DT 29539 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29539 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29539 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from a damp and drizzly Warrington.

Thanks to the boss for covering last Saturday while I went to get my legs lagged. Here we go with another Saturday teaser and this is probably the friendliest we’ve had for a few weeks. It’s also probably by Cephas, but I may well be wrong. It’s a pangram which will also help some people as well.

Tell us what you thought and as usual remember the rules of the Weekend Crossword Clubs about direct answering. I am off to do some proctoring at the World Quiz Championships which finally happen today after being postponed in June. A large number of people all over the world will be taking part in the event, and later today, I shall share some of the questions with you to see how you would have done.

If you are at a loose end, today’s Guardian puzzle is by our much-missed former Sunday setter, while today’s FT puzzle is by the present incumbent. I know which one I prefer. Get them here!



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 Old vehicle’s trim pocketed by flier (6)
The name for an old wreck of a car is found by taking a word meaning to trim and placing it inside the name of a large black bird of the crow family.

4a Cheap American couple snapped (3-3)
An old American expression meaning cheap and tawdry is found by taking the number that makes up company, rather than a crowd and a word meaning snapped (with teeth).

9a More than enough to help working artist (8)
An anagram (working) of HELP TO and the abbreviation for an artist.

12a Held forth on person living abroad facing one terrible date (10)
One of today’s more obscure answers. The name for a Brit living abroad is followed by an abbreviation for one and an anagram (terrible) of DATE.

16a Bookkeeper’s test of equilibrium? (5,7)
A standard accountancy procedure is cryptically described a word for a test and one relating to equilibrium.

20a What might bring a lump to one’s throat (5,5)
A cryptic way of describing a part of your body.

24a Vessel that’s well-filled (6)
A type of vessel that derives its cargo from a type of well.

25a Well now, that’s better (6)
A double definition.


1d In summer month, right to make soup (8)
I’d forgotten this is also a type of soup, as well as a style of chopping veg (presumably for it!)

5d Cleaner with wooden thumb, oddly? (7)
The abbreviation for ‘with’, a type of wood, and the odd letters of ‘thumb’.

8d Place stripper removed item of footwear (6-7)
An anagram of PLACE STRIPPER.

14d American river crossed by container vessel (9)
The abbreviation for American plus the name of a British river inside the name of a container.

17d Book Russian to sit on throne occasionally (7)
A famous book is made up of an archetypal Russian name and the even letters of THRONE.

18d Fish and beer with married woman (7)
An unusual name for a fish – one that lives in the seas of Crosswordland! A type of beer and a word for a woman who’s wed.

21d Herb’s lab is vandalised (5)
An anagram (vandalised) of LAB IS.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Today’s music is by Ludovico Einaudi and while his music divides some of the critics, you can’t ignore it, especially when some vocals are added….

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: toy+let+tree=toiletry

101 comments on “DT 29539 (Hints)

  1. This was one of those that started off quite nicely but then ominously slowed down. I dug my heels in and managed to gain momentum until just two remained. I had built an answer from the wordplay for 12a, but couldn’t believe the word was real. It was. The other was 25a, which I have an answer for, but don’t like it. Having got the first letter of the first clue, I was immediately on pangram alert.

    All over, bar the shouting, in ** time. COTD goes to 1a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

    1. Concur on 25a. I assume I’ve got it, but feel I’m missing something with the first part of the clue.

      Thanks for the notes, Tilsit, and thanks to the setter.

      1. I stay away from the blog on the weekends but I had to comment when you appeared. Welcome to the Blog Owen Meany. One of my all time heroes. I’d be happier if all of your comments appeared in capital letters though

    2. Mr T insists 25a is xxxxx but I think it xxxx. can some one help please? Or recommend a good divorce lawyer.

      Mrs T

      1. Surely a look in the dictionary to check which spelling matches the definition(s) should help to keep us out of the naughty corner!

      2. You are right but you’ve given too much information in your comment – as Weekend Wanda says, a trip to the dictionary is all you need

        1. If anyone needed the hint for 21d which is doubtful I think they would have spotted the typo.

  2. 2.5*/3.5*. This pangram was good fun and relatively straightforward except for my last two answers in, 25a & 18d, which took me over my 2* time. The cluing was nice and brief, and it was good to see the American expression in 4a clearly indicated!

    18d was a new word for me, and 9a was my favourite – lovely word (as is 1a)!

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Huzzah! Finally the Americans have words you English are less familiar with. 18d in particular would make about as much sense as the “Mornington Crescent” game would to us Yanks.

      I’m going to throw some of the wife’s PG Tips into the ocean as a token gesture.

      Mr T

      Have a nice day Mr Ron!

  3. Good to see you back on duty Tilsit and hope all is well. A not difficult puzzle for a Saturday which was finished well before usual probably because we had to get up early for the visit of our superb electrician.

    Not too much to get excited about but I did like 1a and 6d.

    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  4. This took me just over 2* time and was a very enjoyable puzzle(5*) with some wily and well disguised clues. The wording of 21a, whilst short and sweet, wass.ooth and clever and 12a was another corker. I was unsure about 1d, which have only heard of in a different context but, having recon8sed the pangram I knew it could only be one thing. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and I hope you’re on the mend. Thanks to Cephas too, who, together with a walk in sparkling sunshine, made my morning.

  5. I enjoyed this especially the NW corner. It would make life easier if there had been a capital C for canal (joke) and 11a was my favourite. The clueing was straightforward for 18d but was surprised that it was the name of a fish, the word looked very odd. But Hey Ho we learn something everyday. A fun and enjoyable solve but sadly over too quickly. Cheers setter and Tilsit

  6. Probably one of the better SPPs for quite a while, naturally I missed the pangram, completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 16a, 1d, and 15d – and the winner is 16a.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

      1. Ask Senf to slow his horses down to a trot? I am not sure his horses know what a trot is. They always gallop. Senf must be feeding then oats.

  7. Lovely to see you back again Tilsit. Hope you are feeling better and remain so.

    Also a lovely crossword today. Just enough to puzzle me a bit but not dumbfounded me.
    Favourite clue was 21a. Short and sweet.

    Thank you for the links and I am looking forward to seeing the quiz questions later.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.
    Nice and sunny if very cold here in Dundee. No snow yesterday but a lot….a lot….of rain.

  8. One of the most enjoyable Saturday puzzles we’ve had recently and my only hold-up was trying to fit a much smaller well-filled vessel into 24a!
    1a made me smile – isn’t it the monkeys in safari parks who make off with vehicle trims?!
    16a reminded me of my old days of learning book-keeping, not my preferred way to spend the day.
    I’m going for word sounds for my top two – 1&9a.

    Thanks to our setter (Cephas?) and to Tilsit for the hints and especially the music from my favourite pianist – the master of the pause. I was lucky enough to see him in concert at the Bridgewater Hall some years ago, a magical evening. Think my favourite of his compilations is Berlin Song. It rather surprised me that he speaks very little English but I guess we’ve been extremely arrogant over the years and expected everyone to speak our language.

  9. A very nicely-balanced pangram for a Saturday Prize Puzzle that was a real pleasure to solve. I would not stray too far from the consensus on favourites thus far and opt for 1 and 9a. Great fun.

    Many thanks to our setter and thanks too, and welcome back, to Tilsit.

  10. ‘Difficulties exist to be surmounted’ said Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I can’t help but think he is related to Tilsit (great to see him back). Whenever Tilsit informs me a crossword is friendly, I seem to spend a loooong time wrangling and wrestling with the clues, as was the case here.
    However, I did some surmounting and reached the summit, with the aid of a couple of hints from our World Quiz proctor.

    Off now for some yomping across the Surrey Hills – certain to return in time for Chelsea’s awkward clash with Leeds United.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

    1. I hold you solely responsible for my poorly plates (of meat – feet). Your epic trek & return in the gloom inspired me to undertake a similar yomp & whilst I managed golf the next day I’ve paid for it ever since. Shame as today we’ve actually got a bit of sunshine after 2 horrible days but snooker & golf on the box will have to compensate. Enjoy your walk.

  11. On pangram alert very early which certainly helped. Very enjoyable & with no real difficulty. 18d&16a were both new to me but easily gettable from the wordplay & I recalled 12a from a previous crossword. 1d couldn’t have been anything else but I certainly wasn’t aware it had owt to do with soup. Last in was 25a & like MalcolmR wasn’t entirely comfortable with my entry but upon reading the hint it looks right & is my least favourite clue. Think I agree with Jane that this has been the best Saturday offering for a while & I’ll plump for a podium of 9a plus 6&17d.
    Thanks to the setter & pleased that you’re now recovered Tilsit.

  12. This has to be one of the easiest Saturday prize puzzles for sometime. It was very enjoyable. I was on pangram alert the moment I put my first answer in. I then promptly forgot about it and missed the pangram! My COTD is 6d picked from many good clues.

    Thanks to Cephas if it be you and to Tilsit for the hints. Glad you are back, Tilsit and hope all is well.

    Our handyman is putting up a new trellis arch after the old one blew down in the gales. it will take a very strong wind to blow this one down. He’s concreting it into the ground and using timber twice as thick as the old one had.

  13. Enjoyed this relatively straightforward Saturday puzze, somewhat delayed by looking for a “black” corvid at 1a. Thanks to Tilsit and setter.

  14. A nice straightforward SPPP that lacked any fun / Doh clues for me.
    Spotted the pangram early which helped a little.
    COTD 1a: old fashioned word much better than its modern equivalent. Uncle had one that he called his Rolls Canardly, “rolls down hills but can hardly get up them”.
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit. Hope the quiz goes well. Look forward to not being able to answer any of the questions. Presume it is set entirely in English surely that puts someone from China, say, somewhat at a disadvantage.

      1. Even worse if he is a Yank from Georgia according to Tom Lehrer
        “Our Captain has a handicap to cope with, sad to tell
        He’s from Georgia and doesn’t speak the language very well”

  15. Well, that was a fairly easy one. Most went straight in, including ( I am an angler) 18d. Thanks to all.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      This is a Prize Puzzle and so hints are not provided for all the clues, just the ones considered to be more difficult

      11a is a deity revealed by reversing (backing up) a well-known canal

      2d is a double definition

      1. Cryptic Sue – thanks for the steer. Kicking myself for not getting those two remaining clues.

        1. Hi David,
          Trying to decide if that’s just your favourite number repeated or whether you were actually lucky enough to be born on that date. Assuming that it’s the latter, has it lived up to its promise thus far?

  16. I would think, LROK, that is would be more than the Chinese who could be at a disadvantage in the quiz. But maybe they have interpreters? I’m glad I am otherwise engaged this afternoon in repairing junior daughter’s favourite beaded Christmas sweater chewed by the schnauzer puppy last year and will not feel obliged to compete.
    Very pleasant puzzle, on pangram alert from clue one, I agree with all the favourites and delicious words. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit, I trust your legs are now 25a.

    1. I did say for example DG. Must be incredibly difficult to set the questions. I remember the US used to have everything in Fahrenheit so the melting point of iron (1510 C to us) they knew as 2750F. Hopefully they have standardised now even though they still (sensibly) use F for daily temperatures & inches for rain & snow fall.

      1. The questions are translated into 9 other languages, normally many more but this is mainly an online quiz this time around, although one or two countries are holding face-to-face heats..

        My Zoom Room hosted the quiz community of Latvia this morning, to enable them to play!

        1. Does any country have a propensity to winning this quiz, or is it a free for all across the world? It sounds a very
          ambitious undertaking, my weekly dose of University Challenge leaves me open mouthed!

  17. An odd one this, a curious mixture of almost non-cryptic clues like 21a and weird ones such as 1d and 18d neither of which I knew although the wordplay was fair. In my book merely an OK puzzle.
    Thx for the hints

  18. I completely missed the fact that it’s a pangram (again) !! Just a steady entertaining solve. **/ *** I believe an 18d is a herring but may be wrong. Favourite 1a. Haven’t heard the term in years. Glad your back Tilsit. Stay well. Thanks to all.

    1. Mr G said it was a type of herring. I had heard the word before but lookedit up to be sure.

  19. This was alot of fun. Some throwaway clues with others taking a little longer to tease out. My last two in were 24 and 25a. I had the answers but missed the significance of well-filled in the former and don’t really see the latter as a double definition. These would be my least favourite but 9 and 11a and 6 14 15 and 17d my favourites. Thanks Cephas if indeed it be thee and Tilsit of course.

  20. This was alot of fun. Some throwaway clues with others taking a little longer to tease out. My last two in were 24 and 25a. I had the answers but missed the significance of well-filled in the former and don’t really see the latter as a double definition. These would be my least favourite but 9 and 11a and 6 14 15 and 17d my favourites. Thanks Cephas if indeed it be thee and Tilsit of course.

  21. This was a really nice puzzle to work through, a steady solve at a fast canter (to quote Senf) 1.5*/***** my rating for this one. Favourite clues include 1a, 11a, 28a, 2d &6d with winner 6d and 11a runner up.
    Enjoyable whilst it lasted and even more satisfying as no hints were needed today.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  22. I don’t think I’ve had a puzzle, recently, where I have created the answer correctly and found a new word or dubious solution.
    An example of the latter, 25a.
    So, **/****
    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit

  23. Reasonably enjoyable last in 25a which I think is a tad weak. Nothing really outstanding albeit 6d wins by a furlong. Thanks to all.

  24. I’m having a rotten run of Saturday solves, I found this the hardest of the week and I’m not sure I got much further than half way. Some difficult definitions for me, so the fair cryptics weren’t aleays enough to deliver the answers.

  25. **/****. Enjoyable solve with very little head scratching required. I needed to check the meaning of 1d as I don’t associate this with soup. 12a was my favourite. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  26. Never heard of 18d – so obscure, for me at least – but guess-able from the wordplay and not keen on 25a, though (I assume) I got it once I had all the checkers…..otherwise straightforward enough with some entertaining clues….

  27. My goodness I fairly galloped through this earlier today. Had to check that I was right with the name of the fish. Thank you to the setter and TiIsit. Enjoyed the music.
    I think the DT General Knowledge beckons next and without doubt I will still be completing it tomorrow. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. NB I followed the gritting wagon on my way home earlier. Take good care on the roads tonight and in the morning if you intend to venture over the threshold.

    1. Would love to be venturing forth, Hilary, in my gladrags regardless of the weather – but sadly not allowed to . Anyway, I don’t fancy Scotch eggs.
      I am afraid it is light the fire, a Waitrose confit of duck and Strictly for me.

      1. Fire lit at least a couple of hours ago – husband cooking lamb chops with bulghur wheat and courgettes and some salad (obviously not cooking that and it’s always my job to do the dressing) and then, definitely, the dancing.
        There are quite a few ‘closet fans’ of Strictly on this blog – I’m tempted to ‘out them’!!

        1. They call it Dancing with the Stars here, and I can assure you I don’t watch it. Another programme I miss is The Bachelor or The Bachelorette.

        2. Mrs C and I have never watched Strictly. However, we lit the fire and wallowed in warmth while watching Morse on ITV 3.

  28. Oh! Daisygirl that sounds just perfect to me. I love confit of duck and yes we will be watching Strictly possibly a little chocolate for dessert!

  29. Not too difficult and not too easy either.
    I’ve never heard of 12 or 16a – at least I don’t think I have and I missed the pangram as usual.
    I did spend quite a while hunting for a reversed lurker for 11a – dim!
    Not sure I’d have got 17d if it hadn’t been in the NTSPP.
    4a is going to drive me completely mad – I only know it because I’ve heard it in a song but can’t remember what the song is or who it’s by.
    I liked 9 and 20a and 6 and 14d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Tilsit.

    1. Same here with the song, Kath. I reckon we might both be thinking of Roger Miller’s King of the Road although having looked up the lyrics I see that they were apparently slightly more expensive Americans!

      1. Yes – thank you, Jane!!
        You’ve saved me from going a bit loopy – well, a bit loopier than I am at the moment anyway – and driving myself mad.

  30. Late again but no problems with the puzzle. Pangram helped to find my LOI (11a) as I spent a long time looking for a reverse lurker too. Various vessels came to mind before the right one too. I had heard of 18d before but almost used the plural form for my pangram but a trip to BRB put me right. Like Tilsit, I learned a bit about soup too.
    Thanks to the hopefully recuperated Tilsit and setter

  31. What a lovely Saturday treat. I really enjoyed working my way through the puzzle, and even figured out 18d, which I had never heard of, but just had to be because of the clue. The only fly in the ointment for me was 12a, also because I have never come across that word. Tilsit’s hint helped me figure it out thankfully. Spent too long thinking of British canals in 11a, and smacked myself on the head when the lightbulb went off. COTD was 16a, just because the year I spent in Accounting class in high school (that teacher gave 4 hours of homework every Monday night) finally paid off. Big thanks to setter and thanks and welcome back to Tilsit.

  32. This was a super puzzle, just perfect for me, nothing strange. I did have to look up 12a, it sounded right but wasn’t sure. My last in was 17d, I hang my head in shame, I loved the book and read it more than once. Lovely name Rowena! You have to be of a certain age to remember 6d, we all had them. Then you had to send the reel of film to be developed and printed!
    I think I’m going to choose my fave by the sound of the word, between 1a and 9a.
    Thank you Cephas for the fun and Tilsit for the hints and music. I’m so glad you’re doing better.

  33. Enjoyed this a lot but also have a problem with 25a. I have an answer but not sure it is correct. I envy Daisygirl’s confit but we are having roast guinea fowl. Never cooked it before so fingers crossed. Lots of bacon over the top and nesting on roasted veg. Hope it is delicious!

  34. Another great puzzle. The obscure words were easy to work out and everything else just fell into place. 16a took me back to my job as an intern in an accountancy firm before university many years ago. Amazing what things you can dredge out of your memory! 1a was a word I have learnt through doing crosswords and 12a sounded vaguely familiar although I had no idea what it meant. I realised it was probably a pangram when the letter Q went in quite early on. **/*****

  35. Today’s Telethon day in France and I am having a real Crosswordthon.
    I have so much to do at the moment that I managed to solve two Guardian (Philistine and Brendan), two BD (Exit and Alchemi) and the prize.
    When I finish, I shall look at Tilsit’s offering.
    Anyway, there’s nothing on TV.
    The pangram helped me in the SE and finished comfortably without any ink blot on my page.
    Favourite is 9a. So smoooooth.
    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit.

  36. 25A was my last one in – I also agree that clue is a little weak, but the main reason I struggled with that one is I thought we were still missing the F from the pangram, so I was trying to shoehorn it in there.

    I must’ve checked the grid three or four times before I saw it xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Maybe I should return these new specs back to the optician. 😆

  37. I thought I’d gone wrong somewhere, spotted the pangram but where was the Q! 15d was my last one in and behold the aforementioned letter. Thanks to Cephas for an enjoyable puzzle and Tilsit for the hints…hope you’re on the mend now.

      1. Welcome to the blog

        Please read carefully the instructions in red at the bottom of the hints as to what you can and cannot say when commenting on a prize puzzle

  38. Having spotted for the first time the last pangram I completely failed to spot this one. Not that it mattered as it wouldn’t have helped me with the ones I’d never heard of. Hey ho! I got the eventually but didn’t find it as easy as some did. Favourite was 12a, I’d never heard of that either but worked it out from the clue and looked it up. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  39. Can someone help me with rationale for 15d clue,
    I have it but assuming, probably wrongly what the
    ‘mostly free’ alludes to.

  40. Earlier than usual, but needed a few hints. Like some, 16a was new to me and last in. As usual it was interesting to see the American reference in 14d was a classic- no words together are necessarily connected! Favourite was 17d. 1d was a new one to me, a simple diner.
    Glad to see Tilsit back, after his ordeal. I have to say, I prefer Schubert Impromtus to the modern piano work featured, which seems very repetitive.
    🔯As to Covid, I can see it lingering on until the next autumn. Keep safe all!

  41. Enjoyable solve, this one, with only one weakish clue (25a). Like a previous poster, i also learned a new word (12a) by coming up with a answer and then having to see if the word in fact existed. 1d was a new one on me in that sense (I’ve clearly been overeducated by MasterChef!). Spotted the pangram very early on, which helped massively with finally getting 11a. The quickie is also a pangram as it happens.

    The colour of the hint for 1a is just plain wrong, no? Unless our feathered friends are much sootier in the grim North! COTDs were 6d and 20a for me.

    1. I think you’re right about 1a – unless our blogger had in mind the Currawong from Tasmania, which seems unlikely!

  42. First time we have read these comments. Would be interested to learn about how a pangram helps to solve the crossword?

    1. Welcome to the blog clueless martin

      Many solvers look for “missing” letters in unsolved clues when several of J,K,Q,X,Y or Z have been encountered. Beware, it doesn’t always work!

  43. Finished in under xxxxxxx which is a record for me so probably got something wrong! Anyway nice to have a easy one for a change

    1. However long you take, we do ask that you don’t put actual times in your comment

      You’ll be able to check your solutions tomorrow morning when the review is published

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