DT 29616 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29616 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29616 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good morning from an overcast Warrington where even the birds on the table outside my window look rather gloomy today.

To brighten things up, here’s a Prize Puzzle that will give the mental muscles a good workout today. I think there a couple of clues that give the game away as to our setter, who I’m guessing is our lady in town, who’s a most welcome addition to the Saturday setting gang. 9 across is the main example as it’s a device not often seen round these parts, but it is quite accessible if you read the clue properly. It’s sometimes seen in Toughie puzzles and other types of puzzles that our setter specialises in. Having just completed three other puzzles by her, I was probably in tune with the clue.

The grid is one of those that I could live without as there’s only one way into each of the four corners and this held me up a little. As seems de rigeur at the moment, the NW corner was the hardest part of the puzzle for me, but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment of this lovely challenge.

Remember what we do on a Saturday and don’t go giving answers to clues not featured. The naughty step has been given a bit of a treatment with Cardinal this week, so if you get to sit on it, you’ll end up with a red bum. And of course, no cake for you.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.  Thank you to our setter for an enjoyable solve this morning!

Some hints follow.

Across

1a Two tunnels under a bridge? (8)
We start with a cryptic definition. Where will you find two tunnels under a bridge? Look in the mirror!

9a Fuel broken-down Chelsea tractor disgruntled setter leaves (8)

These types of clues, known in the trade as composite anagrams, are not very often seen in these sorts of puzzles as they have specific rules,
Basically, it works out like this:
The answer = an anagram of a word or phrase minus a word (or an anagram of the word).

So, take today’s clue and remove SETTER from CHELSEA TRACTOR. There has to be an anagram indicator with setter as the letters are not in order. Them’s the rules!

10a Hip and excellent independent island state (6)
A word meaning hip, in the botanical sense, plus the standard crossword phrase for excellent and the abbreviation for independent.

13a College sent back reserve computer (8)
Reverse the name of a famous college and add a word meaning to reserve.

21a Spotted and quoted on the radio (7)
Something meaning spotted is a homophone for a word meaning quoted.

25a South American ways of handling cases packed with meat? (8)
The abbreviation for S American plus a word meaning the ways of dealing with things.

29a Hard to work reaped field the French cut or glean finally (8)
The name for a field after all the crops have been gathered, minus the definite article in French, plus OR and the last letter of glean.

31a Find stern tests all exposed curiosity (8)
Remove the first and last letters (exposed) of three of the words.

Down

1d Upset innovator at centre introduces delicious drink (6)
A hidden reversed answer.

3d Rally finished in sports ground yard (8)
An abbreviated name for a sports field (where you used to play as a kid?) and an abbreviation for yard. Inside goes a word meaning finished.

7d A child wrapped in fur in the winter, perhaps (8)
A, plus the name for a child inside a type of fur.

14d Policeman in command enters proposal (7)
The abbreviation for in command goes inside something meaning a proposal to give the name for one of these. It’s back for a new series soon….

18d Attempt to follow Asian river is hard work (8)
The name of a famous Asian river (starts in Kashmir and flows through Pakinstan) plus a word meaning attempt.

22d Taproom about noon providing no sustenance (6)
The name for a taproom, plus something meaning about and the abbreviation for noon.

24d Swimmer turned up after exercise for bit of food (6)
The name for a type of fish (often canned) reversed goes after the abbreviation for exercise.

27d Amaze star — about time! (4)
The name for a famous star goes around an abbreviation for time.

Thanks to our setter for today’s enjoyable challenge.

Did it float your boat, or sink like a stone? Let us know your thoughts.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today is something calming from the recent Disney Pixar film, Soul. Enjoy!

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD


The Quick Crossword pun: veer+cult+axe=vehicle tax


94 comments on “DT 29616 (Hints)
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  1. I found this a very entertaining puzzle. I’m glad you gave us the hint for 29a. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why the answer is what is! Thanks. I don’t think I’ve encountered the device in 9a but it’s quite workable. No real favourite today although both 1a and 25a made me smile. **/**** Thanks to all.

  2. Although most of the clues were remarkably straightforward, the NW corner held me up for ages. I guessed 9a and, surprisingly, got the right answer, although I couldn’t make head nor tail of the clue. I don’t very often have time to do the Toughie, so had never seen a clue of that style before. Thanks for the help Tilsit! So it was a game of two unequal halves really. I felt like Goldilocks with the porridge too hot or too cold, with nothing in the middling sort of difficulty amongst the clues (3*/3*). Thanks again to Tilsit a d to the compiler.

  3. I know the ‘hip’ and the required word in 10a are often used together, but surely they aren’t the same thing as they come from completely different plants??

    1. 10a. How can I explain this without being reprimanded? The common hip you mentioned is also known as the 3-letter word in the answer and also another 3-letter word, ?e?. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? Hope that doesn’t constitute a transgression.

  4. I enjoyed the challenge of today’s crossword, especially the NW corner. 1 and 9 across were both good clues, it didn’t help that I was trying to put 9a in with the second half going first.

  5. A reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable SPP, probably just how it should be – **/****.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 19d and 23d – and the winner is 19d.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  6. I think that we’ve seen a few of what Tilsit calls ‘composite clues’ lately, especially, as he says, in the Toughies, and I rather like the dis-assembling bits. I enjoyed this SPP, having worked my way pretty steadily from the top to the bottom, and then finding myself stuck for a bit in the SE corner, with 19d and 29a. Podium choices: 29a, 9a, 19d. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to today’s setter (if a lady, might that be Chalicea?). 2.5* / 3*

    1. Yes indeed, Robert Clark, I have the honour of setting some of the Saturday prize puzzles. Thank you so much to Tilsit for explaining the structure of subtractive anagrams. I truly hadn’t realised that they didn’t normally appear in the back page puzzles and were more a feature of Toughies (and, of course of EV, IQ, Listener and Magpie puzzles). They are a lovely way to create a little word picture, at the same time dealing with a word that is awkward to clue. I might naughtily try to sneak one into a future puzzle (if I can get it past the editorial red pen) as it has given some entertainment. I’m delighted that you liked it.

      1. Hello, Chalicea. You have long been my favourite Toughie compiler, and I’m delighted to hear that you’ll be setting some SPPs for us in future.

  7. Just about right for the SPP I thought. Held up by NE corner &, as Tilsit, last came the the NW.
    just in ** time though & ***/**** entertainment
    Lots to like with 1a (for the Doh moment) and 9a the pick. 9a gets COTD. Tilsit’s explanation of the rules for the latter confirmed my thinking.
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the explanations.

  8. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle so thank you to the setter. And thanks also to Tilsit for help with a couple of clues, especially 1a, 9a and 31a – the latter two being structures which I’ve never come across before but make a lot of sense.

    COTD is definitely 1a because I was struggling to get started with how to solve it.

  9. 2*/3.5*. Three quarters of this enjoyable puzzle was at my 1* difficulty level, but the NW corner was close to 5*.

    20a made me laugh and was my favourite with a special mention for 19d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  10. Excellent workout for tired muscle,at least l no longer need to wake up early hoping against hope that England cricket can stage a recovery against top class spin.Delighted to solve 9a without your clue as l had never seen one like that.My big problem was a very clever but wrong answer to 1a which took an to sort out.Thanks to setter and to Tilsit

  11. Today I must have been on the same wavelength as the setter as I completed this in remarkably short time. For once able to parse everything but for 9a which needed Tilsit’s very useful explanation as I wondered how the answer was obtained from the clue. I was initially trying to use the three letter vehicle type for a Chelsea Tractor! (which was obviously of no help.) I was held up for a short while in the NW corner and so 1a was my favourite as last one in. Many Thanks Setter and Tilsit’s explanation for 9a.

    1. I was all around the mulberry bush with the Chelsea Tractor. We had it a little while ago and had never heard of it, so I googled the dammed thing again but was still lost.

      1. SUV (Sports Utility Vehicles). Oversized gas guzzling monstrosities favoured by the inhabitants of Chelsea.

  12. I have no idea who the setter is but I sincerely hope we never see them again. Whilst the bottom half was vey tricky but with some very clever clues in 23a and 25a, I thought that 1a was simply showing off. The top half would not have disgraced any Toughie or indeed any crossword competition.
    Please please. No more puzzles of this difficulty at the weekend when there is no alternative sensible crossword in the DT.
    Bottom half ****/***
    Top half * to infinity/*
    Thx for the hints

  13. Thought this one was pitched just right for an SPP – mostly straightforward with a few 29a clues added for good measure!
    1a was the main culprit for me and well deserves the top spot, 20a also made me laugh.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the Saturday Club.

    PS In the interests of setting everyone’s minds at rest, I can confirm that I spoke to Mama Bee yesterday evening and she assured me that both she and John are fine so perhaps he’s simply decided to take a sabbatical? She promised to pass on our thoughts and best wishes and thought he would be pleased to know that we’d been thinking about them.

    1. Yes, indeed. Very good news. Now I look forward to John Bee’s return to the blog when the time is right. We have missed you, John.

  14. What a joy this SPP was! Last corner to finish was NW, which I see others had trouble with. However, I did not like the grid for the same reasons as Tilsit. There was plenty to like with quite a number of well crafted clues. I especially liked 25a, 29a and 19d but my CITD is 31a, which gave me a great penny-drop moment when I saw it.

    Many thanks to the setter for a most enjoyable puzzle. Thanks also, Tilsit for the hints.

  15. I agree that the NW corner turned this from being straightforward into something a little sterner, but it was all the more enjoyable for it. The excellent 9a was my favourite of many fine clues with the tricky 1a my final entry in the grid.

    My thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  16. A very good puzzle in my opinion and I thought 1a was a terrific clue. Thank you setter and Tilsit for explaining the make-up of composite anagrams, as well as the reasoning behind 29a.

  17. Nothing to do with the crossword yet, but I know there are a number of medics out there. What should I know about a calcified hip tendon? Other than it is bloody painful!

    1. You have my sympathy, DG. While I have not experienced calcific tendonitis, I do know it to be very painful. I take it you have spoken to your doctor? I believe it can be helped with a steroid injection but, as I was a dentist, I would check with your GMP. Conservative treatment is usually with analgesics such as Ibuprofen, paracetamol or codeine.

      It can be self limiting so I hope it gets better soon for you.

      1. Thanks Steve- I was convinced it was my hip but the X-rays I had taken last week showed the other problem. My lovely doctor is going to make an appt for me at the skeletal clinic and he suggested physio (as I do a yoga work out every morning I don’t know what more I can do) and steroid injections. Glory be I didn’t think growing old would be like this. What does self limiting mean?

        1. I had a steroid injection in the hip joint, which kept pain under control for a while, when I had tears in the labrum cartilage round the hip joint. As you know, eventually I had to have both hips replaced, one in 2009 and one in 2018 but steroids work well. It involves use of ultrasound/ x- ray imagery to guide the placement of the injection but I didn’t have to be given a general anaesthetic and it takes less than half an hour. With my knees, I had at least 3 steroid jabs to each knee over a 15 year period, as the effect wore off after a while which was for pain caused by inflammation and cysts in the joint. I’d recommend the steroid injections.

        2. Self limiting means it is not detrimental to general health and often goes away of its own accord. Not much help while it’s in the acute stage so try analgesics, especially Ibuprofen and paracetamol if you are able to take them.

          1. Thank you. I should have been able to work that out but brain in SLO-mo. Sounds like injections are the answer we’ll see what the clinic says. We keep taking the gin and that makes us smile!

    2. Oh dear. I’ve been struggling with my hip for 18 months, receiving differing diagnoses including hip tendonitis, torn hip and gluteus, tight IT band etc. Hopefully someone can help you out. Several months of physical therapy, exercises, use of a massage gun and a muscle stimulator have helped, but it’s still a problem. I do hope yours can be fixed quickly.

  18. A very enjoyable challenge. 9a is particularly delicious.

    All ok here. Lola is battling on and we are looking forward to her appointment on Monday. H has yet another Covid test on Tuesday prior to her operation/procedure later next week.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – The Hissing Of Summer Lawns

    Thanks to Chalicea, and Tilsit.

    1. Great choice Terence, my favourite Joni Mitchell LP and if we ignore jazz and classical one of my all time favourites.

    2. Not a huge Joni Mitchell fan but wasn’t familiar with the album & have just listen to it & must say very much enjoyed it.

    3. My favourite JM album is Ladies of the Canyon, released in 1970. And my joint favourite tracks, Conversation and Woodstock.

  19. Just crept into 3* time. Last two in 1a and 2d. Puzzled over 1a for ages and had a LOL moment when I finally twigged. Brilliant. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  20. Absolutely loved this, especially the NE corner. So clever!
    Thanks toChalicea and Tilsit although I didn’t need hints today.
    **/****

  21. What a great puzzle for Saturday and finished with ** difficulty for me with ***** for sheer pleasure of the clues and finishing it. Missed the exposed in 31a but it couldn’t have been anything else. Read all Tilsit’s hints and was pleased that only 31a was needed. So thanks Tilsit.

    Thought Chalicea must be a classical name but only Kalabarian Philosophy came up with a meaning for the name. So thank you to Chalicea and I look forward to more of your puzzles.

  22. All pretty straightforward including 9a as it was one of my first in. A most enjoyable puzzle. Favourite was 29a. Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  23. Most people (except Brian) seem to have enjoyed this, as I did hugely. I didn’t need the hints but it was interesting to read them especially concerning 9a. I liked 29a 24d and 23d – very sharp! Good news about the Bees, hope we get good news from Terence next week about his womenfolk. Last Sunday we sat in the garden with DD2 and enjoyed a G’nT in the garden – I don’t think that will happen tomorrow. It is freezing again here. I am reading To The Hermitage by Malcolm Bradbury which is a cold and snowy book, very suitable as we went to Leningrad 1987 in November. Brrr. Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit for filling my mind with crossword problems!

    1. Daisy, I have a small heated pool that I keep at 95F, it works a treat on my aching bones. True, it’s not a cure and the aches always come back but it gives me temporary relief, and what a relief it is. Maybe you have a community pool that has a heated spa? I try to do an hour of exercises, I need the water to enable me to do the exercises.

  24. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, with some very good clues. Not too tricky, but a few to make you think. I liked 9a, but my favourite was 23d. LOI was 2d. Was 2* /4* for me.

  25. Late to this today having enjoyed an earlier than usual lengthy walk in the sunshine. Flew through this in just over 1.5* time until 1a & 2d, neither of which I could get for about the same length of time. When the penny did finally drop for 1a the other was then obvious. Well clued throughout & with the NW providing the challenge. COTD has to be 1a but very much liked the 9a wordplay, familiar to Toughie solvers. Today’s album: The Outsider (Davy Knowles)
    Thanks to Chalicea & to Tilsit.
    Ps pleased to hear all ok with JB

  26. Progressed steadily but not speedily with this clever puzzle following a morning’s climbing up Devon’s premier crag The Dewerstone.
    My two favourite clues were 1a and 25a but all were high quality. I got stuck on my last one 21a for a while and now done I have no idea why. Thanks to Tilsit and the accomplished setter for a **/****

  27. A very enjoyable puzzle, particularly as I failed so abysmally yesterday. The NW corner went in first, the rest following without too much difficulty. The right mix of tougher and easier clues. 25a was a LOL moment. 29a just had to be but I needed the hint to find out why. As our paper is smaller than the UK A4, the cryptics usually print over both sides, with some clues partially on each. So I am always glad when the reverse side is finished quickly, as it was today, and I don’t have to keep flipping backwards and forwards. Thanks very much to Chalicea for a very doable puzzle and to Tilsit for the hints, particularly 9a.

  28. To answer Tilsit’s question … this did not float my boat at all. Found many of the clues very convoluted and more like a toughie. Not what I like at all. SE was last area completed with many hints used throughout, and even then, some of the clues didn’t parse out for me … 30a, 31a & 18d are just three of them. Just did not connect. ****/* for me today.
    Hard to find a clue or two today worthy of COTD designation but I’ll pick 5a, 13a & 15a
    Did not like the previously three mentioned as well as 9a,10a &12a and several more.
    Just not a good puzzle day for me. Maybe a wavelength thing.

    However, thanks to setter and mores to Tilsit for the much needed hints to make sense of this one.

  29. Well, well, well, wotta pleasure this was. Just the perfect amount of brain usage and enjoyment. I got stuck in the NE and was going to get a hint to get going again, then I had my epiphany and solved 5a, and I was off. I don’t know why, but I started in the SE corner and worked my way up.
    I think my fave is 1a, huge guffaw when I tumbled. I had no idea why 9a was what it was, so thanks, Tilsit, for unravelling that.
    Thank you Chalicea for the most welcome fun, and to Tilsit for the the hints and tips. I’m off to the pool before the rain we’ve been promised arrives, I’ll read the comments later.

  30. Thanks, it is great to get all of that input. Brian – a warm on-line hug for you as I have never before earned a 1* (usually I am criticised for being too easy – not too difficult) and I am particularly amused because the showing-off clue 1a, that so many have chosen as their favourite was actually written by the editor who rejected my clue as far too easy for a back-pager – so he gets all that credit (and your grump!) Yes, Chalicea, the name, has no intellectual or classical origin – just a gesture of thanks to mum, Alice, and husband Charles (and the editor Doc who accidentally added the last A) all of whom nurtured my love of crosswords and encouraged me to compile them (as I am actually an abysmal solver – setting and solving are fairly different skills).

    1. Interesting you say you are an abysmal solver. I note in the article yesterday on cryptic crosswords Mr Halpern (aka Dada) said the same thing.
      I would not even know where to start in compiling a cryptic puzlzle and although I was not a fan of todays offering, I have the utmost respect for your, (and many others compilers in the DT), ability to be able to compose and assemble them.
      So although I grumbled today, I still look forward to them!

    2. I’m really pleased to read that 1a was not yours. I didn’t think that it fitted well with the style of the rest which I found just at the right level. I have to admit that I had no idea where your professional name came from, I like the word chalice more …

  31. That’s a relief…after a couple of days where I really struggled to complete, this one fell into place with barely a pause (although Mrs H did solve a couple of anagrams for me with scary ease & speed!)
    Strange how sometimes we appear to be exactly on the same wavelength as the setter, yet other days it’s a real struggle just to get started!
    Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this one (generally do when I’m seeing the answers & parsing quickly!) and thank Chalicea for the pleasant Saturday challenge and, of course to Tilsit for the blog ‘n hints.
    Cheers y’all! 😜

  32. Very late here today – been gardening all day and haven’t quite thawed out yet – it would have been fine doing very energetic ‘stuff’ but I was doing fiddly ‘stuff’. Arctic!
    I loved the crossword and didn’t have much trouble with any of it – a rarity.
    Just as I don’t notice things like pangrams and Ninas I don’t ‘see’ grids so today’s didn’t occur to me.
    I think Chalicea is one of the setters whose range of difficulty varies a lot – or maybe my marble count varies from day to day!
    I spent far too long thinking that the 21a ‘spotted’ was like a Dalmatian and working out why 29a was what it obviously was.
    Too many good clues to pick out any particular ones today.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

  33. What a treat, I really enjoyed this crossword with the exception of 1a, I’m with Brian on that one…..but that was the one clue that Chalicea didn’t set! Many thanks to Chalicea for the puzzle and Tilsit for the blog.

  34. Well done Chalicea – I really enjoyed it. The North West gave most trouble, but was there in the end, with no outside help. Sunshine, gardening and a good crossword. What more can one want? **/****.

  35. In 1a I successfully resisted putting in “Dartford” which happens to be the place on the M25 where two tunnels under a bridge cross the Thames! Even so, the true answer was one of the last to fall – a bit too obscure in my view – certainly no way of getting the answer without all the checkers. Funnily enough I cottoned on to 9a very quickly and was FOI. Many enjoyable clues. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit. ***/***

  36. Enjoyable. Pretty difficult but much less so than yesterday. 1a was a delight and not too difficult as the checkers are vowels. I have also ringed 29 and 30a and 19 and 23d. It was the NE that slowed me down and 7d the last one in. I had the wrong child and the wrong fur. I had three possibilités for the first three letters, none of which were correct. I think I have 28 right but this is the only one I can’t parse. Thanks Chalicea and Tilsit. I’m pleased to say your hints were not needed but helpful afterwards to confirm the parsing.

  37. Apologies, very late on parade in UK time. I don’t post often as I’m usually hitting the hay in my time zone. However, I feel the need to say thanks to Chalicea for yesterday’s offering. Some excellently crafted clues and numerous chuckles along the way, especially 1a. Took a while and a hint from my solving buddy, BangaloreKing, for the penny to drop with that one. That’s my COTD with silver to 9a, bronze 31a and highly commended 24d. Thanks Tilsit for the extras as well🦇

  38. I really enjoyed this apart from the dreaded NW corner and even then it was only 1a I really didn’t like which I see Chris Lancaster wrote (don’t like his puzzles at all I’m afraid) rather than Chalicea. I wish he’d have let her keep her original clue as it would have saved a lot of time. This puzzle really made me think and many of the clues were very clever indeed. I hope we get more from her (and very refreshing to have a lady setter for a change – less likelihood of the dreaded cricket clues I hope!). Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit for the hints. ***/****

  39. Well that was fun (though of course I struggled in the NW like everyone else). NIce to have a whole Sunday (almost) ahead of me instead of the puzzle lingering through. A real honour to have the setter in our midst too – wow!

  40. Finished over coffee this morning – I agree this was fun and just at the right level to make me think and provide amusement too – thanks to all

  41. Like many others, I found the NW corner was the biggest struggle. I found it a tough solve but with a great deal of satisfaction when the last one went in.

  42. Hi to all. New on here although have been doing the crossword for many years. This was particularly enjoyable especially 1 across, 9 across and 29 across. Had the answer to 31 across but could not for the life of me work out why until the penny dropped! Very enjoyable and lovely to hear from the setter.

  43. I quite often look at the Big Dave blog for the W/end Telegraph cryptics if I give up or think I have solved a clue but am after some kind of confirmation that I have deciphered a clue properly. This Saturday I really struggled with 30A which was my last one to solve. It looked like only one word would fit that had anything to do with the clue but can’t see the route to it! Annoyingly 30A is one of the few clues that is hint-free on the blog !! Does this mean it is easypeasy and no help should be needed? Hmmmmm

    1. Welcome to the blog

      The meaning of ‘saw’ required for this clue makes regular appearances in cryptic crosswords. You can confirm your solution and see how the wordplay works when the review appears at 9 am tomorrow

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