DT 29648 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29648

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29648

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone. I romped through the top half of today's puzzle and then came to a screeching halt in the bottom half. My 2* difficulty rating is the average of 1* for the top and 3* for the bottom.  It's a well-crafted puzzle with quite a few smiles raised during the enjoyable solve. There's also a food theme running through it. I wonder if that has any significance? 

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    One might give money for canine toy for Thai mongrel (5,5)
TOOTH FAIRY:  An anagram (mongrel) of TOY FOR THAI 

Start with one of this cat's distinguishing features ...

6a    River following low ground covered with heath? (4)
MOOR:  The map abbreviation for river is following low like a cow

Othello, The XXXX of Venice

9a    A dream Sue reconstructed about queen's fancy-dress party (10)
MASQUERADE:  An anagram (reconstructed) of A DREAM SUE containing (about) the chess abbreviation for queen 

10a   'Relâcher' primarily is French for 'relax' (4)
REST:  Follow the first letter (primarily) of relâcher with the French word for "is" 

12a   In school, is tending to pay attention (6)
LISTEN:  The answer is hidden in the next three words in the clue 

13a   Boris Johnson captivates everyone with a couple of lines somewhere in London (4,4)
PALL MALL:  The abbreviation for Boris Johnson's job contains (captivates) a synonym of everyone and is followed A from the clue and two copies of the single letter for line 

15a   Introduction to sport: it enables us to develop fitness (12)
SUITABLENESS:  The first letter of (introduction to) SPORT with an anagram (… to develop) of IT ENABLES US 

18a   Telling-off good for one daughter making loose garment (8-4)
DRESSING-GOWN:  In a telling off or reprimand replace one of the letters that's the genealogical abbreviation for daughter with the single letter for good (good for one daughter) 

Cat with a 18a

21a   Endlessly cut and cut small food items (8)
PARSNIPS:  Link together cut or peel minus its last letter (endlessly), cut with scissors, and the clothing abbreviation for small 

22a   Opening a chapter in deep affection (6)
ALCOVE:  A from the clue is followed by the single letter for chapter inserted in a short word for deep affection 

24a   I bumped into flipping object (4)
ITEM:  I from the clue with the reversal (flipping) of "bumped into" or encountered 

25a   Six municipalities including Northern Ireland's surrounding areas (10)
VICINITIES:  Follow the Roman six with some municipalities or big towns containing (including) the abbreviation for Northern Ireland 

26a   Talk then quietly catch one's breath (4)
GASP:  An informal word for idle talk with the musical abbreviation for quietly 

27a   Drunk gets thinner -- not one to beef up (10)
STRENGTHEN:  An anagram (drunk) of GETS THINNER minus the Roman one (not one) 



1d    Part-time worker left eastern place of worship (6)
TEMPLE:  Concatenate an informal word for a part-time worker, the single letter for left, and the single letter for eastern 

2d    Control rebellious bosses (6)
OBSESS:  An anagram (rebellious) of BOSSES 

3d    Inuit sauce he mixed, producing top-quality cooking (5,7)
HAUTE CUISINE:  An anagram (mixed) of INUIT SAUCE HE 

A famous Orson Welles quote

4d    Displays locks in the East End? (4)
AIRS:  Locks growing on your head, pronounced the Cockney way (in the East End)

5d    Vegetable greed -- madly purchasing one hundred and four Swedes? (3,7)
RED CABBAGE:  An anagram (madly) of GREED containing (purchasing) the Roman symbol for one hundred and a famous group of four Swedes 

7d    Ran over and talked foolishly about European (8)
OPERATED:  The cricket scoring abbreviation for over is followed by a verb meaning "talked foolishly" containing (about) the single letter for European 

8d    Book of the Bible with reduced description of Herod? (8)
RUTHLESS:  A book of the Bible named for a woman with a synonym of reduced 

11d   Wandering, having gone off? (12)
SLEEPWALKING:  A cryptic definition of nocturnal wandering 

14d   Put up with stage's position (10)
STANDPOINT:  "Put up with" or tolerate with a synonym of stage (as in "We've reached the stage in quarantine where … ") 

16d   Changing a pillow on rising can end in suffering (8)
ADAPTING:  Chain together A from the clue, the reversal (… on rising in a down clue) of a pillow or piece of soft material, a can that might contain food, and the end letter in SUFFERING

Crossword pillow

17d   Incomparable description of the House of Lords at the end of the day? (8)
PEERLESS:   Whimsically, the answer could describe the state of the House of Lords after all the Lords have gone home

19d   Rub smooth  tongue (6)
POLISH:  A double definition.  Tongue as in language


20d   Think rationally about a relative (6)
REASON:  Assemble a short word meaning about or concerning, A from the clue, and a male relative 

23d   Small portion -- this writer eats it (4)
MITE:  A pronoun the writer could use for themselves contains (eats) IT from the clue 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was 5d because of the Swedish PDM, with the clever and accurate 10a in the runner-up spot. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  PRY + SIN + CRISE = PRICE INCREASE , with the third word in the pun pronounced as spoken on this webpage

87 comments on “DT 29648

  1. I thought from 1a to 23d this was outstanding, obscurity free with any difficulties coming from cunning wordplay only, hope the setter pops in to claim it.
    Difficult to chose a podium but contenders would certainly be 15,18&25a plus 5,11&16d
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable crossword, mostly straightforward but there were a few, which held me up in the NE(**/****). There were some really great clues. I loved the two cryptic definitions, 1a and 11d , joint COTD’s but 5d was deliciously crafty too . Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. Thank you Mr K — especially for explaining the 3rd word in the quickie pun. It’s one I hadn’t encountered before, at least not in English, and isn’t in either the free online Chambers or Lexico (Oxford) dictionaries.

    The OED does have it, but most of its citations are part of longer French phrases (“crise d’amour”, “crise de conscience”, “crise de nerfs” — presumably crises of love, conscience, and those toy guns that issue foam pellets?), which doesn’t suggest it can really be used as a word in English in its own right.

    I also didn’t know “Tableland”, the clue for 22A. Apparently it isn’t an Ikea department.

    Agree with Mr K on my two favourite clues in the cryptic. Thank you to the setter.

      1. I won’t be looking at the Cryptic until later having wasted an awful lot of time looking for 5 across in the Quick one. Bit of a misnomer for me today! Still always good to learn something new.

      2. Thanks, Jean-Luc. Hopefully the combination of how long it took me plus these comments about it mean I shall remember it now.

        (And I’ve looked up what nerfs actually is, too. It accurately describes how I felt when escorting one of our offspring to a Nerf party and being in roomful of weaponized children.)

      1. Thanks, Senf. I presumed it would be, for the editor to allow it. But it feels unusual for a word in the quick crossword not to also be in the smaller dictionaries.

        Maybe it’s more common with ‘pun’ words, because sometimes it’s necessary to use a niche word to make the pun?

  4. 2*/4.5*. I thought this was excellent, with 5d my favourite.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and to Mr K, whose two pictures for 18a have convinced me of the merits of coming back in the next life as a cat.

  5. A really enjoyable solve and some interesting word plays. My last one in was 11d, took me a while to latch on to that one. Strictly speaking 5d is incorrect, ABBA consisted of 3 Swedes and a Norwegian. Many thanks to Mr K and to the setter.

    1. There’s always one! Actually Wikipedia lists the member in question as Norwegian-Swedish.

    2. …. and continuing the pedantry, The part time worker in 1d isn’t strictly a synonym of ****.

  6. Thank you! I couldn’t see how the end of 14d worked. That and 11d took about half my solving time. The wait was worth it for the thud the penny made when 11d finally arrived.

  7. I’ve always wondered if that London thoroughfare came from the French. You have The Mall and not The Mall (pas le Mall) as they are parallel.
    Liked 9a as he is my favourite setter in the Guardian.
    Liked 15a although the answer is not one of my favourite word. I prefer suitability.
    5d made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to MrK for the review.

    1. Sort of like Ys, the mythical Breton city that sunk into the ocean and Paris meaning “not Ys”.

        1. I didn’t know that, Jean-Luc. As you say, very appropriate. The legend of Ys (or Is) was told to us by two Breton musicians whom we became great friends with over the years we visited Brittany. We love the region.

          1. I love Brittany too and my French sister-in-law comes from there. I have to confess that the worst hangover I ever had was there – I blamed home made Calvados but it might have been better to blame myself. Oh dear – absolutely awful!

    2. A quick search suggests that Pall Mall came first in fact, and is named after the ball game pall-mall (a bit like croquet). Comes from the Latin palla, meaning ball, and malleus, meaning mallet.

      1. That’s the version that I’ve heard too. Was it Henry VIII, who had his own ‘Pell Mell’ court?

        1. I don’t know about a Pall Mall court, but I’m pretty sure he had his own Real Tennis court, because there is one near us…..but, I may be wrong on that too.

          1. It was Charles II who laid out the Pell Mell Court on the borders of St James’s Park in the 1660’s according to Mr G.

  8. Good fun and lots to enjoy. LOI was 11d, needed all the checkers before the penny dropped. I liked 1a for the misdirection but my COTD is 5d as it made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  9. Lovely, entertaining puzzle. No particular difficulties anywhere. Even the London thoroughfare shouldn’t present a problem to those unfamiliar with London as the clue is very straightforward. 5d made me smile but my favourite is 11d. */**** Thanks to all.

  10. What a superb puzzle. Full of fun, misdirection and just at the right level for a Tuesday I thought. Unlike Mr K found South went in smoothly but NE my last in. ** / **** for me.
    There was nothing not to like but enjoyed 1a, 11d and 17d especially. 1a gets my COTD.
    Thank you to mystery setter. Please do us the honour of a visit and claim your deserved credit. Also Mr K for the hints and explanations.

  11. Difficult with a lot of head scratching for me but thoroughly enjoyable, nevertheless. Some of the long ones held me up for ages but once solved turned out to be my favourites. I especially liked 18a and 5d and 11d with the latter taking the top spot. All in all, a most enjoyable tussle.

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

  12. A very enjoyable puzzle but slightly marred for me by 15a. No doubt it is a ‘real’ word but I think most people would opt for the alternative as suggested by JL.
    Liked the idea behind 1a but it did give rise to a rather strange surface read so got knocked off the top spot by 5d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K and his felines for the review – slightly surprised not to see one of those felines in fancy dress!

    1. I would probably have given this 5* for enjoyment but for 15a (yes, it is a “real” word but I don’t believe I have ever seen or heard of it before), and the surface of 1a.

    2. Hi, Jane. Cats in fancy dress often look unhappy, so I tend to avoid those pics. The fairy cats that I could find last night all fell into that category.

  13. Super puzzle, v entertaining even if I had no idea about the Bible book. My favs 17d and 11d both raised a huge grin.
    More like this please DT.
    Thx to all

  14. Sunny day in Cheshire and have booked a table for an early doors pint!
    Entertaining puzzle and a **/**** for me too, favourite has to be 5d as do others, closely followed by 18a-thanks to 2K’s for the pic.
    The main talking point is of course the quickie pun which left me up a gum tree, bunged in crime which I knew was wrong but you never know.
    Like Jane and JLC ,not too impressed with 15a.

  15. Another :negative: for 15a, probably a 12 letter word specially created for crossword setters!

    Other than that, as enjoyable as ever for a Tuesday puzzle – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 25a, 8d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  16. Great puzzle very enjoyable. Needed hints for 8d (never would) and 11d (d’oh), but thought 1a, 10a and 5d were joyful. Thanks to setter (Navy?) and to Mr K for his efforts and the 2 wonderful pics at 18a. In fact I thought all of the pics were especially special today.

    1. Hi, Celia. Glad you enjoyed the pics. Nothing about today’s puzzle in Navy’s Twitter feed, so probably not one of his.

  17. 5d my top clue from this hugely enjoyable and rewarding puzzle. A perfect addition to a sunny morning here in Shropshire. Great stuff.

    My grateful thanks to our Tuesday setter and Mr K.

  18. Great puzzle, I sailed through it and then came here to find out why some of my answers were actually correct.

  19. Two in a row sans assistance, this is a veritable record for me. The four letter ones were particularly satisfying as these often beat me.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  20. Enjoyable and a pleasant solve. Lots of good clues, with shout outs in particular for 1a and 5d, together with honourable mentions for 11d and 17d.

    As has been mentioned, purists will scowl at the answer to 15a (as did I to a small extent), but the most irksome clue to me by far was 2d? Sure, it’s an easy solve, but how on earth does the answer possibly mean “control”? I can’t come up with a sentence that works for both “control” and the obvious answer?

    Apart from those slight grumbles, many thanks to the setter.

    1. I thought the same Headinthesand. I’ve checked the 12th edition of the BRB and can’t find a link under obsess or control. The LRB, on the other hand has control as a 7 letter synonym for obsess, but not the other way round. Like you I can’t think of a sentence where I could substitute the other word.

    2. I agree that obsess=control is a stretch even though it’s found in the Chambers Thesaurus. Best example I can think of is something like “He is obsessed/controlled by thoughts of revenge”, but the meanings there are not exactly the same even though the outcomes might be similar.

      1. When I was solving, I noticed the BRB gives “beset” as an archaic meaning for obsess and thought of “the country’s border was obsessed/beset/controlled by the enemy”, which aligns with your example – i.e. “he is beset by thoughts of revenge”. However I did struggle to come up with a sensible sentence showing the present tense which is what is needed for the clue.

  21. If anyone is at a loose end, although why would you be on such a fine day, both the Independent and Graun puzzles are doable and entertaining.

  22. Like most others, I loved this puzzle for it’s smooth surface readings and clever cluing. Lol came with 5d, but appreciated several more. Thanks to setter and MrK

  23. Lovely puzzle today which I sol ed alone and unaided…but very much enjoyed reading the blog as always.

    So, thanks to the setter and to Mr K

  24. Long-time lurker, “de-lurking” to express thanks to today’s setter for this tremendously enjoyable puzzle – and to Mr K for the review.

    11d was LOI (with a grin as the penny dropped) and joins 5d on the podium. Good surfaces for so many of the clues, a wonderfully crafted grid marred only by the grating 15a, which prompted an audible ”Hummmmmm …’


    1. Welcome to the blog, Mustafa G.
      Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope you’ll become a regualr contributor to the blog.

      1. Thank you for the welcome. I’ve been tackling the various DT crosswords for many years now, but it’s only in the last few, having found this blog, that I feel my understanding of the solving techniques has really advanced. Other than for Friday Toughies, that is, which I fear may be a source of frustration for some considerable time yet, as last week’s remains.

        Out of interest is there any reason the additional Monday prize puzzle isn’t reviewed on this site, other than it requiring either further volunteer reviewers or it possibly being online-only?

        1. Re the Monday prize puzzles, the audience is small because I believe that they are hosted only on the puzzles site. For example, there are less than 500 plays of yesterday’s puzzle, while these back page blogs serving only a fraction of the DT solvership will receive several thousand visitors. Readers can ask questions here about specific clues in those extra Monday puzzles and may get a hint in return (but not a solution, since it’s a prize puzzle).

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed this and solved in one pass.
    5D with the 4 Swedes made me chuckle and was very pleased to get the bible book in 8D.
    Some excellent anagrams in there too – all good stuff al, round!
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the great blog ‘n hints👍

  26. 2/4. Very pleasant puzzle which I thought I was going to complete in record time until I got to the SW corner where a good deal of head scratching began. My favourites were 11&17d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  27. Like Mr K, I too came to a grinding halt as I hit the bottom of the puzzle. 2.5*/***** with some really crafty and good clues. My favourites were 6a, 13a, 18a, 4d, 5d & 17d with my winner being 5d. Got a good laugh with 11d, 13a & 4d … all really good clues.
    Great puzzle today … very enjoyable!

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  28. Got the top half quite quickly (for me) but was stumped over most of the rest. I laughed out loud at 5d – husband looked very puzzled. A great clue!

  29. My mother, aged 92, died at 21.48 at home on Sunday night, I was holding her hand. Last night, I couldn’t sleep and as usual instead of counting sheep I started thinking of random words and coming up with cryptic clues for them. Then, for some reason, I remembered an incident from many years ago and, instead of counting sheep or thinking up crossword clues, I found myself writing a “poem”:

    Dead Spider.

    I got up to use the loo in the middle of the night,
    there was a spider trapped in the shower tray.
    I knew what to do, it’s happened several times before.

    Many years ago, the first time it occurred, I was half asleep,
    too tired and decided to rescue the wee thing later.
    I could have saved it there and then, but didn’t.

    In the morning, I went into the bathroom and it was already dead.
    Probably died of sheer exhaustion from repeated attempts
    to scurry at speed up the steep, slippery slope.

    Maybe shower trays should be complete with shallower slopes
    in the corners so that spiders, etc. could escape.
    Similar to the system that allows hedgehops to extricate
    themselves when trapped in the void beneath cattle-grids.

    This time, as always since then, I gently encouraged it onto
    a folded sheet of loo roll and deposited it on the window sill outside.
    Sometimes, I do it with my bare hands – it’s only a spider!

  30. Sorry for your loss Jose. I sped through today’s puzzle until reaching 11d and simply could not get past it; thank you to MrK for the hint and to the setter for all the entertaining clues

  31. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and had the same reaction as Mr K, with the top half filling in quickly, and slowed considerably in the bottom half. Lots of great clues. A big smile for 1a and 17d. Agree with 15a being a rather awkward word, one which is probably mostly avoided. Wasted time trying to make partners fit 21a, but that didn’t make sense. Thanks to setter for a great Tuesday, and to Mr K.

  32. A late post after a glorious day out on the course at my old club, South Herts. Enjoyed today’s crossword very much (15a & the stretched synonym at 2d aside). A pretty brisk problem free solve but with a couple of good penny drops. 5&11d together with 25a were my podium picks.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K

  33. A thoroughly enjoyable Tuesday puzzle for me, which I finished last night after having my taxes done by an old professional accountant–always a day of angst and anxiety for me, but not this time: I actually come out ahead! And so this terrific puzzle was the perfect celebration for me. I loved 5d most of all but the entire cryptic seemed a work of art to me. My podium would be so full that it would be pointless to list them all. Thanks to Mr K for the great pictures as usual and to today’s exciting setter. ** / *****

  34. I didn’t start the puzzles until after the temperature and the sun got me back to wrestling with a Berberis full of dead wood, which hadn’t been tackled for a lifetime. Amazing what is revealed behind. Shamefully, I am such a fair weather gardener.
    I thought nearly all of it was fun – too many to mention, but I’ll go for 5d – I’m about to cook some. And 11d. I needed help with the 4 “I” checkers in 25a, despite having VI and NI, hopeless…..
    Thanks to Mr K and our setter.

  35. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle thanks to Mr K and the setter. There were so many good clues but I did struggle in the NE corner and didn’t get 7d despite 4 letters in place! 8d was LOI the penny eventually dropped! Being an anagram 15a had to be right? But questioned it. All in all, an enjoyable solve which has left me with a smile on my face. Have a good evening everyone.

  36. Rattled through this with a few good laughs on the way. 5d and 14d were great. Didn’t like 15a at all though. I hope the 1a visited the regular lady blogger who’s been having a rough time of it the last couple of days. Hope you’re much better now
    Thanks setter and Mr K

  37. I started this very late having frittered the day away – why not? I don’t want to go to shops,bars or restaurants and a friend is coming to cut my hair on Sunday, not that I really care much – more importantly she’ll cut husband’s too!
    A lovely crossword with no real problems although I was foxed by 1a when I first saw it.
    I’m with anyone who didn’t care too much for 15a.
    My favourite was 11d having done it quite a lot as a child but less so now unless I’m totally knackered and worrying about something – it’s really quite scary and people think you’re a bit loopy!! Maybe I am! :unsure:
    Thanks to today’s setter, whoever he or she is and to Mr K.

  38. I was on the right wavelength for this */****, completed this morning but could not comment before as I had two hours skiing booked at Milton Keynes. It always amazes me how puzzles some find easy others find hard and the next day the positions are reversed, is it down to intelligence, education or upbringing?.
    Thanks to all.

    1. For me it may be the side of the bed I get out of! Just finished, loved 1a, mainly because I got it in one. Mind you that was eight hours ago.

    2. I don’t think it’s much down to intelligence, education or upbringing – I think it’s almost always down to whether or not you’re on the right wave-length for that particular setter. There are other things too – general frame of mind and what’s going on around you and routine can also can make a difference – if you’re used to doing the crossword first thing in the morning in peace and quiet with coffee and then that all goes wrong and you end up doing it late in the afternoon – total disaster!
      Just my opinion.

      1. You could be right, it’s a complicated formula, I don’t think they’ll ever have a computer programme to crack it🤔

  39. I’m in the “I’m with the pendants in comment 5” camp this evening. I also had to Google 15a to make sure it was a real word and 8d to make sure it was actually a book in the bible, religion is not one of my strong points to say the least. Not that any of this took away any of the enjoyment. Favourite was 1a, closely followed by 11d, which I have done since I was a child often to my embarrassment particularly in hotels. 😳 Many thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  40. 2*/5*…
    liked 6A ” River following low ground covered with heath? (4)”….
    clicked in the snap to the hint for 18A…very funny !

  41. I found this the easiest I’ve done in a long time with no real hold-ups apart from not getting the connection between point and stage until I read the hint. I don’t want to get into another discussion about the pictures but I would just like to say these ones were ideal – they didn’t give the game away. Many thanks to Mr K and the mystery compiler. */****

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