DT 29553 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29553

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29553

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone. Nothing obscure or devious in today's puzzle, so it's more of what we've come to expect on a Tuesday.  Our compilers have revealed themselves in the comments for the past two Tuesdays, so that's practically a tradition now. I do hope that the creator of this enjoyable solve will continue it. Before we move on to the hinty part of the blog, I must wish all in crosswordland a happy holiday season and a 2021 that's a vast improvement on 2020. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Extend  time in jail (7)
STRETCH:  A double definition.  Extend a spring and an informal word for time in jail

Cat stretching

5a    Constraints limiting mother's stays (7)
REMAINS:  Equine constraints containing (limiting) an informal word for mother 

9a    Allowed to remove large pants (5)
AWFUL:  Allowed or legal minus (to remove) the clothing abbreviation for large

David Bowie in large pants

10a   Thought about female and chose to scratch head (9)
REFLECTED:  Join together a usual short word meaning about or concerning, the single letter for female, and "chose a politician" minus its first letter (to scratch head

11a   I'd returned with juice before fruit goes off (10)
DISAPPEARS:  Concatenate the reversal (returned) of I'D, some tree juice, and some fruit (plural) that grow on a tree

12a   Bow for wife (4)
PROW:  For or in favour of is followed by the genealogical abbreviation for wife 

The captain of the Queen Mary standing on its bulbous bow

14a   Prisoner you insult badly without stopping (12)
CONTINUOUSLY:  A usual prisoner with an anagram (badly) of YOU INSULT 

18a   Even a chemist develops triumphs (12)
ACHIEVEMENTS:  An anagram (… develops) of EVEN A CHEMIST 

New Zealand physicist Lord Rutherford, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

21a   Horrible day? That is about right (4)
DIRE:  Follow the single letter for day with the Latin abbreviation for "that is" containing (about) the single letter for right 

22a   Control all those who peruse the newspaper with change of direction at the start? (10)
LEADERSHIP:  Change the handedness of the first letter (… with change of direction at the start) of a word meaning "all those who peruse a newspaper" 

25a   River rose, forming artificial lake (9)
RESERVOIR:  An anagram (forming) of RIVER ROSE 

26a   Not a soul has energy after midday (2-3)
NO-ONE:  The physics symbol for energy comes after another word for midday 

27a   Complaint from Germany is moderate (7)
DISEASE:  Put together the IVR code for Germany, IS from the clue, and moderate or reduce 

28a   Sky regularly checks networks (7)
SYSTEMS:  Alternate letters (regularly) of SKY are followed by checks or stops 



1d    Ready to go after second drink (6)
SHANDY:  Ready or convenient goes after the single letter for second 

2d    Do not permit  waste (6)
REFUSE:  A double definition.  One's a verb, the other's a noun, and they're pronounced differently 

3d    He slept terribly, interrupted by one's calls (10)
TELEPHONES:  An anagram (terribly) of HE SLEPT containing (interrupted by) ONE from the clue 

4d    Arab perhaps runs in socks (5)
HORSE:  The cricket abbreviation for runs inserted in socks or stockings. Perhaps indicates that the definition is by example 

Man and horse

5d    Employer may want to read this new chapter in judge's grip (9)
REFERENCE:  Single letters for new and for chapter are inserted together in a football or boxing judge   

6d    I'm bereft without odd characters to make contact with (4)
MEET:  Delete the odd characters from I'M BEREFT 

7d    Bury chest, dismissing church's concern (8)
INTEREST:  A synonym of bury with CHEST from the clue minus the map abbreviation for church (dismissing church) 

8d    How a crab moves, trapping fish in rocks (8)
SIDEWAYS:  Rocks back and forth containing (trapping) a freshwater fish 

13d   Trainers might leave these tips for not getting out of shape (10)
FOOTPRINTS:  An anagram (getting out of shape) of TIPS FOR NOT 

Footprints in the snow in my backyard from a few years ago were made by ...

15d   So tense with present warning on course (9)
THEREFORE:  Chain together the single letter for grammatical tense, present or at hand, and a warning shout on a golf course 

16d   Read new novel before mind finally strayed (8)
WANDERED:  An anagram (novel) of READ NEW comes before the last letter (finally) of minD 

17d   Speaks as one about Republican in legislative assemblies (8)
CHORUSES:  The single letter meaning about or approximately is followed the some legislative assemblies containing the single letter for Republican (Republican in …)

19d   The short king's placed on one? (6)
THRONE:  Assemble all but the last letter (short) of THE, the Latin abbreviation for king, and ONE from the clue. The entire clue could serve as the definition as well as the wordplay, so I'm underlining it as an all-in-one clue 

20d   Worries at university with cliques (6)
UPSETS:  A short word meaning "at university" with another word for cliques 

23d   Runs  game (5)
DARTS:  A double definition.  Runs rapidly and a throwing game 

24d   Sailor caught enthralling sea creature (4)
ORCA:  The first two words of the clue are hiding (enthralling) the answer 


Thanks to today’s setter. My favourite clue today was 13d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  COP + ERR + BEACH = COPPER BEECH

71 comments on “DT 29553

  1. Probably the most straightforward puzzle I have done this year. Easily completed in * time, with all but six clues completed at the first pass.

    17d gets my vote for COTD.

    Even the queue at Sainsbury’s was only 10 minutes, and they had lettuces still in stock!

    I suppose I had better start thinking about present buying now.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Mr.K.

  2. Another great puzzle. So far we are being spoiled this week. No doubt it will all change by Christmas Eve. I’m not too sure that I have 9a correct but it was the only word that would fit assuming I have 1d right. Favourites are 22a and 7d with 19d my COTD.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K. for the hints and a very Merry Christmas and a far better New Year to you. Thank you for your efforts.

    1. Thanks to Mr. K’s hints, I have sorted out 9a. I had STEADY for 1d (second drink). I could kick myself!

  3. I thought this was a pretty good puzzle, particularly the South where there were some excellent clues. I could see nothing obscure or debatable, just fun to solve.
    I particularly liked 21&22a plus 13&17d
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K and seasons greetings to them both.

  4. A straightforward puzzle, wbich was, nevertheless, very enjoyable (2*/4*). The pick of the clues were the well-misdirected 13d and 15d, together with 22a and 8d and some super long anagrams. I’m spoilt for choice. Many thanks to Mr K for both pictures and hints and to the compiler. Here’s to a peaceful Christmas and a better year in 2021.

  5. 1.5*/3.5*. I found this light but very enjoyable with 9a, 21a, 4d & 8d making it onto the podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. P.S. I can recommend today’s not too tough Toughie from Silvanus for anyone looking for another puzzle to solve today.

  6. 9a was my pick of a pretty undemanding set of clues with the south maybe a tad trickier than the north. Another one perfect for the Graun’s so called Monday Quiptic slot. Found it a bit so so if I’m honest but maybe that’s because I’ve got the grumps with yet another grey day.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K for keeping us entertained each Tuesday throughout the year with his excellent reviews.

  7. 9a and 4d take the honours this morning in this pleasingly straightforward and trouble-free solve. Despite the ease of the solve, it maintained a good level of fun and enjoyment throughout.

    Many thanks to both Misters involved. Tesco in Shrewsbury was fairly crowded but everyone was being sensible, and there was plenty of choice on the shelves. I decided to panic-buy a very drinkable Malbec.

  8. That was a pleasant sleigh-ride with just a slight delay in the SW. IMHO slang pants is 9a. 13d is clever as is 21a. Thank you Mysteron and MrK to both of whom I send best seasonal greetings and thanks for funtimes and help.

  9. A gentle but enjoyable Tuesday offering, with only one snag for me: I missed the anagram in 13d, and forgot that what we call ‘sneakers’ over here are differently named in the UK. Top clues: 17, 19 & 13d. Many thanks to Mr K for the review and pictures, and to today’s compiler. Merry Christmas to both of them. Keep safe and well, everyone. ** / ***

    Finished the Toughie in record time for me, all by me own self. Ho Ho Ho!

  10. Bright and breezy, just right for brightening the current gloom. Having said that, my top two were 21a & 3d – hardly the most positive things to dwell on! Speaking of 3d, I do wish those folk purporting to be from Amazon would stop ringing at stupid o’clock to inform me that my Prime account has been renewed………

    Thanks to today’s setter and also to Mr K for another in his long line of most enjoyable reviews. The very best of festive wishes to you both.

    Oh good – another Silvanus Toughie to enjoy now!

    1. Hear, hear on the folk from Amazon, together with the ‘Visa card providers from your bank’ from which £600 has been withdrawn, the fake BT people, who are about to cut your internet connection and the bogus Inland Revenue types, who inforrm you that you will be immediately arrested if you do not press1 to discuss the ‘tax fraud case’ you are involved with!

      1. Not to mention those who are telephoning to inform you of your upcoming Covid vaccination and requesting lots of personal data – that can be used for identity takeover and to facilitate (with other data that the fraudsters might already have) fraud.

    2. Same for me with “Amazon prime“. It is a recorded message. My bête noir is one which tells me my broadband is about to be disconnected purporting to be BT. I don’t know why BT can’t stop it.

      1. Just string them along and save someone else from being scammed
        They usually ring off after about 45 minutes when I tell them I’m thinking about it, on the toilet

        1. Whenever the landline rings it’s odds on a scam call as everyone rings the mobile. I do the same. Feign gullibility & leave the line open pretending to go off to get details.
          Scam emails are beginning to get very tiresome too. Lost count of the number of invitations to collect my tax rebate – if only

      2. We don’t answer any number we don’t recognise. If it should be someone we need to talk to they will leave a message. The others rarely bother to leave a message. My favourite is the one saying Microsoft has been ordered to close and we are due a refund from the government. The only reason we keep the landline is for the alarm and calling England.

    3. I don’t think it’s amazon calling, people are hacking other folk’s phone numbers. I even had a call from someone trying to lower my CC interest rate and the caller ID was my own number. So, I’m trying to scam myself now?

      1. I also had thegWangiri Scam on my mobile phone. There are two short rings then it stops and the missed call purports to be from some exotic location. If you return the call (they bank on you being curious to see who could be calling from Papua New Guinea), you are asked to hold and paying at premium rates (£15 in a few minutes). If you don’t answer they keep ringing back until you block them.

        1. I never answer my landline as 99.99% of then are scam calls. I only keep it for the broadband.

  11. Nice crossword 😃 ***/*** I also had a little trouble with 9a Favourites 12a & 1d. Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗

  12. A gentle stroll through this morning, */*** No obscurities and some clever clues. Favourite 22a. Printer mysteriously decided to work this morning happily. Thanks to all.

  13. Another quality very enjoyable Tuesday puzzle completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 15d, and 19d – and the winner is 15d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  14. The top half flew in, but the bottom took a little longer to prise out of its Christmas stocking. Thoroughly enjoyed it – even though I spent far too long trying to shoehorn various abbreviations for sailor and caught into an enthralling sea creature at 24d. I will try to remember the “if all else fails…” mantra for next time.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr. K – season’s greetings to both.

  15. A very pleasant exercise solved at “silly o’clock” when my nose decided it’s allergic to our new carpets. I think 13d was also my favourite clue.
    Thank you to the setter and Mr K with one reservation. The “chemist” illustrating 18a is I believe the physicist Ernest Rutherford who (in)famously said “all science is either physics or stamp collecting”. Perhaps more true in 1908 than now, when to his surprise, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Here endeth the History of Science lesson 😎

    1. Hi, Faraday. The caption I put on the 18a pic (hover on computer or long press on phone/ tablet) explains that the pic is indeed Lord Rutherford. I used it because as a physicist from New Zealand I’ve always been amused that New Zealand’s most famous physicist got the Nobel prize in Chemistry. I wonder how he felt about that.

  16. Lovely – just at my level of (in)competence! Regarding trainers and sneakers: across the Irish Sea they would not recognise these words as they are called ‘runners’ in Ireland.

    Today’s soundtrack: Donald Fagen – The Nightfly.

    Thanks to Miss Terri Setter and the celebrated Mr K.

    1. What a great choice. One of my all time favourite albums Terence – love the title track lyrics.
      I’ve been playing Toulouse St & What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits today having watched a rather good programme about the Doobies on Sky Arts catch up. It’s a real treasure trove of great stuff.

  17. Great puzzle, been a really good week so far. Let’s of interesting clues and no obscure terms. Took me a little while to understand the pants reference but Mrs B says I need to get down with the Yoof more.
    Thx to all

  18. I thought I had spotted a theme with ‘pants’ and ‘stays’ in the first few clues. Not to be, alas. A very straightforward puzzle and enjoyable while it lasted. 9a was my pick today.

  19. It was after putting five of the first six across clues straight in that I realised I wasn’t actually solving The Toughie ready for today’s Toughie blog. A pleasant solve so thanks to the setter. Thanks also to Mr Kitty the WordPress Wizard. Today’s puzzle is quite gentle. I recommend having a bash at it

  20. Straightforward except 15d which I don’t understand why it means “on course”. Loads of great clues but 9a and 1a are my COTDs. Or is it CsOTD? Particularly enjoyed the anagrams. No lurkers today I think. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

    1. Stan, it doesn’t mean ‘on course’ – it means ‘so’ the first word of the clue. :-)

    2. The sign of a good lurker is that it hasn’t even been spotted but the grid is filled with correct answers. Look again Stan. There is a lurker hiding amongst the clues grinning at you like a Cheshire Cat

    3. I took the complete answer to be a synonym of “so”. Break the answer down into 2 parts – tense with present becomes t for tense with here for present followed by the 2nd part. Fore being a warning on a golf course.

  21. Happy Christmas and a Positive New Year to all the setters , hinters and commenters who have helped my wife and I through this sordid year! My wife was a telegraph crossworder when we met over 50 years ago!! She tried then on our Kent – London commute to get me interested, to no avail!! Due to the “special circumstances” this year we tried again! Can’t claim a victory! Let’s just say I am catching on! She is being very patient and it’s become easier! Most effective in getting us through the days!
    So a big THANKS to all of you!

    1. My husband held out until he retired, and then he joined me in solving crosswords. It’s never too late to start.

  22. Very enjoyable if a bit on the easier side. There seemed to be more anagrams than usual. Only one to present a problem for me, was 17d., not sure why. Many thanks to the compiler and Mr K

  23. A lovely early Xmas present of a crossword, ideal for people like me who get a great thrill out of being able to complete one unaided (not that frequent an occurrence although I seem to be doing well this week!). Lots of lovely clues, with the amusing 19d being my favourite. I only got stuck at the end with 24d as I hadn’t considered sea creatures that big. Annoying as lurkers are my favourite clue. **/*****

  24. This was just the right level for me. Once the long anagrams were solved the grid filled quickly but I tripped up on13d.and missed the indicator. 1d brings memories of sitting outside a pub in Summer a lovely thought in these gloomy days. Thanks to Mr T and the setter and a Happy Christmas to everyone, this blog has helped save my sanity this past year and given me some great smiles. I am very grateful.

  25. Sailed through at a rate of knots and feeling smug until I was left with a random five being 13 15 17 and 24d and 27a. Did manage to solve without help after twisting myself into contortions. I missed the lurker so trying to work around crab proved unsuccessful. One problem was I think I mixed up 13 and 15d so I thought the answer I had thought of for the former didn’t fit! I should have got 15d quicker than I did. Eventually parsed 17d. Favourites 22 and 28a and 4d. Thank you setter and you too Mr K. I shall now look at the hints.

  26. Jolly good – very enjoyable as others have said. Just right after our 40 mile cycle ride today – more please. Some of the clues are exemplars of how to write a cryptic crossword clue – 11a, 12a – I could go on.

  27. She of tiny brain didn’t find this as easy as others did, but it wasn’t tormenting! I solved all without help except for 17d, I needed word search for that. I cannot get to like “pants” for 9a, that is so awful! Can we not retire it?
    There was so much to like, hmm, maybe 4d was fave? Or maybe 1d? It was all good (except for 9a).
    Thanks to our setter, and to Mr. K for unravelling 17d, and for the lovely pics. Merry Christmas to you both.

    1. My thoughts precisely Merusa, I think pants is awful and I am surprised more people have not complained about it. I would never have got that in a million years without revealing the answer. That is my last rant this year.

  28. Fairly straightforward – the bottom half took longer than the top.
    Even with alternate letters in 17d caused a bit of a hold-up.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K, specially for the ‘extra’ picture hint for 18a – reminded me very much of varnishing the underneath of some bookcase shelves when very pregnant – the only way I could do it was by lying on my back – our two six month kittens discovered the loo roll – needless to say by then I had varnish dripping from my arms and the automatic instinct was to pick up the yards of loo roll! Try getting loo roll of very sticky arms! Oh dear! :oops:

  29. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for all you have done this year to keep us amused but please, Mr. Setter – don’t use pants again. Just for me. 🥰

  30. Really enjoyed this one today, although there were a couple of hold ups. It was a pleasant change to pull the answers out of my head at a steady pace. I also wanted to put steady in 1d at first. A lovely crossword where everything made sense. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  31. Pretty straightforward today although some of the parsings took me a while until I wrote them out horizontally, I don’t know why that helps. Favourite was 23d because I haven’t played it since we were moved into tier 3 and I didn’t get straight away. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  32. Struggled with parts of this puzzle today. 2.5*/*** SE last in and the area that took me from ** time to longer. Eventually after leaving it and coming back to it it fell into place but even so 22a was in.
    OTD candidates include 1a, 25a, 26a 1d & 19d with winner 26a for its straightforward simplicity.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  33. 3*/4*…..
    liked 13D “trainers might leave these tips for not getting out of shape (10)”
    mountain lions in your backyard Mr K ?

    1. I think the herds of deer roaming the neighborhood are probably responsible for the uptick in mountain lion sightings. It occurred to me that the deer may be hanging out in town because mountain lions generally avoid people. But evidently not the one captured on my critter cam. It is a magnificent creature.

  34. Late on parade again but I’ll have a head start on today’s in about two hours time. Excellent puzzle even though it was at the ‘entry level’. I’m still puzzled about 9a. I know the pants Bowie are wearing are awful but I’ve never heard of ‘pant’ or ‘pants’ meaning awful. I assume I’m interpreting the clue correctly. Certainly not in common use here in Oz. Anyway, my COTD, 22a. Thanks to the setter and Mr K🦇

    1. “pants” meaning awful or rubbish is definitely an informal Britishism. It’s seen here from time to time used in that sense as an anagram indicator.

      1. Many thanks for that info Mr K. Funny, in my 64 laps around the sun I’ve not heard of pants being used in that sense, not even in Minder and Only Fools and Horses reruns. Anyway, pants is filed away for future reference. Cheers 🦇

  35. Well, I thought this was difficult. Much harder than anything we have had recently.
    Still struggling with 17 and 28, hopefully something a bit easier tomorrow.
    Thanks all.

    1. Got there. 28 was me being thick and 17 was me misunderstanding the clue, not too keen on legislative assemblies = houses.

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