DT 29659 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29659

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29659

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** / ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where the weather can very aptly be described as variable. It ranges from warm and sunny to cool, cloudy and drizzly. We even had a dusting of snow this past week. The snow was nothing serious and didn’t stick around but the black ice that accompanied it resulted in fender-benders (minor automobile collisions) all over the city. On a personal note, today marks two weeks since my COVID jab so it should have fully kicked in by now.

I’m afraid I was in less than top form solving this puzzle being overly tired from having stayed up late the previous evening watching a hockey game broadcast from the West Coast (three time zones away). I struggled a fair bit although on reflection it is difficult to explain why. To be fair, I was hampered by a few British terms that were either new to me or that I had forgotten.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   George‘s firearm I found in bed (9,5)
AUTOMATIC PILOT — the first word is a self-loading, continuously-firing weapon; the second is a Roman one planted in a garden bed; the definition is airman slang for an instrument that subs for the person normally at the controls

9a   Oven is only partially used for meat (7)
VENISON — hidden in the first three words of the clue

10a   A member after volume, one about horror story creature (7)
VAMPIRE — start with the A from the clue and a political member following a chemist’s abbreviation for volume; then append a Roman one and the usual word for about or concerning

11a   Arrest sailor following end of altercation (3)
NAB — an able bodied seaman following the final letter of altercation

12a   Reveal awful pain is constant (11)
EVERLASTING — an anagram (awful) of REVEAL and a sharp pain (from an encounter with a bee, perhaps)

14a   Sinister member of the nobility over in Cyprus (6)
CREEPY — reverse a general term for a member of the nobility and insert it into the IVR code for Cyprus

15a   Bakers working in North American state (8)
NEBRASKA — an anagram of BAKERS sandwiched between the abbreviations for North and American; I’m carefully avoiding “abbreviation for North American” as it is not in my edition of the BRB

17a   Ship that is carrying good women’s wear (8)
LINGERIE — start by linking a large passenger vessel and the Latin abbreviation denoting that is; then place the abbreviation for good on board

19a   Rodent, second to appear in bazaar (6)
MARMOT — a second or brief period inserted into a place where goods are sold

22a   HQ‘s courage and heart (5,6)
NERVE CENTRE — a body part that epitomises courage followed by what the heart represents

23a   Party time for Dorothy (3)
DOT — the usual party preceding the abbreviation for time

24a   Resolute biblical character, leader of army (NT) (7)
ADAMANT — the leading biblical character, the leading letter of army and the NT straight from the clue

26a   Typical   long-standing customer (7)
REGULAR — double definition, both pretty obvious

27a   Deception of criminals taking in prelates abroad (5,9)
FALSE PRETENCES — criminals who specialize in the disposition of stolen goods surround an anagram of PRELATES


1d   Approaching Christmas, my days are numbered (6,8)
ADVENT CALENDAR — a cryptic definition of a display that marks the countdown to Christmas

2d   Number with clever sound (7)
TENABLE — the lowest value two digit cardinal number and an adjective meaning clever or skilful

3d   Man supporting college principal’s work of art (11)
MASTERPIECE — a man on a chessboard follows (supporting in a down clue) the title accorded the heads of certain university colleges

4d   Little rascal‘s very difficult question head ignored (6)
TINKER — remove the initial letter from a very difficult question (or from something that emits an offensive smell)

5d   Incautious   knight (8)
CAVALIER — double definition; the first an adjective, the second a knight on horseback

6d   Iris Murdoch’s distinctive doctrine (3)
ISM — a lurker spanning the name of the author (indicated by the ‘s)

I can only guess this may be a shortened form of Iris followed by the initial for Murdoch; is Is. a shortened form of Iris similar to names such as Chas. and Wm.

7d   Sources at home penetrating first of oil rigs (7)
ORIGINS — the usual two-letter at home inserted into a charade of the first letter of Oil and RIGS straight from the clue

8d   Court officer upset as garments tear (8-2-4)
SERGEANT-AT-ARMS — an anagram (upset) of the final three words in the clue

13d   Emblem of country‘s peerage lads vandalised (6,5)
SPREAD EAGLE — an anagram (vandalised) of the two words preceding it

16d   Find a way around team on stage (8)
SIDESTEP — another name for a team followed by a degree or stage in a scale or series

18d   Group from Ireland — vehicle shown in article, overturned (7)
NIRVANA — load the abbreviation for Ireland and a vehicle typically used for transporting goods into a reversed indefinite article

20d   Note what act has? (6,1)
MIDDLE C — the word act has a leading A, a trailing T, and a …

21d   Irish novelist frowning on English (6)
STERNE — a serious or unfriendly appearance precedes the abbreviation for English

25d   Girl removing top is a fool (3)
ASS — strip the initial letter from a Scottish girl

I liked the four long border clues. The two vertical ones fell easily, while the two horizontal ones put up a stiff and spirited battle. I’ll award top honours to 1a as it proved to be the most worthy opponent.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): FREAK + WHEN + SEE = FREQUENCY

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : DYE + KNOW + SOARS = DINOSAURS

106 comments on “DT 29659

  1. A very straightforward Monday offering, completed in */** time.

    I don’t know the writer at 21d, I never know any literature based answers, and I thought 20d a bit fiendish for those without musical knowledge. 

I couldn’t really see why the clue for 15d had the “apostrophe s” in it. I think the surface reads better without it.

    Does 17a have to be women’s wear? Asking for a friend.

    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon.

    1. The apostrophe is plain good grammar.
      In my book, any man wearing lingerie would be a cross-dresser. I am most thankful that the pictorial depiction didn’t go down that road!

      1. Oh I don’t know he might be feeling pretty playful if he’s got his pink nightie on…

    2. Locker room – “ How long have you been wearing that ?” .
      “Ever since my wife found it on the backseat of the car “

    3. Yes! Especially as women is a plural noun and without the possessive apostrophe it would be a plural of a plural – Miss Gallon would never have allowed that. If you have not come across it before you probably need to find a copy of Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

      17a in today’s Rookie gives a good illustration of how bad a sentence looks without a possessive apostrophe which should be there.

  2. A pretty straightforward Monday puzzle – thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    I think that 6d is just a hidden word (indicated by the ‘S).

  3. This was an enjoyable puzzle with a fair number of straightforward clues and a sprinkling of more tricky ones (2*/3.5*). I liked 1a, although, as usual, it took a bit of time for me to remember this term and it often catches me out. 15a was a good geographical clue and 27a was quite clever. However my COTD was the short but sweet 20d. Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the hints. It’s amazing how much more positive one feels after one vaccination and once another week has elapsed from my second jab, I hope to be able to get out and about more, although caution is still the watchword.

  4. Very enjoyable Monday offering that was just tricky enough.
    I’d remembered ‘that’ particular George from a Jay puzzle a few months ago, caught a few people out then.
    Top clues for me were 12&19a plus 20d
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon
    An incidental feature of the puzzle was just how many opportunities for musical clips it threw up, I counted well into double figures.

  5. A straightforward and enjoyable coffee-break warm-up in preparation for the cruciverbal challenges of the week ahead. 1.5*/3*.

    Pushed just out of 1* time through being too 5d with 5d, resulting in some puzzlement as I tried to parse 10a starting with an “r”, let alone 15a with ‘s’ as its second letter. A welcome dearth of anagrams allowed for a good scattering of other clue types. Agree with the above comments that 6d is a lurker; Malcolm, re the apostrophe: if you mean 13d, I think the possessive is correct usage.

    COTD to 5d. Many thanks to Setter and to Falcon.

  6. 2*/4* from me for the usual light Monday fun. I started badly by spotting the answer to 1d straightaway but writing it in as 1a which made a bit of a mess of my page.

    My favourite was 12a.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  7. Tricky enough for me, too, as again Campbell has pushed me into *** time. It took me a while to recall that George had made a recent appearance, but when I did, pennies started dropping. I enjoyed seeing the author of Tristram Shandy make an appearance even though it is one of the wickedest novels I ever thought about teaching; I finally decided not to. And for some reason–brain freeze?–1d just would not come to me for ages, but that breakthrough ushered in that sinister Cypriot, my LOI. My podium welcomes 5, 18, & 2d. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell for the enjoyment. *** / ****

  8. I know that it’s been difficult to remember which day of the week it is during lockdown, but 1d made me question which month I was in.
    1a I managed to work out but had to google to check it, I hadn’t heard of it. I do wonder how much it might be used in the coming months once the aviation industry has literally got off the ground again. Some at the front of the cockpit may need retraining. I may not fly for a while. Thank you setter for such a straightforward puzzle, and thanks too Falcon for the review.

    1. We have a friend who was a BA Captain. He told us (I assume this still the case) that automatic systems are flying the plane for all bar a couple of minutes at the beginning and end of a flight. The biggest issue (taking in turns) is staying alert for what might be 11hours transatlantic. Like A &E, it’s 99% boredom and 1% panic.

      Soon, this will apply to taxi drivers and articulated lorries…….

    2. It’s always hard to figure out the day of the week during retirement, never mind Covid…

      1. Make the weekends special (as they have been for the whole of your lives). Nail Wednesdays as the middle of the week by always doing something every Wednesday that makes Wednesday a Wednesday. Then you ought to be able to nail the day by what went before and what is to come

  9. I forgot all about George in 1a although it did crop up some time ago. Spent ages trying to turn anagram of George’s firearm into a flower with no luck at all! When that penny dropped eventually it would have drowned out the noise of the bow bells! I guessed an ism could be a kind of doctrine in 6d and completely missed the lurker there. Bit of a dopey morning for me all round. ***/*** Favourite 15a. Thanks to all.

  10. Campbell on a Monday is always good fun to untangle and this was no exception. 1a my last one in as I had never heard of such a use before, and I was holding out for ‘rifle’ until 7d could be nothing other than the actual answer.

    Lovely sunny day here in Surrey but the wind is still very whooshy so with a lot of paperwork to complete I am spending the afternoon indoors with little Lola (the Queen Of Sleep).

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Steely Dan – Two Against Nature

    Thanks to Campbell, and Falcon nodding off in Ottawa.

    1. Excellent musical choice today T, I’m quite partial myself to the odd visit to the den of the Dan 😉. 3d a most apposite clue.

    2. As a devoted Dan fan I was delighted they started making music again after such a long hiatus but for me the output never came remotely close to any of the first seven albums. Jack of Speed & Cousin Dupree aside I thought the album disappointing after eagerly awaiting the release.

      1. As an equally devoted admirer of Messrs Fagen and Becker, I respectfully disagree Huntsman, though of the two I do prefer the final album (Fagen is on record as saying he thought it “underrated”) the title track of which is a top 5 Dan song for me.
        Gaslighting Abbie and Janie Runaway in addition to the two tracks you mention are highlights from Two Against Nature and would grace any of the first 7 albums.

    3. Many years ago I worked with a lad called Ricky. I told him several times a day not to lose that number. For months he had no idea what I was on about. Eventually I told him and gave him a cassette of Pretzel Logic and he became a great fan of Steely Dan. I haven’t seen Ricky for years but I do hope he hasn’t lost that number

  11. As always didn’t get into “Campbell mode” very quickly but all OK when I did. Like Falcon ** / *** time but **** enjoyment.
    Not at all musical but I thought 20d neat & gets my COTD.
    Was surprised to see 6d listed as a word in the BRB, always thought it an abbreviated term.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Sister-in-law in Calgary says Ottawa is now Covid hotspot, is the righr?

    1. Ottawa survived the first two waves of COVID relatively unscathed but this third wave has been a different story. However, apparently our numbers are plateauing. The situation here is nowhere near as dire as in Toronto where the ICUs are full and patients are being airlifted to hospitals around the province, including here to Ottawa.

  12. Like many it took a moment to remember ‘George’ as a piece of equipment and, in 15A, I missed the anagrind and wasted time looking for synonyms of ‘baker’. Otherwise a good Mondayish solve. **/****

  13. Managed without any real hold ups despite having stayed up way too late misbehaving via zoom with friends in Montreal.

    Thanks all.

  14. Great one for me. I must have been bang in the wavelength. Don’t usually like three letter clues but no real problem with these once I got a checker to make sure. A sprinkling of Vs helped me enormously. Some of them were absolute gimmes such as 24a. Last two in 4d and 1a. I had ignored 1a till I had all the checkers and only then did I remember who George is. Thank you Campbell. I liked this a lot. I did not need the hints Falcon but enjoyed reading them as always. I can quite see why you did not spot the lurker. It did not jump out. Favourites 1 12 and 17a and 1 and 2d.

  15. On the plus side I remembered George but had totally forgotten Lawrence, the Tristram Shandy scribe & the first frowning synonym that came to mind was terse so needed 2 stabs at 21d, my last in. Otherwise very pleasant & straightforward with 20d just pipping 18d as my pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  16. I too forgot “George” and had the second word as “rifle”. I knew it was wrong but it would not shift. The puzzle as a whole was enjoyable with a few head scratchers thrown in for good measure. I haven’t heard of the rodent in 19a but it could be nothing else once I remembered there was another expression for “second”. My COTD is the rather neat 20d.

    Many thanks to Campbell for getting the cross wording week off to a good start. Thanks also to Senf for the hints and pleased to hear you’re fully vaccinated.

      1. Maybe that’s why I got it so easily as well, Manders with the B & Q clue stirring in the memory. :smile:

  17. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, despite taking way too long to remember George’s position in the cockpit. Campbell rarely disappoints on a Monday, and this was no exception. 20d my COTD.

    On that musical note, I booked tickets this morning for a limited number of socially-distanced concerts at Symphony Hall Birmingham in the summer. Feels like a solid step nearer to normality.

    My thanks as always to Campbell for the fun, and to Falcon.

    1. I saw The Berlin Philharmonic and The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at The Symphony Hall and was most disappointed to find that they were both covers bands. Better than The Coull Quartet at Warwick Arts Centre though. Only four of them could be bothered to turn up

  18. Good fun and straightforward, helped by remembering George from a previous puzzle and the gimme at 1d.
    I didn’t know the novelist so had to check my answer on that one.
    I thought 24a was very weak/lazy, how does (NT) relate to the clue? New Testament?
    Overall very enjoyable, my favourites are 15a, 23a and 20d.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

    1. I just thought 24a was Adam + a (first letter of army) + NT given in the clue. Perhaps being in capitals nt was meant to mislead us.

        1. I understand the parsing, just seems a very lazy way of putting the last two letters of the word into the clue

          1. The NT not only supplies the final two letters of the answer but provides misdirection to the part of the Bible where the Biblical character is not to be found.

            1. Thanks Falcon for the additional explanation. At least I now understand it, even if I don’t really like it.

  19. Monday :good: Campbell :good:

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 1d, and 6d – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to the aforementioned Campbell and to Falcon.

  20. A lot to like about this. Didn’t 1a appear in the film Airplane? Still so cold can’t believe we are putting on the CH and its May on Saturday. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Yes, he was in Airplane! He became deflated at one point and required re-inflation by the stewardess via a blowing up nozzle in his lower portions.
      Not a patch on Malcolm, Anita’s car companion in dinnerladies. He could speak (although sounded a lot like Anita) and the staff spoke back to him.

  21. Gently testing and enjoyable way to get the cruciverbal week underway. NE was last to fall in line due to my having bunged in wrong second word for 1a. My Fav was the crafty 20d. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

  22. Enjoyable solve today with 6d as my favourite despite only three letters – thank you Campbell and Falcon

  23. Solved alone and unaided but certainly did not find it straightforward.
    Still not getting into Campbell…..but getting a bit better.

    Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell.
    Finally managed to reschedule my second jag today after countless calls to the number given which was constantly engaged and fruitless calls to the helpline where they were ‘unable to locate my details’ which was disconcerting to say the least.
    But I have the appointment now …and a hair appointment this afternoon. Hurrah!

  24. Solved with a smile. What more can one ask of a Monday Setter? Thank to Campbell for the exercise and to Falcon for the blog

  25. A nice way to start the non-work week again with an eminently solvable puzzle.1.5*/***** Another satisfying solve with no hints used. Feels good to do that once in a while.
    Favourite clues include 1a, 17a, 4d, 6d, 7d & 20d with winners being 17a & 20d
    1d made me smile as did 11a

    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  26. Our setter being extremely kind to us this morning with those long perimeter clues and I fairly raced through the puzzle whilst watching my young granddaughter demonstrate via Skype just how much mess can be achieved with one small cream cheese sandwich!
    My favourite was the short but sweet 5d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.
    PS Where would our setters be without the godsend of IVR codes!

  27. What a nice puzzle. Off to a good start as of course I am married to an automatic pilot. Whose name was Mud when the Domestic Appliance man took out two collar stiffeners, three plastic toothpicks, one large paper clip and a screw from the filter. If you are fortunate enough to have an unpaid laundrymaid attend to your washing the least you can do is empty the pockets before entering the laundry basket. But I digress, although it hurts that the subsequent large bill came out of MY account not the joint one as the pilot was conveniently absent at the Tip. He frequents it so often I think he has a woman there well if so, she can do his washing. So thanks to Falcon and Mr Setter for taking my mind off the injustices of marriage, albeit not for long. I liked 15a and 20a. Jolly cold here and we need rain.

    1. Order yourself a big bunch of flowers from the joint account, Daisy. My husband had no idea how the washing machine worked. I thought this was normal!

    2. At least your 1a goes to the tip – don’t think mine even knows where it is!!
      And don’t even start me on stuff left in pockets before going in to the washing machine – my least favourite that’s happened several times is a tissue that’s gone through at the same time as a pair of my black jeans.
      Many years ago when our Lambs were very little the younger one had a nasty habit of collecting snails and putting them in the pockets of her jeans – best not to ask about that.

        1. A French merchant seaman importing snails was in court earlier this week, charged with being dangerously overloaded
          He was let off with a warning, but totally bemused when the judge told him to carry less cargo
          I’ll get my coat…

      1. Our eldest used to fill his pockets with wood lice and take great pleasure from sitting in front of the washing machine door window and watching the poor creatures go round and round until the washing cycle finished

    3. Peter has a habit of leaving paper towel tucked in a pocket, which comes out nicely covering the whole of the dark wash. Thankfully it all gets sucked off by the lint catcher in the dryer. I tell him any money he leaves in said laundry is finders keepers.

      1. Money laundering is illegal, BusyLizzie
        By the way, when you edit comment and it appears not to save, refresh the page and there it is – assuming you’re using Chrome?

  28. This one is an almost complete mystery to me. Managed 5 clues! No fun at all. Abysmal.

    1. Is the abysmal for your performance or the crossword?, if it’s the latter ,then that’s a bit harsh, I even managed it and most others found it on the light side. Must be a wavelength thing or having an off day. Still ,carry on Brian I always enjoy reading your delicate summation of the puzzles😂

  29. Finished but very difficult, much harder that yesterday’s puzzle.
    LOI was 1a and I am none the wiser after reading the hint.
    Thanks both.

    1. “George” is British airmen’s slang for an autopilot. According to Wikipedia, “An autopilot system is sometimes colloquially referred to as “George” (e.g. “we’ll let George fly for a while”). The etymology of the nickname is unclear: some claim it is a reference to inventor George De Beeson, who patented an autopilot in the 1930s, while others claim that Royal Air Force pilots coined the term during World War II to symbolize that their aircraft technically belonged to King George VI.”.

  30. Good start to the week which was difficult enough to stir the brain cells but not so difficult to stir my baser responses.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  31. I was interrupted quite a lot today, but the puzzle was OK. Nothing outstanding, although quite a bit of wit was evident, except I needed the hints for my LOI, 20d, which is just embarrassing as I play instruments.
    Hope everyone keeping well and thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Spooner gets B, D#, F# permutations from these instruments (9)
      My clue of the day, made me chuckle

  32. Enjoyable puzzle **/****, completed unaided for a change ,although I had the answer for 27a I cannot see how anyone could parse it without working backwards from the answer. Apologies to all who dislike the word parse🙄. Thanks to all.

  33. No major problems which is unusual for me on Mondays – I often find it hard to get on with Campbell.
    I did remember who “George” was but was too dim to see how the clue worked for ages. :roll:
    I know it’s a crossword clue so probably irrelevant but one like 1d feels a bit odd at this time of year.
    Lots of clues that I enjoyed today – my favourite was 20d.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  34. Another one of those days where the old trick of putting the paper down (leaving my brain whirring away in the background) and coming back to it after ten minutes enabled me to finish. Dead heat for COTD – 19a and 20d.

  35. Enjoyable Monday indeed, got first vaccine in-between starting and finishing. Vaccine doesn’t make you any better at crosswords BTW. Liked 21d, but the author is one of our own as we say here. Floored by George—Doh! Talking about apostrophes, and lingerie, a friend really did see the following notice at the bakery section of her local supermarket: “Please use the thong’s provided”.

  36. With regards to 1a, my husband helped design the first very automatic landings. I’m told the dangerous part was the drive home down the M4!
    You can imagine how cross I feel when the Americans clap at a successful landing. I believe there is a problem at Bristol because the runway isn’t flat.
    All these memories from one crossword clue!

  37. Nice start to the week 😃 **/*** Favourites 1a & 24a 👍 Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell

  38. As others, 1a reminded me of Airplane but 1d made me think Chocolate. I love opening the little doors to get my daily treat.
    Another movie came to mind in 19a: groundhog day.
    Listened to a bit of music after solving 18d and 24a.
    21d was unknown and needed to reveal the answer for this one.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  39. I often have a grumble about my inability to solve Campbell crosswords but not today. Completed and enjoyed. 20d gets my clue of the day. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  40. Did better than usual for a Campbell puzzle, so perhaps I am finally getting on wavelength. 6d gave me grief, so annoying for such a short word, and I was fixated on a different sort of Irish group for 18d. Also wasted time on 1a thinking it was something related to Sr. George, as it was so recent, although saw nothing in the DT on Friday. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  41. Enjoyed this apart from 21d, which I needed the answer for. Must improve my synonym source.

    Favourite was 20d because I solved a musical clue. 😀

    Thanks to all.

  42. All perfectly straightforward with no ‘until it wasn’t’. I’ve been on Campbell’s wavelength for some time now after struggling initially. I remembered George. I think Brian was just having a laugh. 20d was COTD by a country mile. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Leicester City just kicked off against Crystal Palace so must go.

  43. Very late to the party as I almost finished it in bed but couldn’t work out the second word of 1a (not having a clue who George was). As I picked up the paper this morning it came to me in a flash so I’m happy to report I finished this unaided. I thought it was going to be easy as I threw the clues in at the start but it then ground to a bit of a halt and it was only when I got 17a that I managed to get going again. ***/****

  44. Now that I can generally complete the Saturday cryptic morequicly than I used to, I am trying one of the others as practice. This one, 29659, I recognised because I did what I recall as a very similar one dating back a year or more – can’t remember exactly when. However, at the time I needed quite a bit of help from a couple of expert crossworders (on another forum I belong to). In fact, most of he answers sort of fell into place. I wonder if cryptic crosswords can be re–presented after a certain period of time. Not that it matters – as if my brain has developed a department for remembering clues, who am I to complain!!

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