DT 29551 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29551 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29551 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good morning from Warrington!

All is well after last week’s lateness. Unless I’m very much mistaken, this has all the hallmarks of a Cephas puzzle and is not overtaxing and all round, it’s a pleasant solve.

Remember not to step out of line with answer requests etc. The naughty step has been sprinkled with holly today and the mulled wine has a rather rancid sprout bouquet. Unless it’s the first or last clue in each section, I am not hinting at any answers that are just full anagrams. Look for words such as ‘distributed’, ‘beaten’ and ‘rolling’ that could be indicators of them.

I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and a safe and healthy New Year? I should be around on Christmas Day for the annual Double Toughie with Elgar and will be back on Boxing Day for the Prize Puzzle notes.

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.


7a Sporty student to initiate classy descent (4,5)
The name for a sporting student at the major universities, plus a word meaning to bring in.

10a Rich cake and drink found in Gaul, mostly (6)
A type of drink goes inside most of the name of the old country give.

11a First-year student cheeky in front of staff (8)
Someone who’s cheeky may be said to be this, followed by the name for a member of staff.

14a During hostilities Democrat reveals secret (6)
A short word meaning during, followed by a word for hostilities and the abbreviation for Democrat.

18a Dance venue wanting backer in circle (4)
The shortened name of a place to dance.

19a Giselle perhaps takes everyone in punt (6)
Inside the word for a punt or gamble goes something meaning everyone. This gives what the classical work Giselle is.

21a Sailor repeatedly sees fierce person (6)
The name for a sailor and the same name again.

26a God needs a mark to locate treasure chest (6)
The name for a Norse God, plus A and a symbol for an anonymous mark on a treasure map.

28a Protest about short audition for leading lady (9)
The name for a type of protest has a type of audition or legal case minus its last letter inserted. This year we lost a number of famous people, and this was my favourite leading ladies in one of her final and most famous roles.


1d Crow and lark’s head covered in butter (5)
Inside a word that means a butter (i.e. one who butts) goes L, the first letter of LARK.

3d 100 yobs coming to blows (6)
The abbreviation for 100 and the name for a thugs / yobs.

5d Relative in north-east: that’s a relief (6)
After the abbreviation for the North East goes what you say when something is over and you’re relieved.

9d Sheep from Ireland doctor keeps (6)
A poetic word for Ireland goes inside the abbreviation for doctor.

13d The writer is drunk outside — over this perhaps? (5)
A way of saying the first person, who is the writer of this puzzle goes inside a slang word for drunk to reveal something you can go over.

15d Supreme soldier often up on horse (9)
The name for a type of soldier who’s often up in the air, plus a word meaning a horse.

20d Bark’s courageous owner sails absurdly close to shore (6)
The name for a famous Barker, not Ronnie, is an anagram (absurdly) of SAILS plus the last letter (close to) of SHORE

25d Pain in the neck? Medic rang regularly (4)
After the abbreviation for a medic goes the alternate letters from the word RANG (you can work out which ones!)

Thanks to Cephas for today’s teaser.

The Crossword Club is now open.

I leave you with two seasonal, emotional and beautiful items. Happy holidays!

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: miss+tickle=mystical

89 comments on “DT 29551 (Hints)

  1. I thought this was fairly straightforward – until I ground to a halt with three to go. 15d eluded me, I am hopeless when most of the checkers are vowels, but on seeing the answer, it became my COTD.

    All over in ***/**** time. Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  2. A pleasant puzzle, with a little bit of challenge in the clues, particularly in the E. I quite enjoyed this (3*/3.5) and found it relaxing after the last two days’ slog. I liked18d and 26a but couldnt parse 13d without Tilsit’s help, so mny thanks to him for the hints. Thanks also to the compiler, Cephas.

  3. An easy going outing this morning, or so I thought until I came to the last 2 in the S.E. It took almost as long to work out 23d and 28a as the rest of it. Not sure why. I was certainly distracted by a particular type of leading lady. ***/***. Favourite 15d. Thanks to all.

  4. 2.5*/3.5*. I was breezing along quite nicely until I came to grief in the SE corner which caused a bit of head scratching. Not sure about the definition for 20d but that aside this was very enjoyable with 26a & 15d my joint favourites.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  5. Top-notch throughout, I thought. Like Malcolm, 15d held me up the longest, as my LOI, and I shouted Ho-Ho-Ho! when the penny dropped. I also, like a Jolly Old Elf, gave a laugh as I rose to the occasion with that ‘composer’ in 23d. My special winners, though, are 7a, 18d, 26a, and 28a. Gold stars at the top of the trees to Tilsit (hope you have a Happy, malady-free Christmas) and to today’s crafty setter. *** / ****

    A championship game today with my Alma Mater Clemson University meeting the University of Notre Dame in an American-styled College Football re-match, which UND won the first time around. Go, Tigers!

  6. I’m sooooooo angry with myself for spending ages getting the “wrong end of the stick” as regards 23d – for obvious reasons I cannot say why, but am bruised all over from kicking messen, lol. Apart from that little hiccup I found this prize puzzle to be a fairly gently stroll. My favourites today were 7a, 2d & 9d, but 28a gets my top award for its misdirection – it had me mentally checking all the dead and alive ‘leading ladies’ that I could remember – until the sound of falling pennies. Thanks to today’s setter and to Tilsit of course.

  7. I started off really quickly, and got slower, and slower. Enjoyed the challenge. Loved the simplicity of 4d. I had to google barrels for 24a just to check that I’d got the anagram right. I now know the names of all the other barrels. Whether I remember them is to be seen should the others come up in crosswordland. Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  8. Enjoyed this without any real hold ups although the parsing of 4d was news to me. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  9. Straightforwardish for a SPP for me. Like others held up by SE corner.
    LOI was 28a also my COTD. Even Mrs LROK didn’t fit, although in the end perhaps she did.
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit, enjoy your relatively relaxed day.

  10. Really enjoyed this one although I did have the same hiccups as others when it came to a couple in the SE.
    20d was perhaps a bit of a stretch but amusing nevertheless and my podium places went to 28a along with 3,5&15d.

    Thanks to our setter – has to be Cephas – and to Tilsit for the hints and seasonal music.

    1. Just in time for Christmas, Jane: Shuggie Bain arrived on my doorstep last night, and I let John Bee know as soon as I could, thanking him for all of his efforts to fulfill my literary needs. Can’t wait to start it.

      1. I look forward to hearing your analysis, Robert, sounds as though it could be rather depressing for a Christmas read!

        1. It does have some sad bits but a lot of love too and the saddest moment of all was putting it down when I finished

  11. SPPs appear to have settled down to very enjoyable and not so challenging that they do not need someone who can solve an Elgar Toughie to be able to solve them. So, this was lots of fun and completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 7a, 28a, 18d – and the winner is 28a.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  12. 28a was my final entry and favourite in this comfortable challenge for a Saturday. Like RD, the SE corner held a few blanks for a while but it all came together quite nicely. Great fun and nicely clued.

    Many thanks to Cephas and Tilsit.

  13. Unlike Malcolm the other day I have no credible excuse for an apparent brain freeze this morning. I struggled with this from the outset & even the easy ones failed to jump out at me for whatever reason. Anyway got there eventually although not 100% happy with my answer to 4d but can’t think of anything else. Very enjoyable despite making such hard work of it all & I’ll plump for a podium of 15d with 26&28a.
    Many thanks to the setter (Cephas) & to Tilsit

  14. 6 down. Thought I was being clever…
    “Beaten arabs lost an” so I remove a & n from the first 2 words and spent a long time on the remaing 9 letters as an anagram!
    After a while the penny dropped.
    Enjoyed the puzzle and I don’t think my account of dullness breaks the rules.

  15. A very pleasant crossword with nice little touches of humour such as 12a,,24a,1d and 17d.
    I can now catch up with the Guardian crosswords as it is a miserable day down here.
    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the Saturday Club.

        1. I fell 3 short Robert but thought Paul’s one in the Graun yesterday good fun & worth a look if you haven’t done so.

  16. This was quite a strenuous workout. I feel as though I have slain the Nemean lion at the very least. The other eleven will have to wait for another day.

    Lola has a bit of a cold – we were considering a trip to the vet yesterday, but she is much brighter today with just a few delicate sneezes to indicate anything is afoot (apaw?).

    Today’s soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – Miles Of Aisles.

    Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit.

    1. I think the twin lions of Nemea made an appearance in an episode of Lewis or was it Morse? – must be Lewis I remember Hathaway was in it.

      1. Loved Morse but never took to Lewis. Perhaps I didn’t give it a chance. Maybe it was because Morse loved crosswords and Lewis didn’t. Morse also was very particular about grammar, which I try to be. “Who do you mean, sir”?
        “Whom, Lewis! Whom do I mean!”

  17. Wonderful! A really enjoyable puzzle and I hope it sets the tone for the coming Christmas week. I become stuck on the same ones as others did but they eventually revealed themselves with wonderful penny drop moments. They are 15d and 28a. The only one that I could not decipher was 16a. Assuming I have the correct answer, and I believe I have, I cannot see where northern comes into it.

    Many thanks to Cephas for a truly wonderful puzzle and thanks to Tilsit for the hints.

    We got the Christmas Tree this morning so an afternoon of decorating it to Christmas carols beckons.

      1. Ah yes – I forgot that anything north of Watford Gap is “The North” to southerners. :grin:

          1. You should try it. The further north you go, the friendlier the people. (Crouches down and awaits the flack!)

            1. Did you see my reply last night Steve about the Orchard Shop? Cam Valley Orchards and I know they send out packs of apples as
              gifts. They close around the end of February depending upon when the apples run out and then open again around June.
              If you are anywhere near South Cambridgeshire or North Herts – well worth a visit. Plums and greengages in the summer – yum yum.
              Then you can call in and have a cup of tea – socially distanced and in the garden!

              1. I would love to, Daisygirl but as I am shielding I can’t go anywhere. Thanks for the kind offer. I will look up the orchard shop.

            2. We discovered the “North” when best friends moved to Matlock, Derbyshire. You are right, lovely people and lovely countryside.

          2. Well why would you Terence? A lovely part of the world. Peter grew up in Maidenhead, and I was just a bit further west in Littlewick Green.

  18. I agree with most of what has already been said. Witty and clever with penny-dropping moments. The SE corner was last to go in. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. Am hoping for a clear sky at sunset so that I may see the spectacular sight of the two planets – so exciting.

  19. Not a Cephas crossword. I would not use this grid for a non-thematic crossword despite the fact that I introduced the grid. I introduced the grid for a crossword in which every clue and answer had to be connected with tennis. Then the DT wanted another puzzle with everything connected with golf.

    1. I like the sound of a golf themed crossword Cephas & I’m sure Daisygirl would also be enthusiastic

    2. Sorry that you stand wrongly accused, Cephas, it was the little touches of humour that made me believe it could well be one of yours. Anyway, many thanks for all the puzzles you have brought to us and the very best of wishes to you for the ‘festive’ season and a hopefully brighter new year.

  20. Once I got myself tuned in I thought this was a lovely and not terribly difficult crossword.
    8a caused trouble because I thought it was going to begin with something different – dim, but never mind – can’t elaborate.
    I was thinking of the wrong kind of 28a ‘leading lady’ for a while but then saw what the short audition was going to be.
    With alternate letters already in 20d had to be what it was but it took me an age to see why.
    Although I’ve heard Dame Edna’s last name pronounced I’d probably have spelt it differently.
    15d was my last one in.
    Clues that I noticed particularly today included 7 and 26a and 4 and 17d. My favourite was either 23d or 20d which made me laugh.
    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit.
    Am I the only woman here who finds husbands difficult to buy presents for?

      1. Oh Kath. What we suffer. George has been ‘into’ jigsaws during lockdown so I ordered him a jigsaw of Cambridge which duly arrived and was hidden away. Some days later he saw the advertisement in the DT for these city-based jigsaws and said ‘Hmm, that would be pretty boring!’
        Well, he is still getting it but I’ve added a good bottle of Whisky to help the boredom. He, in the meantime, I discovered had ordered
        for me TWO cashmere sweaters with high necks and in grey. I NEVER wear grey and I NEVER wear high necks and I prefer Merino wool. Fortunately they didn’t have the size and returned his cheque ( I got the envelope out of the bin and saw the order form). Am I being picky and ungrateful? Does he really look at me and see grey? Sixty three years of being misunderstood, it is a wonder I am still such a lovely person to live with.

        1. DG
          Perhaps his selection was trying to tell you that for him your blissful marriage has been one long 50 Shades of Grey!

          1. Mr Manders left a bottle of empty Gentleman Givenchy afterslave (yes I mean afterslave) prominently in the bathroom for about 2 weeks before he threw it away. I took the hint and it has arrived. I said the packet was for my birthday which is tomorrow so he thinks he has been forgotten. I don’t think he has got me anything either for tomorrow or Christmas as he won’t use his credit card on the internet or over the phone! Downside is that I end up paying for everything including his relatives.

        2. Peter gave up buying me clothes years ago. I would unwrap and then look at him askance, and hope that he had the receipt. He’s brilliant at all things DIY but a shopper he is not.

    1. Nearly forty years ago, for a couple of years we had “themes” for presents. One year it was “black and white”.
      I got him some chess related stuff, as he is a serious player and a few items of clothing.

      He got me – a microwave.

      Well, OK, these gadgets were new and exciting then, and there were a few other things, but I can’t remember them.

      One year, we had a red theme and I got a red leather trouser suit, so he was forgiven, although I never wore the two items together…just as I would never wear denim top and bottom.

  21. I seem to have had the same curious but jolly journey as many others: ie got there in the end but in fits and starts. ***/**** Thanks to the setters and Tilsit for his incisive hints. Most enjoyable.

  22. Enjoyable puzzle today, SE corner last to fall. Didn’t know that word for drunk in 13d but it was a good clue. Am delighted at how many cards haven’t been franked. I know I know, but at about 13 old shillings a stamp, why not? Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  23. Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite tricky in places. Needed the hints for 28a. Last in was 23d, penny dropped eventually. Favourite was 5d. Was 3* / 3* for me.

    1. Actually. Heno it wasn’t Cephas although you could be forgiven for thinking so given the number of thanks to said compiler. See #19.

  24. I completed this with almost no trouble, except at 7a, I got locked into some sort of ****** theme – I don’t think I would ever have got something to do with initiation without help.
    I then disappeared down a few rabbit holes (of the metaphorical kind) before I got the blog.
    Thanks to Tilsit and we’ll see him again on Boxing Day!

  25. A pleasant puzzle for this Saturday. Some tricky clues but some very clever ones too. Solved top to bottom withe SE last area completed.n
    Rate this as 2.5*/**** for today. COTD are really too many to list but my top ones include 19a, 26a, 27a, 15d, 18d & 20d with winner 15d and 19a close behind.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  26. First class crossword on an utterly depressing day that I am am now in tier 4 and Christmas is now cancelled.
    2d was superb, a real tea-tray moment.
    Thanks all…

    1. Yes – poor you – feeling similarly gloomy. In Oxford we’re in Tier 2 but that doesn’t help much when over half the family is now in Tier 4. As you say, HIYD, Christmas is effectively cancelled as has most of this year been for so many of us. I could say all kinds of very rude things but I won’t because bad language is one of the very few things to be banned on the blog! :smile: to you.

    2. Oh dear, Hoofs. I’m so sorry about your tier 4. Mrs. C and I are shielding but it’s not so bad because we live in the countryside and have no family left in this country. This means the problems of meeting up in these difficult times don’t affect us. However, I have the greatest sympathy for family groups who are prevented from seeing each other. It must be very difficult to explain to a small child why he or she cannot hug granny or grandpa.
      Let us all hope for a better 2021.

  27. Thank goodness, at last a chance to solve a puzzle! I did get stuck, yup, in the SE, like everyone else. I needed to use e-help for 18d and 28a. And I remembered Dame Edna, miracle.
    I think I may have the wrong answer for 1a, the first word is fine, but my second word doesn’t match anything … cancel that, my answer is correct and I’ve just tumbled.
    There is so much to like here, I don’t think I can choose a fave.
    Thanks to our setter, and oodles of thanks to Tilsit, particularly for the carols.

  28. This was definitely a curate’s egg with some fun and others not so. Presumably 11a is not PC these days. Not sure where treasure comes into 26a. Last in was 1d as I was looking for a cookery term but it became Fav when penny dropped thus ousting 7a. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit. Oh dear, decisions, decisions now re Covid Christmas.

    1. (redacted as too much information on a prize puzzle day).

      Tilsit has provided a hint for this clue

  29. Not a bad showing today. I had similar issues in the SE as did others, but managed to resolve them unaided. As usual didn’t start until pm as I had booked a slot at Waities to avoid queuing but there wasn’t one to avoid! I had to get takeaway beers from our excellent local micropub while in town.

    Talking of PM, fortunately this part of Sussex remains in T2, but I feel very sorry for those in nearby Kent and others now in T4. I knew it would all end in tiers … sorry …

    Anyway thanks to our compiler, and to Tilsit for the review and the music, and I’ll wish everyone Season’s Greetings and hopes for a much better 2021. I need to sing again …

    PS – the nights are drawing out already. Sunset is gradually getting later.

  30. I stumbled over the same ones as everyone else, presumably we were meant to. I thought today was a rather pleasant one despite being out without my dogs, the first time I’ve been shooting without a dog by my side for many many years. Reason! They’re allowed to stay in my girlfriend’s house at Christmas as long as they’ve had a bath at the local dog groomers. Today was the day. They’re not going beating with me on Tuesday either. Any road up. Favourite was 23d as it took so long to see it. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

    1. I once wrote an article for The Shooting Times about the first time I took my dog shooting. I was rather pleased with the finished result. It was in full colour. The one thing that first time taught me is that to go shooting without a dog is only half the pleasure. They know what they are doing far more than the Guns do. When I was beating I would try to send my dog into the undergrowth to put any birds up. He often merely looked at me as if to say “There are no birds in there, Master” and would trot off into another thicket and put up five or six. Eventually, the shoot captain, if not sure whether or not birds were hiding, would shout “Steve, bring Brock over here!”

      To see the utter joy on your dog’s face when you get the gun out is the stuff of dreams.

      I am so sorry your dogs are grounded, Taylor

      1. Apologies for being negative, but I cannot understand why anyone would want to shoot another living creature, but each to their own, I suppose.

      2. Well done for alienating half the readership! No one wants to hear about the pleasure you get from killing sentient beings.

        1. Probably a bit late to comment on this now but the total bag was 11, hardly wholesale slaughter.

  31. I started reasonably well, and then slowly ground to a halt. Finished over a late lunch, but not without a good lot of hints. I did like 11a, just beaten by 2d for COTD. I didn’t know the barrel. Last in was 28a, despite the great lady being one of my favourite actresses. On reflection I can’t see why I took so long today. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  32. I did this in two stints – before and after a trip to the cheese shop for a nice bit o’ Wensley**** to go with the cake.
    I too struggled a bit with 23d and 28a but got there in the end, 13d was a composer too for a while when I was pangram hunting and a different yob in 3d. I got there eventually and found it a delight throughout.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter.

  33. Very enjoyable puzzle today even if I did get stuck and had to use the electronic gizmo for 15d.

    Depressing news about new restrictions..but thank goodness we only have ourselves to worry about. …and for Zoom.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  34. Bit late to the party as I hoped the answer to 15d would come to me overnight. Alas it didn’t so I had to resort to electronic help which was annoying as I managed the rest unaided. ***/****

  35. Well, I’m not sure who could have set this if not Cephas.

    Thanks to Tilsit, to the always brilliant Pete, and all who made comments.

  36. Can you please print again the solution to Prize Crossword 29551. I am going mad trying to get the last few. Help!

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