DT 29636 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29636

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29636

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I felt that today's puzzle contained a lot of quality surface readings which when read literally appear to be perfectly natural sentences or sentence fragments. Having created the odd puzzle, I know how challenging it can be to get that right while also disguising the wordplay and adhering to correct cryptic grammar. My hat is off to this compiler. 

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    Aware clubs are almost packed (7)
CAREFUL:  Put together the playing card abbreviation for clubs, ARE from the clue, and all but the last letter (almost) of a synonym of packed 

5a    Profit for returning salesmen (7)
PROSPER:  A word meaning "for" is followed by the reversal (returning, in an across clue) of some salesmen 

Spock says "Live long and xxxxxxx"

9a    Anxious period guarding the Queen? On the contrary (5)
EAGER:  Inverting the wordplay (on the contrary), we find the answer as the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth containing (guarding) a period of time 

10a   Place for Holy Communion had claret prepared (9)
CATHEDRAL:  An anagram (prepared) of HAD CLARET 

Wells Cathedral arches

11a   Leave for each expedition (10)
PERMISSION:  A short word meaning "for each" with an expedition or crusade 

12a   City name that is encapsulating 'charming' primarily (4)
NICE:  The wordplay is the single letter for name followed by the Latin abbreviation for "that is" containing (encapsulating) the first letter (primarily) of CHARMING. The entire clue can serve as the definition 

14a   The state of being out of control? (12)
INDEPENDENCE:  A cryptic definition of the state of not being under the control of others

18a   Gran turned me off thong? (12)
UNDERGARMENT:  An anagram (off) of GRAN TURNED ME. The ? indicates that the definition is by example 

21a   Proper piece of fishing equipment, we're told (4)
REAL:  A homophone (we're told) of a piece of fishing equipment 

22a   If PM lied, is having a reshuffle made more understandable? (10)
SIMPLIFIED:  An anagram (having a reshuffle) of IF PM LIED IS 

25a   Not confident about following United Nations volunteers in Ireland (9)
UNCERTAIN:  The single letter for about or approximately is following the abbreviation for United Nations, and that's all followed by some usual volunteers inserted in a literary name for Ireland

26a   Perfect international trade (5)
IDEAL:  The single letter for international with trade or agreement 

27a   Fail to take on board marine's complaint (7)
DISEASE:  Fail in a terminal way containing (to take on board) a synonym of marine along with its S from the clue 

28a   Thrashings concealed by popular heads of grammar schools (7)
HIDINGS:  Join together another word for concealed, a usual word for popular, and the initial letters of (heads of) GRAMMAR SCHOOLS 



1d    Rogues steal shilling (6)
CREEPS:  Stick together steal or move with stealth and the single letter for shilling 

2d    Consider wine, eating fish (6)
REGARD:  A generic type of wine containing (eating) a pike-like fish 

3d    Craft is for green aliens (10)
FOREIGNERS:  An anagram (craft, as an imperative) of IS FOR GREEN 

4d    Wants trousers but no top (5)
LACKS:  Some long trousers minus their first letter ( … but no top

5d    Favourite job? Er ... producing oil (9)
PETROLEUM:  Concatenate a synonym of favourite, job or function, and a word of hesitation 

6d    Writer initially lost following old motorway sign (4)
OMEN:  A writing instrument minus its first letter (initially lost) is following the abbreviations for old and for motorway 

7d    Shares drink with son after no one turned up (8)
PORTIONS:  Assemble an alcoholic drink that seems to make an appearance every Tuesday, the reversal (turned up, in a down clue) of both NO and the Roman one, and the genealogical abbreviation for son 

8d    Liberated doctor lived here having left hospital (8)
RELIEVED:  An anagram (doctor) of LIVED HERE minus the single letter for hospital ( … having left hospital) 

13d   Criminal denied it if recognised (10)
IDENTIFIED:  An anagram (criminal) of DENIED IT IF 

15d   Kill time and give orders heartlessly (9)
ERADICATE:  A significant period of time is followed by a word meaning "give orders" with its middle letter deleted ( … heartlessly

16d   Guaranteed to take off last chunky skirt (8)
SURROUND:  A synonym of guaranteed minus its last letter ( … to take off last) followed by chunky or plump 

17d   A trip's bringing in five loans (8)
ADVANCES:  A from the clue with trip (the light fantastic) containing (bringing in) the Roman five 

19d   Admit defeat: I have to cut alcohol (4,2)
GIVE IN:  The contraction of "I have" inserted in (to cut) a type of alcohol often flavoured with juniper berries 

20d   A student wearing earring upset grown-ups (6)
ADULTS:  A from the clue is followed by the letter indicating a student or learner driver contained in (wearing) the reversal (upset, in a down clue) of a simple type of earring 

23d   Judy's husband's magazine (5)
PUNCH:  The husband of Judy the puppet is also a now-defunct satirical magazine responsible for the curate's egg cliché occasionally seen here applied to crosswords 

24d   Somewhat major carnivore (4)
ORCA:  The wordplay here directs us to an answer hidden inside (somewhat …) the remainder of the clue. The definition is the entire clue, making this an &lit or all-in-one type of clue 


Thanks to today’s setter. Clues that I particularly admired in this fine puzzle included 10a, 22a, 28a, 3d, 4d, 5d, 7d, 13d, 19d, and 20d. Impossible to pick a favourite from that bunch. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  INN + GOD + THYME = IN GOOD TIME

63 comments on “DT 29636

  1. I thought this was a tad more tricky than the average Tuesday but very clever and enjoyable to solve. I was held up temporarily in the NW initially by having “cheats” for 1d which perfectly fits the wordplay, but soon sorted.
    Podium places go to 12a &15d with top spot going to 18a for the surface.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

  2. There were some really good clues in tbis puzzle. As Mr K says, there were some wellwritten surface reads and, I thought, great misdirection. I liked 1d, 3d, 15d and 25a. However 16 was a bit of a clunker so the exception proves the rule. Whilst I could see 14a, it was a bit confusing as cryptic definitions go, but that’s why they are called cryptic, I suppose. Overall quite enjoyable (2*/3.5*). Thank you to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. Took a while to get on the right wavelength and then came together nicely.
    I too got held up in NW with “cheats” for 1d, and searching for a 4 letter synonym of clubs for some time at 1a.
    Favourites were 18a, 28a and 15d.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K (I hadn’t come across Erin for Ireland before)

  4. I took at least *** time over this, mostly because I didn’t like the answer I had to 1d. If I had had the confidence to put it in, I probably would have been finished in an easy ** time. Does ‘rogue’ really mean ‘creep’? Not in my mind.

    Other than that, 14d was my last in, and most certainly my COTD.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Mr.K.

  5. I agree with Mr K that the surface-reads today are most commendable, especially 18a, 28a, and 15d, but my COTD is 16d, which was my LOI, just after 1d. Most enjoyable. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. ** / ***

    Another excellent Tuesday Toughie.

    1. Just finished We Begin At The End, which I think you recommended. I enjoyed the plot and the twists, but struggled with the writing style if I’m honest. Nevertheless an enjoyable distraction, and I’m now going to try the first in the DCI Banks series. Thanks for the recommendations

      1. There’s something too staccato and sputteringly poetic about Whitaker’s style, and it bothered me too in many places, but I finally got used to it. I think that you’ll find Mr Robinson’s style more to your liking. I hope you enjoy the Banks experience.

  6. Yes, I agree totally with Mr K about the surfaces and I also agree with Chriscross about 16d as the exception. It just didn’t sit right with me, because there might be a number of adjectives that would fit better. Mr K – you should try and pictorialise a chunky skirt. You’ve certain picked some interesting pictures today, anyway….
    Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  7. Good puzzle today with no nasty surprises. Like some others I got hung up in the NW corner.
    1D bit me for a while as did 9A.
    I could not fully parse 27A so thanks to Mr K for the explanation.
    Now it’s time to get the lawnmower out on this lovely sunny day.

  8. This one was right up my rue, as it were. Happily, no knowledge of the Zhang Xianzhong dynasty was required. Equally, there was no assumption that one had studied the works of Kierkegaard. A proper crossword.

    Lola continues with her steroids and thus is permanently hungry. The latter is a condition we share in life, as we do in so many other ways. Oh – except I don’t kill shrews, baby mice, and voles.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, A True Star (Todd On Tuesday)

    Thanks to the excellent setter, and The Celebrated Mr K.

    1. Totally agree with your assessment above. No need for a deep dive into GK thank goodness,

  9. I really disliked this puzzle, the synonyms were not good and the surface reading at times impenetrable. Although I completed it I understood less than half of the of the wordplays. Difficult enough to be a toughie I feel.
    All in all I thought it very poor.
    Thx for the hints in explaining much of the wordplay.

    1. Just finished the Toughie which seems to present far less of a challenge and with some super clues 16a for example.
      Just a question of mindset I suppose.

      1. I’m tackling the Toughie now but not getting very far with it unlike today’s back pager. I think you’re right about mindset, Brian.

    2. Just shows how different we all are, as this one was perfectly designed for my brain cells.

  10. Slightly more difficult than usual for a Tuesday and, like many, I stalled in the NW corner. 9a was the main culprit here and I wasn’t sure how the first part of 1d meant rogues but Mr K came to my aid and explained it. Like Tincantel, I could not see 27a until Mr. K enlightened me once more.

    No real COTD for me but an honourable mention goes to 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K for the hints. Pleased to see the kitties are back. :good:

  11. Must be simply ‘one of those days’ as I can’t say this one particularly appealed and I definitely had my doubts about both 1d and the Quickie pun. Does anyone pronounce ‘god’ and ‘good’ in the same way?
    19&20d raised a smile so get my vote today along with the pic of my favourite ‘Cornishman’ which cheered me up no end!

    Apologies to our setter for not being more positive and thanks to Mr K and his feline companions for the review.

  12. Another ‘Tricky Tuesday’ puzzle which was also a candidate for the 23d cartoon illustration – 3.5*/2.5*.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 5a and 5d – and the winner is 5a.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  13. 2*/4*. I enjoyed this a lot. The only thing that concerned me was that I didn’t think that the answer to 1d was synonymous with “rogues”. However, when I checked my BRB, it is listed there.

    I agree with Mr K there are too many good clues to pick a favourite, or even a short list.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. Hi, RD. A few weeks ago you asked me why the spoilers on other pages no longer closed when clicked. That’s been addressed and I believe they now work like they used to.

  14. Calm down, Jane! It’s far too hot for that sort of thing!
    Enjoyable puzzle with 14a my favourite.
    Got a bit held up in SW (not Cornwall, Jane), but otherwise it flowed smoothly.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  15. Toughish for Tuesday but very satisfying solve. For me it was the SW that took me just to *** time.
    15d was COTD.
    Started with “give up” for 19d (had it as a double definition).
    Thanks to setter & Mr K for amusing review.
    Thanks to those who wished me well. News is the treatment was as successful as it could have been & the dreaded 27a appears to be in remission.

      1. Glad to hear the reassuring news LROK. You should be able to sleep better tonight knowing that.

    1. Really relieved to hear your news, hopefully you can now look forward to enjoying the summer with the added bonus of many of our restrictions being eased.

        1. Thanks to everyone for the good wishes. It is as big a relief as the initial diagnosis was a shock.

  16. All netted in two sittings bar two, and being an angler was miffed not to get the fishing homophone. Not sure any comment regarding the hint for 18a would be appropriate
    Thanks to the setter and for the hints

  17. A couple of ‘hmmms’ – eg chunky = round, but otherwise an enjoyable way to spend ** time. 18a raised a silent guffaw at the picture it raised in my mind. Thanks to setter and MrK

  18. ‘Twas the NW that put a spanner in the works for me too having initially bunged scamps in for 1d. Agree with MalcolmR & RD that the answer isn’t particularly synonymous with the definition. That niggle aside (didn’t mind 16d) I agree with Mr K that this one had some very clever surfaces & I greatly enjoyed it. 14a was very clever & counter intuitive so is COTD for me but a number of others pushed it close – 22&28a plus 5d.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K – the Golden Earring clip prompted me to play the Covers EP by Welshly Arms, a band from Cleveland. Radar Love is one of the 6 excellent covers on it. Well worth a listen. Tarantino used their version of Hold On I’m Coming for the trailer of The Hateful Eight.

    1. Ah, yes. You nailed the right term for 14a, ‘counterintuitive’! I couldn’t come up with ‘le bon mot’ to describe how it works. Thanks, H.

  19. ** difficulty and *** fun – except for 1d where I went wrong but it looks like I am not alone! Thank you setter and MrK

  20. What a great puzzle today. Perfectly pitched for me. I solved 5d when carrying the print out to the breakfast table, and it was a steady solve from then on. Too many good clues to pick a favourite. Last in was 15d. Big thank you to the setter, and to Mr K.

  21. Overall rather underwhelming but managed to work my way through. Failed to parse 27a – d’oh! No Fav. Thank you Mysteron and MrK. Oh what a beautiful day – wall to wall sunshine and warmth. 🌞👏.

  22. The answer to 1 down was rubbish !! Rogues are villains or cads ……… not creeps ….ffs!!!!

  23. NW held me up the most and 1d my last in – do not think it is a very good clue. In the business section of today’s paper there is a rather unflattering picture of Catherine Temple. She is a cheesemaker and her farm is about 6 miles from here and we went on one of her farm walks a couple of years ago – absolutely fascinating She makes several different cheeses but the best, IMHO, is Binham Blue which is delicious – try some if you can. Thanks to the setter and Mr K – where did you find that truly revolting picture of someone wearing a string?!

  24. Caused me a lot of trouble (and it’s only Tuesday) and could kick myself for not parsing 27a correctly and getting hung up on fitting the letters RM in there (dumb or what? or as we say over here: “gobdaw”). Thank god for the anagrams. And of course that’s not to say it isn’t a good crossword. But even worse—no sign of the taoiseach letting me see my grandchildren yet.

  25. Late in the day for me as working outside for most of it, but never too late to thank and congratulate the setter for a very pleasant puzzle. Thanks too, to Mr K.

  26. A tricky little puzzle in some ways today. 2.5*/**** SW last area in. Had a couple of bung ins that I thought were correct, and they were, but needed the hints for the understanding the parsing in some of them. All made sense in the end. COTD candidates include 9a, 11a, 27a, 5d, & 23d with co-winners 5d and 23d (that one made me laugh!)

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

    1. I do miss the Punch magazine, it was such a clever magazine. I guess it was just too old fashioned.

      1. Apparently Private Eye once returned a cartoon to its author with the comment: ‘Not funny—try Punch’. Cruel or what?

      2. I once won the caption competition in Punch. The prize was £25, which was a fair amount in the 1970’s.

  27. A busy day what with one thing and another and tomorrow looks as if it’s going to be same.
    A good thing really that the crossword wasn’t too difficult although I thought it was a bit trickier than a usual Tuesday.
    I cannot believe just how long it took me to see why 27a was what it had to be. Dim.
    Like others I wasn’t too happy about 1d.
    The model in the pic for 18a should have been throttled.
    My favourite for the surface reading, not that I’m one of those obsessed by it, was 22a.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to Mr K.

  28. Rather late to attack the puzzle today as I was trying to make the best of the weather. Rattled through this one, until I got to 24d. I think it took me as long to work out that it was a lurker as it did to do the rest of the crossword. I’m now sitting wearing the dunces hat. All good fun at the end of the day. Thank you setter and Mr Kitty. Off to light the bbq.

  29. Well I’m at odds with a lot of contributors as I’m in the “almost as straightforward as yesterday” camp this evening. Just how one sees it I suppose. I didn’t have a visualising the cryptic definition of 14a, in fact it’s my cotd. A really well crafted crossword. Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  30. Generally enjoyable but like others I wasn’t keen on 16d….as usual, done in the wee hours between my first and second sleeps….

  31. I think I’m being thick don’t understand 9d. It is not on the contrary.
    Er guarding age.!!!

    1. Hi, Veronica. “period guarding the Queen” as written in the clue would be AGE guarding/standing outside/containing ER. “On the contrary” inverts that construction to “the Queen guarding period” or ER containing AGE = E{AGE}R. Does that help?

  32. 3*/3*……
    thought 28A “Thrashings concealed by popular heads of grammar schools (7)” was an interesting surface read.

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