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DT 29600

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29600

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone. I felt today's offering was a step up in both difficulty and enjoyment. I finished the grid fill with a couple of answers still to be parsed, and both turned out to be fine examples of disguise and misdirection rather than complexity or obscurity. Just as it should be on a Tuesday. I'd be happy to blog more puzzles like this one. I do admire the willpower of compilers who are able to read all the comments on these pages about their handiwork and then say nothing in response. I hope that today's setter isn't like that.

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    Improvised  score (7)
SCRATCH:  A double definition to start.  The answer is one of those words beloved of setters which can be a transitive verb, an intransitive verb, a noun, or an adjective. Chambers tells me that it was at one time also used for the line in the ring up to which boxers were led to begin fighting, leading to the expression come up to scratch for a test or trial. Just one clue into this puzzle and I've learned something new. It's earning those enjoyment stars

5a    Rejects diamonds one store initially has (7)
DISOWNS:  Concatenate the playing card abbreviation for diamonds, the Roman one, the initial letter of STORE, and a synonym of has 


9a    Permitted to leave starter that's horrible (5)
AWFUL:  Permitted in a legal sense minus its first letter (to leave [behind] starter

10a   Hardworking animal in front of one couple and us (9)
ASSIDUOUS:  An animal that's a beast of burden comes before (in front of) the Roman one, a couple or pair, and US from the clue

A hardworking dog

11a   Retreats as a spider moves around quietly (10)
DISAPPEARS:  An anagram (… moves) of AS A SPIDER containing (about) the musical abbreviation for quietly or softly

12a   Country clubs with upbeat, odd characters only (4)
CUBA:  The playing card abbreviation for clubs with the odd characters of UPBEAT 

14a   Commotion after prisoners start to trash building (12)
CONSTRUCTION:  Place a commotion or ado after both some usual prisoners and the first letter of (start to) TRASH. I had a very similar answer in last Tuesday's puzzle. Some who remember that puzzle might be wondering about the probability of such repetition and whether it can be a coincidence when there are 50,000 possible answers in the English language. I worked out the probabilities in one of my early blogs, and it's higher than many would guess: any group of nine puzzles has a 50% probability of a repeated answer. It's effectively an example of the Birthday Paradox, the result that the probability of finding shared birthdays in a group of people is surprisingly high. Were any readers out there ever in a class where two pupils had the same birthday? 

18a   Rabbit from South Africa held by neophyte by one leg (12)
CONVERSATION:  The abbreviation for South Africa is inserted in (held by) a neophyte or newcomer and that's all followed by the Roman one and a cricket synonym of leg when its referring to one side of the pitch 


21a   Uproar following love for god (4)
ODIN:  An uproar or loud noise following the letter that looks like a love score in tennis 

22a   Hurricanes perhaps advanced over Naples -- worried? Not very (10)
AEROPLANES:  The single letter for advanced with an anagram (worried) of OVER NAPLES minus the single letter for very (not very).  The perhaps indicates that the definition is an example of the answer

25a   Ignored note and chose to swallow gallons (9)
NEGLECTED:  The single letter for note with chose or picked containing (to swallow) the single letter for gallons 

26a   Nothing sinister about tree (5)
OLIVE:  The letter representing nothing with the reversal (about) of sinister or very bad 

27a   Unhappy Democrat was the first charged (7)
SADDLED:  Link together unhappy or down, the single letter for Democrat, and "was the first" 

28a   Are spectators concealing esteem? (7)
RESPECT:  The first two words of the clue are hiding (concealing) the answer 



1d    Reticent to eat and drink (6)
SHANDY:  Reticent or reserved containing (to eat) AND from the clue 

A literary1d

2d    Rubbish match official regularly guesses (6)
REFUSE:  A match official, informally, with alternate letters (regularly) in GUESSES 

3d    Calls doctor then elopes (10)
TELEPHONES:  An anagram (doctor) of THEN ELOPES 

4d    Gasp she gave with leaders departing (5)
HEAVE:  SHE GAVE with the first letter in each word deleted (with leaders departing

5d    Turn one's back on sailor lifting soldier (6,3)
DESERT RAT:  "Turn one's back on" followed by (on, in a down clue) the reversal (lifting, in a down clue) of a usual sailor 

 Would a rodent fond of cupcakes be a dessert rat?

6d    Team groaned out loud (4)
SIDE:  A homophone (… out loud) of a synonym of groaned 

7d    Shrewdness to capture terrible hound? It could be a Sherlock Holmes case (8)
WHODUNIT:  Shrewdness or cleverness containing (to capture) an anagram (terrible) of HOUND

The book referenced by the clue

8d    Mark's following upset American bears (8)
SUSTAINS:  Cryptic crossword convention allows setters to insert extraneous punctuation in clues, and so sometimes one can ignore the apostrophes, dashes, full stops, etc. appearing in them. This is one of those times. Ignore the apostrophe and position some undesirable marks following the reversal (upset, in a down clue) of an abbreviation for American

13d   Invalid so blotchy, so optometrist finally abandoned pupils (10)
SCHOOLBOYS:  An anagram (invalid) of SO BLOTCHY SO with the final letter for OPTOMETRIST deleted (abandoned

15d   Felt small craft cut speed (9)
SUSPECTED:  The clothing abbreviation for small with a well-disguised anagram (craft, read as an imperative) of CUT SPEED 

16d   A chapter includes stories (8)
ACCOUNTS:  Link together A from the clue, an abbreviation for chapter, and includes or considers 

17d   What broken door might be -- off the wall! (8)
UNHINGED:  Off the wall or crazy is also one way in which a door might be broken 

A door that is literally unhinged

19d   Anger after hospital department's full (6)
ENTIRE:  A synonym of anger comes after a usual hospital department 

20d   A son exercises before court appearance (6)
ASPECT:  Assemble A from the clue, the genealogical abbreviation for son, some usual exercises, and the map abbreviation for court 

23d   Stranger's daughter in river (5)
ODDER:  The genealogical abbreviation for daughter inserted in a big European river 

24d   Orville Wright keeps up satisfactorily (4)
WELL:  The start of the clue contains the reversal (keeps up, in a down clue) of the answer 


Thanks to today’s setter. I admired the elegance of 1d and 15d, but my top clue has to be the clever 7d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  PEA + CAN + CHEWS = PICK AND CHOOSE

78 comments on “DT 29600

  1. COTD for me was 18a which was quite ingenious. A **/*** for me with some useful anagram fillers in to oil a relatively uneventful but pleasant puzzle. Thanks to Mr K and the setter whoever he or she may be.

  2. Despite a lot of clues involving the addition or subtraction of initial letters and some “innovative” surfaces I really enjoyed this quirky, inventive and fresh puzzle, I thought it was great.
    My only problem was parsing 15d, the anagram indicator fitting sublimely into the surface read, and taking a while to spot
    Crowded podium today, 18,22&26a plus1&7d all worthy contenders.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  3. An enjoyable accompaniment to Tuesday’s toast. Great fun with no thirteenth century Turkish rulers, or obscure Pacific islands, to test one’s resolve.

    Wait for this… due to the inexplicable nature of Lola’s condition, her samples were sent to a specialist laboratory in Germany at the end of last week, and it is hoped to have their analysis in the next day or two. In the meantime she carries on with life on a cushion.

    Today’s soundtrack: Talking Heads – Remain In Light.

    Thanks to the setter and the Celebrated Mr K.

    1. Good luck with Lola’s results, Terence, but perhaps don’t hold your breath for a result.
      My son lives in Norway. One of his cats, Frida, had a sample from a small lump sent also to a German lab and is still waiting after 10 days for any answer. (Cat seems OK thank goodness, so hopefully nothing awful found.)
      Maybe a different lab, though. Has Germany cornered the market in vet lab tests?

      1. Thanks Ora – we have just been told that bad weather conditions in Germany may delay the results!

        1. It’s good to know that the vet is leaving no stone unturned in trying to get to the bottom of this mystery! Poor little Lola. xx

  4. What a wonderfully fresh and rewarding puzzle. Lots of smooth surfaces, nothing obscure and some lovely misdirection. I think 18a has to be my COTD, although my list of ticks was impressively long.

    Thanks to both Misters.

  5. Sailed through leaving plenty of time for the toughie which wasn’t required as it’s also a very gentle solve. I agree with the plaudits for 18a although 1d tops my honours board. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  6. There were many similarities between today’s puzzle, yesterday’s and last Thursday’s. All three puzzles had a large number of straightforward clues, three or four that were quite challenging, areas of the grid that were quickly completed and regions of the grid, where it was hard to get a start. The northern half of today’s puzzle went in quickly and the south was more difficult, with the best clues. There was great misdirection in 18a, 22d and13d, but it was a shame that a few clues had rather cumbersome sentence structure. It was 2* for difficulty and 3.5* for enjoyment for me. Thanks to MrK for the hints and pictures and to the compiler.

  7. At first glance, I really wanted the answer to be armadillo! It doesn’t make any sense but it would interesting to see if any of our compilers can come up with a clue for the word. Quite a bit misdirection in this one. 7d was my last one in. I didn’t realise it was a proper word but I imagine it’s in the dictionary. 18a is my favourite today, it’s a very well constructed clue. **/*** Mr. K’s observation about ignoring punctuation could apply to 23d as well. Thanks to all.

    1. RayT gave us a good one for that one not long ago: Consumed by fear, mad illogical creature (9)

          1. I only remembered seeing the word and if you put it in the search this site box, you’ll get all the occurrences.
            There was another nice one: Creature roam around nibbling a herb (9).

  8. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. I usually find Tuesdays’ puzzles more satisfying than Mondays’ a d this one was certainly no exception…… I don’t know why , but there it is, as the late great Harry Worth used to say.
    Solved alone and unaided and understood all of the clues, so hurrah for me.

    Loved the pictures as usual.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    Bright and sunny here today. Much milder and almost all of the snow has disappeared.

  9. Since Christmas when I received a book of 200 telegraph crosswords I have abandoned books for crosswords which must mean something for i managed this with no help. 7d probably my favourite. Also takes my mind of football and cricket

    1. Crikey as a Spurs fan you need the distraction. It all looked so promising briefly – talk about a false dawn.

  10. A good, enjoyable work-out today.
    I’d agree with the ***/**** rating, mainly because it makes me feel good at managing to complete it unaided, in what I consider to be a decent time. :D

    15D one of the last ones in thanks to the very sneakily hidden anagram indicator, and a quick check on the definition of ‘neophyte’ to help parse 18A after I’d already bunged in the answer.

  11. I loved the misdirection in 22a. It completely fooled me as I looked at typhoons, tornadoes, tempests etc. The geographer in me coming out (although I retrained in maths). I had a great deal of satisfaction with this puzzle. Favourite clues were 18a, 1d and 7d. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty.

  12. Another fine example of a Tuesday puzzle, completed at a gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 27a, and 17d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    And, the Toughie is a ‘second back pager’ Floughie.

  13. 2.5*/4.5*. This was a nicely challenging and very enjoyable puzzle.

    I’m not 100% convinced that “includes” is synonymous with “counts” in 16d. Can someone out there provide an example where you can swap one for the other please? Also (as a bit of a rabbit expert!), I am not sure that you can use it as a noun in the sense of conversation, and the BRB seems to agree with me.

    With plenty of excellent clues to choose from, I’ll settle for 22a, 1d & 7d as my podium choices.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. Re 16d
      “Do your fees count/include everything or will there be extra to pay”
      Agree that rabbit is definitely more synonymous with the verb than noun but it was such a good clue!

      1. Thanks SL. I wouldn’t ever say “do your fees count everything…”, but I suppose some people might.

    2. RD
      I can only think something “count me in” means include me.
      Weak but the best I can do.

      1. Thanks LROK for a nice try, but in your example you are using “count .. in” not “count ..” to be synonymous with “include ..”

        1. I have heard the comment, “He/She’s got too much rabbit” to describe a person who talks too much, in the East End of my youth. I suppose the rabbit could be substituted for conversation, though it wouldn’t have the same impact.

  14. Slightly surprised at the review’s *** difficulty rating as I found this a quick solve & very straightforward though I will concede parsing a couple was a bit more challenging. It’s a shame the Guardian can’t get their act together & produce something like this in their so called Quiptic slot. Delightfully clued throughout with 1d plus 10&18a in the podium spots. Last in was 8d which accounted for 40% of ** time solve which was time it took to realise my careless iPad inputting had keyed in d instead of s as the 8d/10a checker.
    Think I prefer the cold to today’s rainy misery but looks like we’ve a sustained spell of decent weather on the way & a realistic prospect of being able to take a walk with some sticks & balls. Today’s albums: Tons of Sobs (Free) & Toulouse Street (Doobie Brothers).
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.
    Ps As Jonners said the Toughie really is just another back pager so we’ll worth a visit for those that maybe don’t usually bother.

    1. Quite agree about the quiptic, Huntsman.
      Just perused 225 for today’s puzzle that I did not start, just as well!

  15. Quite a bit of Lego work required in this one but still an enjoyable solve. Took a while to work out the 15d craft – nicely done – and my favourite was 1d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for the usual excellence of his review.

  16. A clear round in reasonable time over some delicious crepe-style pancakes. 1d and 18a were nicely crafted but 7d takes my COTD. Many thanks to Mr. K for the tips and to today’s setter for a great puzzle.

  17. Agree with Mr K’s *** as I found this tougher than the average Tuesday. Very enjoyable with no real problems.
    7d my COTD.
    Actually found the Toughie as accessable as this (with the exception of 2, as usual).
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for the usual well illustrated review.

  18. Tricky today but on the whole very fair. My only grouse is with 1a which was an 9a clue, clumsy and using a poor synonym in my opinion.
    Apart from that no great problems if you read the clues carefully. My fav was definitely 18a which was very clever.
    Shame about 1a which somewhat lessened my opinion of the puzzle as a whole.
    Thx to all

  19. I found this pretty tough I needed considerable help from the hints, 10a and 8d eluded me for some time, somit was down tomthe hints and reveal. Not my finest effort. Although I managed 22a quite easily. Favourite clue for me 18a.
    Thanks to MrK and setter.

  20. Hi I have just found your excellent websight and thought I would leave a comment about Todays DT Crossword.
    I found it relatively straightforward but scratched my head over 7D for a while.
    I’ll try the toughie later.

  21. My synapses were properly firing today, so completed in 1* time. Thought it a marvellous puzzle, though. I was smiling all the way through and took my invisible hat off several times to the setter with concise and simple clues, witty surface readings and some clever misdirection. 26 favourite across clue and 1 my favourite down clue. Thanks to all, as usual.

  22. If you are going to put gallons in the clue (25 across), then surely you either have gs or 2 gs!

  23. Fresh and inventive do seem to be the proper epithets for today’s clever and witty puzzle, which was thoroughly enjoyable. Its crypticity a study in felicity! Oh my. Podium-rich with 7d, 1d, 5d, 17d, 13d, and 22a. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. ** / ****

  24. I haven’t done today’s crossword, but for anybody who hasn’t seen yesterday’s Puzzles Newsletter, it reveals that last Tuesday’s puzzle was set by Anthony Plumb. Its 8d has been awarded Clue of the Week.

  25. Found this very tricky in places. Many falling quite easily and a quarter requiring hints to find the solution. So many thanks Mr K. Favourite today was 10a and I had no problems with 18 or 22a.

    Many thanks to the setter.

  26. An extended lunch because of pancake making but I agree with much that has been said about enjoyment and cleverness if the clues. But I struggled with 18a as I had it in my mind ( with the sporty sounding leg at the end) that a rabbit was a rather inferior sportsman so I was on the wrong track. Some nice misdirections too, I think 10a was my favourite. I loved the cat climbing in the glass doors – what a feat! (Or what feet!) thanks to the setter and Mr K – so a leg is on, yes? Very confusing.

  27. I also agree with Mr K’s ***, having found this tougher than most Tuesday puzzles. It was worth doing just to see the picture clue at 10a, what a lovely story. 18a had me completely befuddled. 5d gets an honourable mention just because my Dad was one, of the army variety. Just wish we could have got him to talk more about his war experiences. 17d gets the prize for COTD, delightfully cryptic. Crossword helped me take my mind off my totally altered daily menu, both food and times, which I’ve had to adapt severely to accommodate restrictions while taking antibiotics. Thanks to setter for this distraction and to Mr K for life saving hints.

    1. My father served under Montgomery in the eighth army. He told us many tales of football matches and frying eggs on vehicles but nothing of the nitty gritty

      1. My uncle was in the 8th army in North Africa too, then took part in the Normandy landings and journeyed across Europe to Berlin. He said very little about the actual war but I do have his diary of the D day landings, with hastily scrawled comments in pencil such as “Its blooming noisy down here”.

        1. Yes, my father was in North Africa with the 17th/21st Lancers Tank corps. Never spoke of it and would not eat dates.

  28. I enjoyed this puzzle, but had to think about some of the parsing. Regards the Birthday Problem mentioned in 14ac, in my Statistics lecture at Uni, the problem was discussed, calculated and then tested on our class of 24. Success!

  29. After my agonies with yesterday’s puzzle this one did much to restore my confidence. I’ve learned that 7d can be spelt with just one ‘N’ but otherwise no real hiccups, Thanks to setter and to Mr K for clearing up some parsings. 1.5*/****

  30. Very enjoyable, perhaps slightly more tricky than the normal Tuesday puzzle 🤔 My Favourites 22a & 5d 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter

  31. Some excellent concise clues reaching RayT standards – I wonder who the setter is, why can’t we know!? Thanks MrK and 15d as my COTD

  32. All done in good time and thoroughly enjoyed!
    Some great clues in there – 10A & 14A are excellent examples that needed careful, but very satisfying, parsing.
    Thanks to the setter for a fair challenge and to MrK for today’s blog and hints.

  33. Perhaps slightly trickier than usual Tuesdays which I normally find the most straightforward of the week.
    I was completely befuddled by the 22a ‘hurricanes’ which I’d forgotten about.
    I liked 14a and 17d. My favourite was 26a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.
    Off to the Toughie.

  34. I didn’t fare too well with today’s offering. First pass only managed a couple but then got going and would have done better if I hadn’t put discard in for 5a. Doh! Struggled with 18a spending time looking for an anagram or name of a South African rabbit! Didn’t get 7d. I normally do OK on a Tuesday but not this week. Oh well, 6 monthly check-up with the dentist to look forward to tomorrow lunchtime. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  35. The top half was very friendly, but needed help in the bottom half.
    Fave in the end was 22a, but have to give a shout out for 1d. I also had to check that 7d was one word and not hyphenated.
    Thank you setter for the fun. Top notch entertainment Mr. K, loved the story at 10a and so much more, thank you.

  36. I had a quick look through with my breakfast coffee and thought it was going to be a stinker….but it wasn’t! A really enjoyable crossword with 22a being my clue of the day. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  37. I thought I was going to struggle with this but completed it not at a canter but a respectable walking pace. 7d not my last in by a distance. Favourite was 22a. My father was in the RAF during the war though he didn’t work on Hurricanes but transport planes in India, much less glamorous. Thanks to the street and Mr. K.

  38. Found this Tuesday puzzle quite the challenge and took a long time to get going. Did this isn several sittings for a ***/**** my rating today. Bottom was slower with SW last to fall. Some clever clues with some with tricky misdirection like 18a & 22a. A couple of chuckles with 1d & 17d too.
    Favourite clues for today are 15a, 22a, 1d, 7d & 17d with a tie between 7d/17d

    Thanks to setter and Mr K for hints

  39. Top half wasmfine, but the bottom half had a few head-scratchers, inneed Mr.K.’s hints to parse a couple.
    Thanks both.

  40. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very good and very enjoyable puzzle. A little bit tricky in places, very entertaining. I liked 1&17d, but my favourite was 5d. LOI was 15d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  41. I found this very enjoyable and definitely on the easier end of my crossword solving spectrum. All went in quite smoothly although I got a bit held up in the SW corner and couldn’t parse 18a and 16d without the hints. My favourite clue was the simple but misleading 23d. **/****.

    Re the birthday conundrum, both my children had birthday twins in their reception classes and both were the only children the class to have birthday twins. It made arranging birthday parties nice and easy as there was an obvious person to share with.

  42. Enjoyable solve, more 2*/2*. As ex-RAF was on the right wavelength for 22a but wish it had been the aircraft I knew best, the Tornado.

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