I had the wrong starting letter, having a different first word in 12a.
    Paul offered us an alphabetical in the graun. Shall keep me busy.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the Saturday club.

  24. What a super Saturday puzzle this week. No hints required today.
    Went in smoothly and at a gallop for me. */***** A thoroughly enjoyable solve.
    Some great clues with several that caused a chuckle. Om the podium are 9a, 11a, 20a, 21a, 6d & 7d … such a hard choice for winner but 20a/7d my top choices.
    And as much as I cannot stand the man, (being polite here!) 9a made me laugh.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for hints

  25. This was tough going in parts. 18d was last in and I needed the hint. 23a required electronic help, and 27 was not spotted as an anagram but somehow still went in.

  26. Tilsit re 23a hint: [redacted – you’ll have to come back and repeat your comment when the review is published on Friday]

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Please read the red instructions as to what you can and cannot include in a comment on a Prize Puzzle

  27. I thought this was plain sailing until I got to 17 and 18 d where I spent an awful lot of time before the penny dropped! I think we all know one famous 23a, I never fully understand 10a but all jolly good fun. I smiled at 20a and a couple of others so thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

    1. I bow to your superiority, Daisy, but are you absolutely certain about the spelling of your famous 23a?

      1. Kath you are absolutely right..
        My apologies, brain is befuddled. I’ll just crawl back to bed.

  28. This was a tad tricky and took a good deal of thought, I think on the tougher side ofthe usual Saturday offering. Thst said hugely enjoyable. Thanks to Roget It surrendered around 1330.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter.

  29. We have been left with 16d, absolutely no idea, hint appears to indicate two different definitions in first and second lines, nobody else has mentioned it so obviously it’s just us. Have given up: hmmmph. All of this one was a bit too hard for us, to be honest.

    1. I hope this doesn’t land me on the naughty stair as the clue is hinted. For 16d I think that element should be the underlined word, if that helps.

  30. Enjoyed this but a couple held me up for a bit. Still can’t understand how I solved 17d. Anyway thanks to all.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Please be careful not to include solutions in your comments on the weekend Prize Puzzles

  31. 2/3. Really pleasant puzzle for a Saturday. My podium has 11&20a and 12d. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  32. Joe Biden has just been declared the 46th President-elect of the United States, with 273 electoral votes so far. All the networks, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal have just made the announcement. Now, maybe I can do the puzzle!

    1. I could hear your sigh of relief from here, Robert! Let’s hope that he has sufficient guts and stamina to rebuild your divided nation.

    2. If it ever comes the concession speech by Desperate Don should a classic of its type.

      1. I triple that Yes!!! Mr K.

        However, we better curb our joy otherwise BD will redact us all.

    3. I’m ecstatic, what a great result, I finished the crossword, 23 a held me up but had to be. I’m trying not to be sent to the naughty step.

  33. Almost completely unintelligible. One of the hardest Prize puzzles I have ever seen. Most of the clues were totally out there.
    Only finished with much electronic help.
    Not for me in any way shape or form.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Not quite as bad as you are saying but I found it tricky today. (Didn’t have time yesterday). Was surprised to see all the comments saying how easy it was. Glad to see I wasn’t alone, I thought it might be an early sign I’m failing!

  34. Thoroughly enjoyable solve today, despite needing the hint for 25a. Motorsport is my thing, so should have got this.

    7d just pipping 20a as the top of several favourites.

    Thanks to all.

  35. I don’t think anything could spoil this day for me, good thing the crossword went along with my mood!
    I didn’t know 25a, I had to google it after working that out.
    Fave was 12d, but I was caught for far too long with “wicked”, I think it caught me before too.
    Thank you setter for the enjoyment and to Tilsit for unravelling a couple.
    I’m off to make bushels of ice and boil eggs just in case. Winds are forecast for 65mph so am taking a chance on not putting up shutters. Fingers crossed y’all!

    1. Good luck with the winds Merusa, you are a little further south than us, we were to expect 40 – 55mph here last I heard. Let’s hope our luck holds.

  36. Much better than last Saturday’s horror, thanks to the setter. Several fun clues but 12d and 20a made me chuckle, so they can be my picks of the day. I did wonder whether the first two words of 20d clue might apply to 20a answer?? Thanks to Tilsit for the hints.

  37. Loved the puzzle, perfect for this red letter day. I had too many favourite clues, but I think 7d wins the prize. Good mix again of easier and tougher clues, and nothing obtuse or sporty. I don’t quite understand 18d, but I didn’t have a problem with 23a as I knew of the famous lady with similar name, ending with an a, so figured it out. I guess election euphoria has made all brain pistons fire 😊. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  38. Completely straightforward until it wasn’t. On the plus side it was infinitely better than last week’s stinker. I can only think that the bonnet in 18d is an unindicated Americanism, I’ve never heard of 17d in that context and, although I looked up the right name for 23a, which I’d never heard of, I Googled famous people called 23a, there weren’t many of them and I hadn’t heard I’d any of them either. I stand by my opening line. Favourite was with most others 20a. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. Ps. Brian (comment 36) kills me, when others find it difficult Brian finds it easy, when others find it reasonably straightforward Brian finds it almost completely unintelligible. Don’t ever change Brian, keep telling it how you see it.

    1. TG, regarding 18d, the bonnet is not an unindicated Americanism when, as the hint says, related to a hat, although it may be in another sense. Being an SPP I can’t elaborate.

  39. I found this pleasant in the early hours last night whilst waiting for a few hundred votes coming in…my mind wondered during the completion – Bollywood is India’s “Hollywood” – because it was based in Bombay. Now Bombay is called Mumbai so why is the film industry not called “Mollywood”?
    My faves were 10A & 20A.
    23A have heard of before – it is useful to learn Ancient Greek :)

    1. Mollywood is reserved for Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood & their heroics at the last Ryder Cup.

  40. Enjoyed the challenge today. Much more enjoyable than yesterday (i.e. i liked some of the clues). Good relaxation after digging over the veg plot.

  41. I found it difficult to understand how so many of you folks found it a ‘snip’ as I struggled. Like many I found 23a was a newie.
    17d was also a new word and 19d meant nothing except for the last two words! Must be old age…
    On the plus side 12, 17, and 20a were more my league. However, I got there in the end so thanks to Tilsit for his help.

  42. This was challenging but most enjoyable. 20a made me laugh, so that is my favourite. I also liked 12d when the penny dropped. 23a was new to me as I had only heard of the female version of this name. From the comments it seems I am not alone. Thank you to the setter and Tilsit for the hints.

  43. Anyone realised that an anagram for scholar/idea is icosahedral. Never was any good at carbon chemistry – or crosswords!

  44. Coming in late as only got around to looking at this this morning.
    I am concerned at the euphoria surrounding Mr Biden’s election, how long before the cracks show? I don’t think he likes us.

  45. Nice to finish one fairly quickly for a change. Doubt anyone reads my late posts but would like to know if some of you ever use electronic help? I don’t – to extend the pain. Perhaps I’m just stupid 😓

    1. I think the use of external help ranges from ‘all of the time’ to ‘never’ Ptp.
      The idea is to fill the grid with correct answers.
      The setters use all sorts of aids when setting. It would be unfair to deny those same aids to solvers.
      My view is that it is all right to use external aids but trying all the time to reduce the amount of aids used and the number of times those aids are used.
      Most days now it is just me, my mind, my forefinger and my iPad.
      It used to be me, a pen, a notepad, a dictionary, a thesaurus, an atlas, a crossword companion (a book of lists of rivers, trees, flowers, Shakespearean characters, etc etc) and all day spent revisiting unsolved clues.
      I hope that helps

  46. I too am struggling with 17d. Most aggravating ! I keep coming back to it after an interval, but alas no inspiration. And I’m sure the clues across are correct.
    It’s been enjoyable and complete apart from that, and I hate being beaten. But better than last week…I couldn’t crack that one !

  47. Better for me than last Saturday.
    I knew the answer to 12 down had to be what it is but took a while for the first part to twig- excellent clue.
    16 & 18 down 🤦‍♂️

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