DT 29558 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29558

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29558

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to my last blog of 2020. Happy to see the end of that awful year. I was bang on wavelength today, completing this one in a single pass top to bottom.  First time that's ever happened for me. I was definitely helped by the inclusion of an above average number of Usual Suspects. Smooth surfaces and tight wordplay made for an enjoyable solve.

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 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    Poet regularly longs for fruit (7)
PEACHES:  Alternate letters (regularly) of POET with longs or yearns 

5a    Model, after work, departs hostile (7)
OPPOSED:  Model or sit comes after the usual abbreviated musical work, and that's all followed by the single letter for departs 

The cat is opposed

9a    Piano to the right of china mug (5)
CHUMP:  The single letter for piano comes after (to the right of, in an across clue) what china means in rhyming slang 

10a   Ten across flustered old family members (9)
ANCESTORS:  An anagram (flustered) of TEN ACROSS 

11a   International study bound to enthral if discovered (10)
IDENTIFIED:  Concatenate the single letter for international, a study (in the sense which the BRB amusingly defines as "A room devoted to study, actually or ostensibly"), and bound with rope containing (to enthral) IF from the clue 

12a   Brilliant beginning but no ending (4)
STAR:  A synonym of beginning with its last letter deleted (… but no ending

14a   New vessel there at sea, in spite of everything (12)
NEVERTHELESS:  The single letter for new with an anagram (at sea) of VESSEL THERE 

18a   Worried if aching, since husband's lost weight (12)
SIGNIFICANCE:  An anagram (worried) of IF ACHING SINCE minus the genealogical abbreviation for husband (… husband's lost

21a   Some sent back application, originally, for club (4)
IRON:  The answer is hidden inside the reversal of (some sent back …) the remainder of the clue 

Paige Spiranac selecting an iron

22a   Signs of nerves after government almost is revealing data (10)
STATISTICS:  Some involuntary muscular signs of nerves come after the fusion of government or nation with its last letter deleted (almost) and IS from the clue

An aerospace statistic

25a   Left a group working with editor (9)
ABANDONED:  Link together A from the clue, a group or gang, working or operating, and the abbreviation for editor 

26a   Fancy cutting out fashionable picture (5)
IMAGE:  Fancy or visualize minus a usual short word for fashionable (cutting out fashionable) 

27a   Radical half-trembles entering river (7)
EXTREME:  Half of TREMBLES inserted in (entering) a river found mostly in Devon 

28a   Kindly left European in revolutionary hospital department (7)
LENIENT:  Cement together the single letter for left, the single letter for European, the reversal (revolutionary) of IN from the clue, and a usual abbreviated hospital department 



1d    Piece of cake to eat outdoors (6)
PICNIC:  A double definition.  The first is colloquial, the second literal 

Picnic cat

2d    Sailor employed and mistreated (6)
ABUSED:  A usual sailor with employed or applied 

3d    Pity he's so confused about hard theory (10)
HYPOTHESIS:  An anagram (confused) of PITY HE'S SO containing (about) the pencil abbreviation for hard 

Quantum mechanics is hard theory

4d    Mark put on female item of clothing (5)
SCARF:  A mark, perhaps from a wound, is followed by the single letter for female 

5d    Ignoring golf, Roger's chat disturbed group of players (9)
ORCHESTRA:  An anagram (disturbed) of ROGER'S CHAT minus the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by golf (ignoring golf) 

6d    Opening  mail (4)
POST:  A straightforward double definition 

7d    Finally encourages parent to inhale oxygen to become calmer (8)
SMOOTHER:  Follow the last letter (finally) of encourages with a female parent containing (to inhale) the chemical symbol for oxygen 

8d    Torment, as I had picked up accent (8)
DISTRESS:  The reversal (picked up, in a down clue) of the contraction of "I had" is followed by accent or emphasize 

13d   Beating for each swear word at home entertains Oscar (10)
PERCUSSION:  Glue together a short word meaning "for each", a swear word or curse, and a usual word meaning at home that contains (entertains) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by oscar 

15d   Life is tense after former lover starts to eat numerous chocolate eclairs (9)
EXISTENCE:  IS from the clue and the single letter for grammatical tense both come after a usual former lover, and that lot is followed by the initial letters of (starts to) the remaining words in the clue 

16d   Is Parisian friend after independent quotation? (8)
ESTIMATE:  Assemble the French word for "is", the single letter for independent, and a friend or pal 

17d   I got nan excited about Romeo in the dark (8)
IGNORANT:  An anagram (excited) of I GOT NAN containing (about) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by romeo 

19d   Sea dog to talk foolishly about current (6)
PIRATE:  A verb meaning talk foolishly containing (about) the physics symbol for electrical current 

20d   Approval going up, by the sound of it (6)
ASSENT:  A homophone (by the sound of it) of a noun meaning "going up" (a mountain, perhaps) 

23d   Like the main movement? (5)
TIDAL:  A cryptic definition, with main here meaning sea 

24d   Python slid lengthways, to an extent (4)
IDLE:  This Python is hiding as part of ( to an extent) the remainder of the clue

A possible solution to Florida's python problem


Thanks to today’s setter. I particularly liked the simplicity of 12a, the originality of the wordplay for the oft seen 5d, and the amusing surface of 15d. My favourite clue is 3d because I feel like that sometimes. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  PET + TEA + CACHE = PETTY CASH

104 comments on “DT 29558

  1. If I’m being strictly honest a little too straight forward to be enjoyable or satisfying. Like Mr K, it was over almost before it had begun.
    No particular favourite today (maybe the QP) but thanks to the setter and to Mr K and a happy New Year to them both.
    0.5/ 2.5*

  2. A pretty untaxing but fun puzzle for a snowy morning. 15d was my favourite, although some of the new takes on old chestnuts gave it added interest.

    Many thanks to both Misters.

  3. Having solved all but two of the down clues on first pass, the remainder of the puzzle pretty much gave itself up, with the exception of 19 d, which was my last one in and took a few moments of extra thought. A pleasant gentle puzzle on yet another snowy, but this time wet Salopian morning. 14a has to be my favourite today, as I never fail to be impressed with all the many and various ways this word has been clued over time. Thanks to both setter and Mr K.

  4. I’m not sure if this is a Jay puzzle. Benevolent if it is. */**** It has his hallmarks in so far as the clues are very workable from beginning to end. Short lived but entertaining. Favourite 13d. Thanks to all.

  5. Easiest puzzle since I started doing the Telegraph seriously by taking out a subscription. Liked 22a but nothing stood out but that I could finish a cryptic without feeling stupid.

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  6. I enjoyed this, even though I thought it was an easy solve. Much more to my liking than yesterdays puzzle.

  7. Another delight from our Tuesday setter. I managed to finish in good time and without help so feeling quite chuffed. I thought the reverse lurker at 21a was well hidden. Even after I had the answer, I could not see it. There was a neat way of cluing the oft used 5d but my COTD is 13d.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to Mr. K. for the amusing hints.

  8. Ten across is a belter. Those who have used this blog to gather information on how to actually solve clues will have romped through this puzzle. Every clue is a little recipe for success. Thanks to the setter for a gentle workout and to Mr Kitty. It’s snowing for real here in Barrel. Big chunky flakes of real snow. Lovely

    1. I must have overlooked 10a when I wrote my comment. You are right; it is an absolute gem of a clue.

      1. I think we should put MP’s avatar to the vote!

        Should he keep them on?

        Should he take them off?

        Vote now!

    2. It wasn’t snowing in Ashby Parva when I set off at 9 o’clock but 10 minutes later it was chucking it down in Whetstone Pastures.

  9. Very straightforward & maybe over a bit too soon to be fully satisfying. A perfect Quiptic.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K for his entertaining reviews throughout the year.

  10. Nothing too taxing and completed in good time. Thank goodness this year is very nearly over and the vaccine is round the corner. Do think it a bit rich of Prue Leith to have the vaccine (on the NHS) and then say it should not be prioritised for over 80’s. Perhaps she will donate her second jab to a more deserving person. I’m not holding my soggy bottom though.

  11. Nothing to add really it was very straightforward (*/***) and quite enjoyable and there were a few clues that have been seen before. 19d and 5d were the best clues for my money and I enjoyed the anagrams. Thanks to Mr K, I liked the cartoon of the pet committeecconspiring to keep their owners home with Covid. Thanks too to the compiler.

  12. 0.5*/2.5*. Very light but pleasant with 10a my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  13. A nice easy puzzle, so plenty of time to sit and watch the snow come down……………………aaahh!

  14. Not much to add here. Very pleasant and over in a jiffy. */***
    Another anagram variant of 5d to add to the list!
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter, and season’s greetings to them.

  15. I’m sure many of you know that ‘carthorse’ is an anagram of 5d but I recently spotted that appropriately ‘chest roar’ is too.

  16. Nothing much to frighten us today, thouroughly enjoyable. I always like anagrams they help me get a foothold, well in most cases.
    Favourite 10a and 5 down. I look firward to a better year than this one. Best wishes to you all for a Happy and Safe New Year.

    1. Try the Dada in today’s Toughie Ray – a tad harder than his Sunday prize one, but really enjoyable and entertaining if you feel ‘cheated’ by this ‘un.

          1. Sorry, but my comment was not intendsed as a boast – maybe I’ll refrain from making comment in future :-(

            1. Not you, I meant RayS! Oh, Shropshirebloke, please don’t take umbrage, I didn’t mean you! Please say you understand and love me still, oh dear, oh dear!

  17. Definitely a 1d with the exception of finding the well hidden 21a. Set me up nicely for the rocky ride with Dada in the Toughie.
    10a and the Quickie pun made me laugh so those get my votes today.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for his final blog of 2020 – hopefully the New Year will be happier for all of us.

  18. I realise this puzzle was too easy for many but I enjoyed it bigly (as Mr Trump tends to say) as it was right at my level.

    Lola has continued to wheeze and sniffle so she has an appointment with the vet late this afternoon. Seeing her at less than 100% is very upsetting (though she is eating reasonably, and isn’t too distressed).

    Today’s soundtrack: Al Green – Let’s Stay Together (superb album from 1972)

    Thanks to the setter and the celebrated Mr K.

    1. I hope Lola gats on okay at the vet, Terence and that he or she sorts her out. It is never nice seeing our pets suffering.

    2. Hope Lola soon recovers, Terence – she should do, given all the loving attention that’s lavished upon her!

    3. Nothing from you about Lola, Terrance. I hope all is well. Hudson sends her get well messages.

        1. Talking of poorly pets, LROK said Biggles was under the weather and we haven’t heard from him today. I hope Biggles is okay.

  19. Straightforward but very enjoyable nonetheless 😃 **/*** Favourites 13 & 19d Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗

  20. Definitely a coffee time puzzle. All solved without a problem. It may have been a bit too simple for some, but I enjoyed it for what it was. I may even print it off again and go through it with my husband who just comments that he can’t do cryptics. I do think that he could manage this one. We all have to start somewhere. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty. 9a and 10a were my favourites. If we have a crossword on New Year’s Day, I hope that it is similar to this one.

    1. Good point Florence. It is important to remember how difficult cryptics seemed when we first came across them. For newbies to crossword land this is great.

      1. When I first looked at the DT backpager back in the early 1970’s when I joined the RAF, it was a total riddle. I had no idea what I was doing. Over the years, I became better but never good enough to finish unaided. This situation continued for decades. I loved tackling the puzzles but had resigned myself to never being able to finish one on my own.

        That all changed a few years ago when I found this blog. I now solve quite a few because of what the blog has taught me.

        As a one time time struggler, I welcome a puzzle such as today’s that gives a boost to those new to cryptics.

  21. Thankfully, very straightforward and enjoyable, which allowed plenty of time on my Monday evening for the second Dada Toughie in three days, completed at a fast gallop – 1.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 13d, 15d, and 19d – and the winner is 19d for the ‘talk foolishly.’
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  22. Very nice, high satisfaction level. Good to see another working of 5d and 13d made me laugh. Thanks to Mr Ron and Mr K for this and the past 12 months.I hope Terence gets Lola sorted out. Do I go for a walk? I went yesterday but was freezing and it is even colder today. Sarah was out for a two hour walk with her schnauzers this morning but I suspect she was moving much faster than I do!

    1. Wrap up well Daisy. Top temperature is 37 F in the Vale of White Horse today so hat, mittens and scarf came in handy. It was bracing and restorative after all the rich food.

  23. When there’s nothing more to be said, one may as well start quoting from Ulysses; “Stately plump Buck Mulligan….” Oh, all right: I’ll behave. Good fun, this puzzle. Finished in a flash. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. * / ***

    Great Toughie-Floughie too.

    1. That Toughie bore about as much resemblance to Floughiness as The Donald did to effective government………

      1. Sometimes, you just get lucky, or the stars align just right for you. That’s why I compromised with toughie-floughie. I knew the desert, the Fieldingesque type of travelling ‘hero’, the fly, etc. I couldn’t believe my luck. As Molly Bloom keeps saying, “YES”!

        1. Meant to ask Robert. How many of the 13 writers in Chalicea’s NTSPP had you read ? A mere 4 for me.

          1. I just now went back to check: Nine that I can remember–Hardy, Crane (Hart and Stephen), Browning, London, Twain, Peacock, West (Nathanael), Pater, More (a smidgen of Utopia)…and ten if I count George Sand in translation 60+ years ago, probably. Who are the others?

              1. Aha, that would be Philip Pullman, I guess. I don’t knowingly read fantasies–stopped doing so after LOTR–but that doesn’t rule out Magic Realism; there’s a huge difference.

  24. Back ‘State-side’ now and in jet lag recovery mode. Enjoyed this one – first in a long time where I didn’t need assistance from this fine site (probably means it was too simple for most!) 😜

  25. It was straightforward enough until I got stumped on the last two. I’d probably have got Pirate if I’d stared at it long enough but I got 22d wrong, Tides instead of Tidal so…. no hope of getting the final clue. I’m pretty sure I’d have got Lenient if I’d got Tidal correctly. Thought the reference to Eric Idle was fun, though not a fan of Python. When I first looked at the clue I thought ‘I’m never going to get this’. Reminds me of yesterday’s Cato where some knowledge of popular culture is helpful.

  26. Nice to have straightforward clues for a change in this difficult time. So enjoyed it and feel satisfied even if some said to easy

    1. Welcome, Veronica and don’t worry about those who say it is too easy. We all know those who find a puzzle hard will see others saying it is a doddle. There are days I sail through while others don’t and the opposite is equally true.

      Your thoughts and comments are most welcome.

  27. I cannot agree with anyone who says this was too easy to be enjoyable. They seem to be missing something. I agree this was easy if you know all tricks of the cryptic crossword and some were well-known. However some were a new witty take on the familiar with craftily selected wordplay. It should appeal to solvers of all levels. However this is my personal opinion and I do not presume to belittle it or destroy the confidence of those who struggle to complete without aids. My favourites are 11 18 and 22a and 15d. Thank you setter and Mr K.

  28. My quickest solve which isn’t surprising given all the comments above. Last one in was 24d which I hadn’t noticed I had left undone. Without any other letters in I might have scratched my head a bit on that one with the reptilian misdirect. All extremely pleasant. */***

  29. Nice gentle puzzle for Tuesday that presented no real troublesome issues. */*****
    A couple of head scratching moments were to be had as well as a couple of PDM’s also. Solved basically top to bottom.
    This one required no hints, so that is always a good solve. COTD candidates include 22a, 27a, 3d, 7d & 24d with 24d the winner.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

    1. Sorry, portcoquitlambc but what is a PDM?

      The spell checker wanted me to call you Porto quit lamb chops! 🤣

  30. Very enjoyable puzzle for me….missed the lurker at 21a so was puzzled about the parsing until Mr K came along.
    Note to self…..do not forget the advice that if all else fails look for a lurker.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K

    Cold and sharp with some lovely sunshine here in Dundee. No snow, but we did have sleety rain last night.

  31. Bit like sex, this, fun while it lasted.
    It was certainly well crafted, but a quick finish.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr.K, appreciate all your blogging efforts over the year.

  32. What a lovely puzzle. It’s so rewarding to get one you can do unaided. Every clue could be solved with a little thought. And there is a Toughie today for those who need a bit more of a mind stretcher. Had a good chuckle at 24d. I agree with Terence, enjoyed this very much. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  33. No problems today – I think it’s good to have a straightforward one sometimes to encourage beginners.
    So, in the absence of anything else to say, I’ll just report that I saw a kingfisher when out for a walk with a friend this morning – only the second time I’ve ever seen one.
    Thanks to the setter, whoever he or she may be, and to Mr K.
    Having read BD’s introduction to the Toughie hints, and what people have said about it here, I think I’m probably best steering well clear.

    1. We are lucky to have kingfishers here. I used to see kingfishers and brown trout on my commute to the office (a riverside walk).

    2. I saw my one and only kingfisher in Bath when I took a guided tour on the Avon, and the pilot-guide yelled, “Ah, there’s a kingfisher!” and I actually saw it. Started quoting G M Hopkins’s ‘As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame.” It was a magical experience, Kath.

      1. How strange I saw my one and only kingfisher while I was walking with a friend along the river after a guided tour on the Avon near Bathampton as I remember. It was a truly magical moment that I’ll never forget.
        Also a most enjoyable crossword as there was mounting excitement from me as my answers went in without extra help. Whoopee! Thanks to the setter and Mr K , whose comments I enjoyed afterwards.

    3. I have seen many kingfishers on the river Severn at Montford Bridge near Shrewsbury. If you wait long enough the flash of colour goes by. They are beautiful birds.

  34. I agree with Miffypops – this is a great puzzle for people who have honed their skills on this blog. Just tricky enough to get satisfaction from doing it and easy enough to understand all the answers. */****

  35. The curse of the working classes brings me here After the Lord Mayors show.
    Yes it was pretty easy but still fun. 20d had me looking for a reverse lurker for a while until the penny dropped,
    Some old chestnuts with a new twist – 5d
    14a comes up a lot and I don’t even have to check the fodder these days.
    Ten across is a belter of a clue and new to me – I expect when the setter found that anagram he built the rest of the puzzle around it.
    Thanks to the setter and especially to Mr K – The cartoons got a real laugh out loud moment from me.

  36. Straightforward but enjoyable solve.
    19d did put a fight though as I was looking for a marine mammal at first.
    Favourite 10a also.
    Thanks to the setter and his usual Tuesday grid and thanks muchly to Mr K for another year of reviews.

  37. I don’t comment very often, but when you rarely finish unaided and manage to, well you just have to party 🎉🥂
    Thanks to everyone, I may not comment often but I always read the comments and enjoy the banter very much.

  38. Well I never, wotta treat, I loved it! A whole crossword solved without any help, not even the dictionary.
    I have to go with 10a as fave, yes, M’Pops, a belter for sure, but there were so many others that amused.
    Thanks to our setter, she’s done a splendid job, and to Mr. K for the hints and pics, especially 5a, you’re a star.
    I noted the 24d Python clip. You might be interested in an article in our Herald yesterday that a lady chef python hunter caught a female full of eggs, she made biscuits with the eggs! Presumably harvested in utero!

      1. I wonder how they turned out.

        Sorry all, I forgot to wish everyone a very good new year, a lot better than this one!

  39. I’m in the “difficult doesn’t = enjoyable and vice versa” camp this evening. Hard to pick a favourite but I’m going for 10a. Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  40. Thank you to Mr K for the rating and early commenters: I didn’t think I had time for a crossword yesterday, but those gave me confidence I could squeeze it in before bedtime.

    I still needed Mr K’s explanations for a couple, and I didn’t know the word for talking foolishly. My favourite was the hidden Python. Thank you to the setter.

  41. 24 d
    ALSO the programming language Python has an Integrated Development and Learning Environment
    That’s how I got it!

  42. Of course you are right. What else could it be? What’s more the hint confirms it if you click on python.

Comments are closed.