DT 29564 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29564

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29564

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and Happy New Year.  When it comes to Tuesday crosswords, 2021 has picked up where 2020 left off. This week's offering was another single pass solve, with well-crafted clues again boosting the enjoyment factor. I do hope that our compiler drops in later. 

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    Rat keeping tense and upright (8)
STANDING:  Rat or grass containing (keeping) both the single letter for grammatical tense and AND from the clue. These robots can do more than just stay upright …

5a    Gave a smack to child, entertaining sister, oddly (6)
KISSED:  An informal word for a child containing (entertaining) the odd letters of SISTER 

10a   Unfortunately scratchier cat is making marks (15)
CHARACTERISTICS:  An anagram (unfortunately) of SCRATCHIER CAT IS. Many cats have a thing about toilet paper. Most are content with clawing it into little pieces. But this cat is different …  

11a   English soldiers retreated -- that is beginning to suggest foes (7)
ENEMIES:  Concatenate the single letter for English, the reversal (retreated) of another word for soldiers, the Latin abbreviation for "that is", and the first letter of (beginning to) SUGGEST 

12a   Complaint from this writer as the French succeeded (7)
MEASLES:  Link together a pronoun that the setter would use for themselves, AS from the clue, "the" in French, and the single letter abbreviation for succeeded 

13a   Tinker gets old emails? (8)
MESSAGES:  Tinker or play is followed by a verb meaning "gets old" 

15a   Peter Sellers keeps to the point (5)
TERSE:  The word pair at the start of the clue hides (keeps) the answer 

18a   Problem  children (5)
ISSUE:  A straightforward double definition 

20a   Lady's nude dancing -- all's initially removed in two shakes (8)
SUDDENLY:  An anagram (dancing) of LADY'S NUDE with the initial letter of ALL deleted (removed

23a   Raised plain coat and a uniform (7)
PLATEAU:  Join together coat with a thin film of metal, A from the clue, and the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by uniform 

25a   Concert -- almost remember about it (7)
RECITAL:  All but the last letter (almost) of a synonym of remember containing (about) IT from the clue 

26a   Stripteaser even excited congressmen? (15)

27a   Son caught hospital department's smells (6)
SCENTS:  Assemble the genealogical abbreviation for son, the cricket abbreviation for caught, and a usual hospital department with its S from the clue 

28a   Fists cutting head after prisoner's lies (8)
CONSISTS:  All but the first letter (cutting head) of FISTS comes after a usual prisoner with their S from the clue 



1d    Wine editor's fired (6)
SACKED:  A usual dry white wine is followed by the abbreviation for editor 

2d    Answer sage prepared lacking good understanding (9)
AWARENESS:  An anagram (prepared) of ANSWER SAGE minus (lacking) the single letter for good 

3d    I sign under 500 books (7)
DIARIES:  I from the clue and a sign of the zodiac both come after (under, in a down clue) the Roman numeral for 500 

4d    Observes absence of publication for teachers? (5)
NOTES:  The answer split (2,3) could indicate absence of a publication for teachers 

6d    Minute, hot insect under stone (7)
INSTANT:  Chain together hot or fashionable, the abbreviation for stone, and a worker insect 

7d    Almost foolish to wrap king's gift (5)
SKILL:  All but the last letter (almost) of foolish or daft containing (to wrap) the chess abbreviation for king 

8d    Daughter is sitting on plant -- catastrophe! (8)
DISASTER:  Glue together the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, IS from the clue, and a plant that flowers in late summer and autumn 

9d    College dance is on 4th of June, head of department guaranteed (8)
PROMISED:  Put together an (American) high school or college formal dance, IS from the clue, the 4th letter of JUNE, and the first letter of (head of) DEPARTMENT 

14d   Motions get users worried (8)
GESTURES:  An anagram (worried) of GET USERS 

16d   Flexible versatile folk (9)
RELATIVES:  An anagram (flexible) of VERSATILE 

17d   Where one might find holidaymakers bearing drinks (8)
AIRPORTS:  Bearing or manner with some fortified wine drinks

The Queenstown cricket ground is next to the airport

19d   European allowed to hug blokes for a bit (7)
ELEMENT:  The single letter for European with allowed or permitted containing (to hug) some blokes or chaps 

21d   Former lover refers to tickles (7)
EXCITES:  A usual former lover with a verb meaning "refers to" 

22d   Conservative fails to win contracts (6)
CLOSES:  The single letter for Conservative with a verb meaning "fails to win" 

24d   A very soft, large, eastern fruit (5)
APPLE:  Amalgamate A from the clue, the musical abbreviation for very soft, the clothing abbreviation for large, and the single letter for eastern

25d   Relation's allowance cut (5)
RATIO:  An allowance or allocation minus its last letter (cut


Thanks to today’s setter. I liked 17d, but the top clue for me was of course 10a. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  BOK + SIN + WRING = BOXING RING

102 comments on “DT 29564

  1. This was most enjoyable and I completed it having only used electronic help twice. The two clues I needed the help for were 1a and 17d both of which I stared at for ages with nothing happening in the brain circuits. I kicked myself when I discovered the answers. I have no real COTD but I did like 5a and 13a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K. for the hints and Tuesday cats.

      1. When I first read it, I expected 17d to be a cryptic definition. It took a little pondering to twig that it was actually a charade.

        1. I got 17d quite quickly but only because I thought the whole thing was a cryptic, with ‘bearing drinks’ referring to Duty Free or to the 9am champagne drinkers. Which probably says too much about my travelling habits…

          1. You could be right, Lorna. Not having been in such a terminal for ages my brain circuits refused to connect.

      2. I think what threw me, Merusa was “rat” in 1a. The connection with “sing” completely eluded me.

  2. I thought this was excellent, free of obscurities, any difficulty coming from the very clever word play. I do hope the setter claims it.
    1a was out ‘standing’ as were 28a and 17d. I also particularly liked 23&25a.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  3. A very straightforward and uncomplicated puzzle for a Tuesday. Nothing obscure and little or no GK made this one of the easiest cryptics for some time. 17d was my final entry and favourite.

    Many thanks to both Misters.

  4. A gentle trot through. */*** 17d was my last one in which gave me a short pause for thought. Nothing obscure or too taxing. The long anagrams jumped out at me so they helped to fill in the rest. 9d favourite today. Thanks to all.

  5. That was a straight run through, but enjoyable nonetheless. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty. I loved the pic at 8d. I have to wait in all day for a TV man who agreed to turn up between 8.00am and 5.00pm. Shame I have to wait in all day when I could be doing so many other things.

  6. All done in, for me, good time (about *****).
    I couldn’t see 1a (does sanding mean to rat or grass?) and then I saw the second ‘and’ in the hint and kicked myself. Still not sure that lies and the answer to 28a are synonyms.
    My favourite was 9d.
    Thanks, as ever, for the explanations.

    1. Gansosalvaje, I wasn’t sure about 28a at first but the answer is listed in the BRB under the second group of meanings for “lie”.

            1. The SOED also gives among its examples a quote from Iris Murdoch: Part of my unease about my cousin consisted in a fear that he would succeed in life and I would fail.

              It’s interesting that the same definition-answer pairing was used in DT 29427. That puzzle also used TES and the Roman 500 as ingredients in answers.

  7. So happy I managed this all by myself and in around ******** even if it is only rated 1* I thoroughly enjoyed. I have been using your site for some time now to hone my solving skills and they have definitely improved thanks to you all :)
    By the way what do the * ratings signify in terms of time taken?

    1. Hi, Adrienne. Different bloggers have different ways of assigning difficulty stars. I aim to use 3* for a puzzle I judge to be of average back-page difficulty, with 2* and 1* being somewhat and considerably more straightforward respectively. Similarly for 4* and 5*.

      I did a survey of the BD community once and found that the median solving time on a back-pager of average difficulty is around ********.

      1. I thought the protocol on this site was that we did not give solving times so as not to put off the less experienced and to prevent bragging.

        1. I agree. Several postings are referring to solve times. This goes against the protocol set out by Big Dave. If people want to brag about how quickly they can solve the puzzle they can use the **** system. Some of us enjoy taking time over ******* to complete the puzzle. It shouldn’t be seen as a race

          1. Thanks all and agree certainly for a novice like me it’s about the enjoyment and sense of achievement

    2. Personally, I never use the star rating. One person’s *** could be another’s *. For me, it is too arbitrary and tries to define the undefinable. I prefer Senf’s galloping horse. It gives a sense of speed that can only be interpreted by the reader.

  8. I, too, had most of this completed on the first pass, with just four outstanding. The parsing of 1a had me fooled, doh! More tea required. I did mark 28a as an ‘umm’ for the stretched synonym.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  9. I’m new to cryptics and have struggled for 6 mths often using BD to assist. Often crestfallen when I see that your ratings for difficulty are low although always enjoyable. Rarely finishing…….until today🍷🍷🍾. A real ‘pick me up’ in these distressing times
    OK, I used the web to assist on a couple of anagrams but that does not diminish my personal success. As for you, many thanks for the guidance
    I now feel ready for the crushing demoralisation as the weeks offerings unfold

    1. 🥳 Congratulations Memphisg. There will be a few lows but the trend should be upwards. We’ve all been there.

    2. Fantastic, Memphisg! Don’t fret about using the web when you’re starting out. It’s a learning curve and we have all climbed it. Some have reached the dizzy heights but most of us are fair to middling. Please stick with the blog. I did and my solving skills have come on in leaps and bounds. I even finished the Toughie today unaided (almost).
      As for “crushing demoralisation” there is no such thing. You can solve a puzzle or you can’t and that’s it. It is, after all, just a puzzle. What I would say is you will learn more from the puzzles you don’t solve than those you do.

      Please let us know how you are getting on.

      1. Absolutely true about learning more from the puzzles you don’t solve, I’m finding out the truth of that. And this blog has given me confidence in trying to work out an answer, whereas previously I’d sort of mentally throw words around until one of them stuck!
        Great work, Memphisg – and I always think of the difficulty rating as compared to my own average, so a one star gallop for me might be longer than someone else expects to spend on a ***.

    3. Congratulations, Memphisg, and thanks for sharing your experience with the puzzle. As Chriscross says above, we have all been where you are now, and we all improved with the help of resources such as this website.

      The star ratings are a feature of the site. I use them to give readers my assessment of whether the puzzle was more or less difficult than the average back-pager. But it is of course a subjective rating that should not be taken too seriously.

  10. 1.5*/3.5*. This was light but fun with 17d my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K. I loved the video accompanying 10a.

  11. Very enjoyable and straightforward crossword, just right to lift the gloom and doom of starting another lockdown!

    Managed without digital help apart from the long anagrams, I don’t have the time to spend on those and always go straight to Chambers online for the solution once I have worked out what letters are involved.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

      1. Well, not mentally, I have to write out the letters, but the answers certainly jumped out at me.

        1. just a poorly schooled orphan child Angelov. Always wrote out anagrams until the iPads arrived and Saint Sharon wouldn’t fetch me a notepad and pencil. I had no choice

          1. That’s not what I call solving “mentally” especially when in the past you have poured scorn on we lesser mortals who write the letters down in a circle.

    1. Write the parts of the anagram out, but in a different order. Otherwise you just see the words. Very often, once jumbled up, the answer jumps out at you.

  12. Very straightforward, but no less enjoyable for that. 17d was my LOI and favourite. */****
    I didn’t manage to parse 4d – had to check Mr. K’S, er, notes, for that one!
    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  13. Got notes but had to look here for explanation and I an ex-teacher but 32 years ago. Brain still working at 91!

  14. No problem finding this wavelength and then off to a good start with unravelling of 10a and 26a. West slightly more tricky than East. Needed help to parse 1a. Scottish expression guided me to 16d. 1d Fav. Altogether a lot of fun – thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  15. Good puzzle with no difficulties that couldn’t be solved by using the checkers. I especially liked 15a for its simplicity rather like the man himself in the awfully pretentious Being There.

    Thank your Mr K for parsing the odd two or three which seemed correct but needed a ‘why?’ And many thanks to the setter for such a wonderful puzzle.

  16. As Greta has also mentioned, the proliferation of relatively anagrams oiled a swift despatch of the rest of the clues. Very pleased with myself and all ready to give a */*** rating when I was staggered to see from Mr K’s hints that I had got 1a and 4d incorrect. Bah. That will teach me to be hasty. Revised rating must I suppose therefore be **/*** although I did find it easy. I used to do this decades ago in exams (remember them?) when I was always racing to finish first and usually made a gaffe or two.

  17. All went well apart from having forgotten the required supplement to parse 4d and carelessly writing the answer to 19d in the space for 21d.
    1a probably gets my vote today with a nod to 17d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for another delightful review – the robots in white suits were scarily realistic and the 24d fruit really made me laugh.

  18. Perhaps I’m missing something because this one didn’t really do it for me or probably I’m just grouchy because today’s planned golf is no longer on the menu. All very straightforward although, like MalcolmR, I missed the parsing of 1a & also didn’t overly care for 28a. The 15 letter anagrams at 10&26a were the first 2 in which helped a swift solve & I did like the 15a lurker.
    With thanks to the setter & to Mr K – the clip of cat with the loo roll was great.

    1. Can still play golf in Scotland while here in Wales we’ve been deprived for weeks. Got to love the consistency. Af least my crossword skills are being tested more.

  19. Not difficult but I thought 1a, 3d, 28a and 6d were awful clues. The synonyms really didn’t work for me at all.
    No favourites today.
    Thx for the hints

  20. I couldn’t give myself an A*, because, like SteveC I stared at 17d for tooooo long.

    The answer to a crossword clue lies (consists) in filling in all the boxes.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr Kitty – that video at 1a has now been sent to everyone I know – it’s a great anti-depressant. Some people are very clever…..

  21. Almost a Monday puzzle on a Tuesday but as enjoyable as ever completed at a fast gallop – **/****.
    A hmm over the American term (as indicated by Mr K and the BRB, but not RD) in 9d.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 23a – and the winner is 23a.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Our schoolchildren have adopted the word for their end of primary education celebrations now. At least, in Kent they have.

  22. I did this very fast but really enjoyed the well constructed clues. Last one in 28 a. The two long anagrams were clever, especially 26a although a striptease is the last thing US Congress needs. COTD 5a sweet and clever. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  23. Very enjoyable **/*** 😃 Favourites 12a, 3 & 17d Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter 🤗 Still snowing I see ❄️

  24. Just to say the Toughie by Chalicea is quite benign. For those who don’t usually look at the Toughie, it’s worth a visit.

    1. Posting at 5am this morning Steve ? Clearly lack of sleep has done wonders for your crossword solving. I found Chalicea pretty tough.

      1. I had a good night’s sleep, Huntsman but was wide awake at 5am so I got up, woke Hudson who was happy to spend extra time with his lord and master and made toast and coffee.

        I find trying to go back to sleep when the brain and body clearly do not wish to is futile. Anyway, I had two essays to give feedback on and early morning is a great time to do it.

        Sorry you found Chalicea tough. It just goes to show that it is about mindset. Maybe I should get up at 5am every day?

  25. I really enjoyed this. Looks to me that it could be from Navy.
    Nice touch of humour in 26a and 19d.
    Thanks for the fun and to Mr K for the review.

  26. Very enjoyable – uncomplicated, which is just the right level for me.

    H recovering well; Lola less so – a return visit to the vet seems increasingly likely.

    Today’s soundtrack: Boz Scaggs – Boz Scaggs (self-titled album). Suggested by Huntsman; previously unheard by me, and a lovely discovery.

    Thanks to the setter and the celebrated Mr K.

    1. Good news about H, Terence, but not so good where Lola is concerned. Probably best for the vet to take another look at her if only to assess whether the antibiotics have made any difference.

    2. I’m so glad H is doing well but sad news of Lola. I don’t know if she’s anything like my Phoebe, she hates the cat carrier and I hesitate to take her in the car.

      1. I’ve never met a cat that enjoyed being in a carrier. Mine used to yowl like he was dying until released from the carrier so he could look out the car windows at the world going by.

    3. Hi, Terence. Best wishes to you and to Lola for a speedy recovery. Does she know how many fans she has here?

      1. We had a cat who loved the car. I found out when I set off for town and braked at the main road junction. Cat slid off the roof, down the windscreen and lay on the bonnet. I was horrified but all Springsteen would say is “I meant to do that”.

        I got out to rescue him but before I could get to him he jumped from the bonnet, dived through the open car door and lay down on the dashboard. He remained there, fast asleep, for the whole journey.

        After that, whenever I turned the key in the ignition, Springsteen would appear as if by magic.

        I’m a dog man but I do know the delight of cats.

        I sincerely hope Lola recovers and it is apparent that no effort is being spared.

        Lola is, after all, the blog’s cat.

  27. Gentle if a bit bland, I thought. Still, enjoyable. Started at the bottom, ended at the top, and needed Mr K to parse the second part of 4d, which I was not familiar with, though I should be. Favourites: 17d and 1a. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. 1.5* / ***

    Gentle and very enjoyable Toughie, not bland at all.

    1. Thought it was just me. Chalicea much better though making unnecessarily hard work of it

  28. Agree with Mr K ‘s */***, enjoyable well clued puzzle over in a flash.
    28a was a new synonym for me, confirmed in Chambers.
    Favourite was 16d concisely clued.
    Thanks to Mr K liked the 22d pic -and the setter.
    Well constructed Quickie clue.
    Agree with Robert Clerk re today;s Toughie, well worth the effort.

  29. Well I agree with almost everything so far – the complimentary bits anyway! Two nice long anagrams right up my boulevard and then everything fell into place except for 5a where I was looking for a smack rather than a smacker.
    I am all for giving pets toys to play with but I couldn’t help thinking what a terrible waste of paper that was – a cat would have been just as happy with one roll of loo paper. Grandma Angus speaking here.

  30. Rediscovered my love of DT cryptic crosswords in November lockdown. Whizzed through this one over lunch (which is fast for me!) but got stuck on 17d.. glad I wasn’t alone.

    Thanks to all the daily bloggers, they’ve really helped me fine tune my solving skills.

  31. Do as you are told and all will be revealed. A lovely puzzle for boosting confidence. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty.

  32. Brilliant! Solved in record time for me without the usual electronic assistance or Mr K’s fine hints!
    I do agree with others that it wasn’t the most challenging (clearly if I can manage it swiftly…) but sometimes it’s nice to get the confidence booster that the grey matter still works…occasionally!
    As always, thanks to the setter and Mr K for the hints. Cheers!

  33. Enjoyable Tuesday crossword **/****. Looking forward to enjoying a 17d experience myself as and when I can! Fav for me 23a.
    Thx to setter and Mr K.

  34. I found this tougher than yesterday’s. I had 15a but didn’t know why – did not spot the lurker. My bad. 17d last to go in and your hint gave it away. Should have got that. Everything else was correct, with no electronic helper to hand!

  35. Late on parade today and nothing to add. It was straightforward but there was some nice misdirection and the two long anagrams at 10 and 26a were great. I enjoyed 9d. I agree with Jean-Luc that it felt like Navy. Altogether a very enjoyable puzzle (1.5*/4*) and I’m glad it wasn’t a marathon as I had an awful lot of other things to do and stopped mid-walk to chat (or shout) with my neighbour from the footpath, who is a widow in her high 70’s, living alone. Thanks to MrK and the compiler.

  36. I was also stuck on 17d for ages but a lovely puzzle though. Thanks to all. I hope Terence’s cat gets better. My last cat ended up at the Small Animal Hospital outside Newmarket as she got thinner and thinner. As she hated the car we left her there overnight rather than make the journey twice for her. Turned out she was allergic to cat food. The bill came to £1700! £700 of that was for the overnight stay.

  37. A nice steady solve today with this */**** puzzle. One hint required only today and that was my own foolishness that prompted looking at it. Several nice clues including 11a, 12a, 23a, 1d & 3d with winner 1d and runner up 11a

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  38. Super blog Mr K, one of my favourites. And thanks to Ganosalvaje for asking the question about 28a — it’s always good to come here and learn something. Enjoyed this puzzle a lot, gratitude to our mystery setter.

  39. Agreed, very friendly but, oh, what fun that was. I hang my head in shame that I needed e-help for two, 1a and 17d, but need to do my grocery order today, I like to follow my shopper to make sure she doesn’t sub rubbish!
    I think fave is 23a, or 5a, spoilt for choice.
    Thank you setter, short and sweet, and to Mr. Kitty for the hints and pics. Loved the cat room, my Ginger would love that.
    Dammit, it’s cold here, plays havoc with my hands and feet, I’ll have to turn the heat on.

  40. I’m thinking of VancouverBC and hoping he’s doing well. I imagine it’ll take some time before he’s able to join us again. Here’s wishing good karma!

      1. He had heart surgery for a CABG … not something one has and snaps back into normal life immediately!

        1. Oh my gosh! Very sorry to hear about that. I’d like to message him my good wishes but I guess I can only do it on here. Seeing as we live in the same area of BC, seems crazy. Wonder which hospital he is in.
          Thanks for letting me know the situation though and if you happen to hear any updates, I’d appreciate hearing.

  41. I’m in the “no real difficulties, but if I gave ratings it wouldn’t have been *” camp this evening. Enjoyable nevertheless. I can’t help thinking the way things are going, 2020 is going feel like a bit of a breeze, enough of that. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  42. Found this one almost as enjoyable as yesterday, with a few strange clues that didn’t gel for me. 26a jumped off the page being very topical for us lot over here. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

      1. Morning from sunny Brisbane. Queenstown cricket ground (17a) is one of, if not, the most picturesque and spectacular grounds in the world. Plenty of dropped catches by visiting teams as they are admiring the scenery rather than the play. Anyway, I think we’re being lulled into a false sense of security with these ‘entry level’ offerings. As mentioned above, no less enjoyable though. This year’s are good examples for friends and family who want to get into cryptics, simple but well constructed clues. But will that fiend RayT have something more challenging this Thursday? 😈😜. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the extras and clips. . 🦇

  43. One of the easiest crosswords I’ve done in a long time in terms of speed of solving except for 2d which it took me ages to solve despite having all the checkers. Very odd because when I got it it seemed completely obvious. Nice to have two crosswords in a row completed unaided although I preferred yesterday’s. */***

  44. Solved alone and unaided …haven’t done the patch for a while so hurrah!

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his review and his great pictures and clips.

    Very very cold tonight and the lifeboat is out again…and a helicopter. Yesterday’s kayaker has recovered from ‘slight hypothermia’ so let’s hope whoever they were looking for tonight has been found and is also recovering.

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