DT 29664 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29664 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29664 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from a bright sunny Warrington, though by the time I finished the blog it’s turning rather grey in the distance.

A pleasant puzzle to match the day, most probably by Cephas, with the short concise clues and anagrams he is best known for, although no pangram lurking there.

Do let us know what you thought about it, but remember it is a prize puzzle and be careful about posting hints and obvious answers.

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:


1a Nothing perceptible initially, standing in shadow (10)
a letter that represents nothing, goes the first letter of PERCEPTIBLE followed by something that means a standing. For the definition, think politics and titles.

10a Test returns in regular order (4)
A hidden reversal.

12a Steed struggling with back in fact can’t stand (6)
An anagram of STEED followed by the last letter of FACT.

13a Turning out to be appropriate (8)
Two definitions.

15a Nice unmarried woman? (12)
You probably need to know that Nice is not meaning pleasant here, nor is it pronounced that way, in this cryptic all-in-one definition.

18a One’s inclined to use admin in building (12)
An anagram (building) of TO USE ADMIN IN.

21a Prepares tomatoes perhaps, and other items? (8)
Two definitions one cryptic, and one could refer to how they prepare them for use in the Whistle Stop Café?

25a Constable would have had one tidying up trash in pub (10)
An anagram of three of the words. Don’t think of policemen.

27a Polish were fine men, though not entirely (10).
Hidden answer.


1d Performing team not anticipating referee’s whistle? (6)
Two sporting definitions. One where the team is playing, the other in soccer where a goal can’t be disallowed.

3d Going around island, day works fine (12)
Around the abbreviation for island goes the short name for a day of the week and the name for somewhere to work.

5d Where television aerial is usually free (2,3,5)
An expression that means free is where you’d normally put an aerial in this double definition.

8d Mat originally straightened, dragged through the mud (8)
The first letter of MAT, plus a word meaning straightened.

11d Great message about drone is broadcast (12)
The 1940’s and 50’s equivalent of a text message goes around an anagram (broadcast) of DRONE IS.

14d Due to leave centre, release planned (10)
Due loses its middle and a word meaning to release.

16d Wonderful hitting tennis ball hard (8)
Double definition, a word meaning wonderful is also a term in tennis.

19d Unable to speak about fashionable time (6)
Around a word meaning fashionable or chic goes something meaning unable to speak.

23d Testament maintained by perfect opponent (4)
A section of the Bible goes inside an abbreviation for perfect.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today is something short and sweet but very beautiful.

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: silly+cone+ship=silicone chip

88 comments on “DT 29664 (Hints)

  1. All completed in *** time, just about par for a Saturday.

    I was completely at a loss to parse 14d, not a letter of it, but bunged it in anyway. After another cuppa, it dawned on me. Very clever.

    COTD was 21a though, I like that sort of tangential thinking.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Tilsit.

  2. I spelt 15a with an ‘a’ as the 4th letter which stopped me solving 14d, until I realised the error of my ways..

    1. I doubt you will be the only one. In fact you aren’t as I did the same and couldn’t believe Google when it asked “did you mean ‘xxxxxxxxxxxx?’.

      1. I didn’t even try – just look it up to save the bother of correction later. Along with that fancy Italian bread it’s one I always spell wrongly.

        1. With Italian, if you know how to pronounce it, it’s easier to spell it and if you know how to spell it, it’s easier to pronounce it. It’s nearly always to do with Cs and what vowel comes after……….

        2. H
          You are worse than me, how do you get get “wrongly” it is nothing like xxxxxxxxxxxx! 😁

  3. Lots of well constructed clues. **/*** I was equally puzzled by 14d for a while but I concur with Malcolm, it’s a clever clue. My favourite is also 21a. The quickie crossword was anything but for me this morning. It seems a lot of the answers could have come straight out of the Beano! Thanks to all.

  4. Naughty corner for you Tilsit I fear – hint for 12a
    Hope the cake is good.

  5. I thought this a very pleasant steady puzzle with some good clues. I agree with MalcolmR about 21a but just prefer the nice construction of 3d for my COTD. **/*** for me with thanks to the setter and of course Tilsit as well.

    The sky in Plymouth is darkening as I see it is in Warrington.

  6. Very good puzzle today which, as yesterday, was solvable by reading the clues carefully. 25a, and 5d deserve honourable mentions but my favourite today is the very clever 21a.

    My thanks to Tilsit and the setter whoever they are.

  7. Not the most exciting SPP but moderately enjoyable(2.5*/2.5*). 14d was tricky, a bit vague dor my taste, as were a few of the other clues. COTD was 21a. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to the compiler.

  8. Other than taking an embarrassingly long time to spot the lurker at 27a a reasonably brisk solve in between what is becoming increasingly obvious is a futile effort to make further progress with yesterday’s proXimal Toughie. Some nice clues on offer here of which 1&21a & best of all 14d were my picks.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit

  9. Slow start but it all worked out eventually with South acquiescing first. 0verall it was an enjoyable challenge. Fortunately I’m of a certain age so had no problem with 6a or 11d (message). 23d seems rather unimaginative. It could be argued that a 26a may not necessarily be charming! Favs 15a (chestnut?), 21a and 14d. Agree with Greta re Quickie being slow-going. Thank you Mysteron and also to hinty Tilsit (Eau Sauvage was so soothing and stress-busting).

  10. Good solid SPP fare for me. Enjoyable satisfying solve in *** time.
    Wrong 4th letter in 15a held me up with 14d. Spent too long sorting it out. If I recall 15a, redresses the gender balance nicely.
    Would get COTD but for that, instead 3d gets my vote.
    Thanks to setter for the challenge and Tilsit for the hints.
    Have a nice Bank Holiday all.

  11. I agree that 21a is lovely clue, but I don’t think Tilsit’s hint is quite correct. No way of discussing though as this isn’t the Whistle Stop cafe and the steps may have no cake!
    I thought 8d was the best clue.
    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.
    I wish it would warm up a bit, if only to help the odd bit of outdoor socialising.

    1. I agree on the correctness of Tilsit’s hint for 21a – probably not a double definition as a term associated with tomatoes, based on the answer, is hyphenated in the BRB.

  12. A great puzzle with just the right amount of head scratching required. Several good clues such as 13a and 27a but my COTD is 21a for the terrific penny drop moment it gave.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit. By the way, Tilsit, shouldn’t the third word in the Quickie pun be “ship”? I couldn’t do the Quickie today because I found it too obscure and there are other curved solid objects.

    Many thanks for Vangelis. :good:

    1. Only two Quickie answers required for the pun as I had ‘ship’ for 7a and that was ‘accepted’ on electronic submission.

        1. In the DT Puzzle Web Site version 7a is Frigate or galleon? (4) and as I said above my answer of SHIP was ‘accepted’ on submission.

          And, of course, there is no italicising of clues in the web site version to indicate ‘pun’ clues.

          Is it the same clue in the dead tree version?

            1. Hmm! I must be extremely dense this morning as I cannot see how CHIP can be the answer to the clue.

              1. It isn’t, Senf. It is “ship” but Tilsit has put “chip” as the third letter of the Quickie pun when he should have put “ship”.

                    1. IMHO the whole of the quickie needs a Hmm and in addition is so difficult that we needed hints for that in addition to those for the cryptic puzzle. As mentioned earlier a lot of the answers would appear to have come from the Beano.

  13. I will happily join others who chose 21a as their top clue this morning. The whole puzzle was beautifully clued and a joy to complete, and with just about the right level of difficulty for a SPP.

    My thanks to Cephas, if it is indeed one of yours, and to Tilsit.

  14. 2.5*/3.5*. A pleasant not too taxing prize puzzle with 21a my favourite.

    Tilsit, I took “performing team” in 1d to be wordplay rather than a second definition.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. A synonym for performing is followed by a synonym for a team. Together they form a position in association football (and many other sports) that would not trouble a referee

      1. Thanks very much, Senf. 👍
        As I said above, “performing team [is] wordplay” not definition.

  15. A bit, well a lot, of a head scratcher for me which impacted on the enjoyment – 3.5*/2.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 26a, 8d, and 19d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to the setter, we must be (over)due a Cephas, and Tilsit.

  16. I found this very tricky. My excuse is giving a fence four coats of ‘one coat’ paint on Thursday, followed by contorting myself into all angles completing four coats of ‘one coat’ paint yesterday doing the ‘cutting in’. First world problems can be most exhausting.

    Lola is fine and spending more and more time outdoors. Cat door to be inserted after the weekend.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Billboard 1969 – The Hot 100 (Spotify Playlist)

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

    1. Excellent news about Lola. So pleased. We had a big debate about whether we should replace the falling apart 5 barred gate. I reckon at our age is it worth it? George decided to paint it. The amount of paint he is having to apply makes a new gate seem more economical!

  17. Pleased to read that I wasn’t alone in using an incorrect letter in 15a – made 14d extremely difficult for a while.
    Really don’t like the American term at 9a, quite off-putting!
    Going with the general flow, I’ll name 21a as my favourite.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the review – still sunny here but the breeze is picking up so it may well change later.
    Off to see what theme Chalicea has come up with for her latest NTSPP, hope it’s one that I know something about!

    1. Oh jane I do so agree about 9a they are an abomination, both name and garment. I don’t like 26a either and I don’t think the word has ever crossed my lips.

    2. Please can someone explain what the NTSPP is? It’s be puzzling me for ages…!

      1. Well the puzzle which is the subject of this blog is the Saturday Prize Puzzle.

        So, the NTSPP is the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle. For 586 weeks, so far, Big Dave has persuaded some setters to produce a puzzle which is only published on the blog site and is available for our enjoyment if we run out of other things to do on a Saturday. Then the review appears on Sunday.

        The NTSPP has also turned out to be a ‘stepping stone’ for some setters to ‘graduate’ from the Rookie puzzle and then move on from the NTSPP to one of the nationally published puzzle organisations.

  18. Enjoyable with quite a lot of head scratching for me. I’m still left with 2 bung-ins at 4d and 5d – for 4d I have a synonym for catch, and for 5d a phrase for free, but can’t work out how they fit with the rest of the clue.
    Like many others my COTD is 21a.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

    1. Did anyone else hear the clang just now, as the penny finally dropped for me on 5d? D’OH! Couldn’t get loose out of my mind.
      Just 4d to sort out now

  19. I found this one quite challenging but got there in the end. Agree with everyone about 21a.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    Weather very changeable here in Dundee. Alternating rain and sunshine and rather cool. Went for my postponed second jag this morning and, inevitably, was caught in a shower as I returned home. Bah!

  20. Very very tricky indeed. Highly complex clues and I found 11d & 18a very poor clues. There does not appear to be a lurker indicator in 27a.
    A hard slog to finish and very little enjoyment, certainly no fun.
    Hard to like this puzzle in any way.
    Thx for the hints

    1. ps. Brian, I’m not entirely sure why 11d & 18a are very poor clues. Could you, please, explain?

      1. It’s simple, Jepi. I think it just means he doesn’t like them, although I agree it’s difficult to see why that should be! :wacko:

  21. At first sweep this seemed impenetrable but on closer inspection all the elements were there. I agree that 21a was very neat, and smugly I have to say I got the spelling of 15a right! When I was unable to go to Cambridge because of a really bad dose of glandular fever my father suggested I should go to a secretarial college to learn shorthand and typing which would always be useful. We briefly touched on shorthand in french and German. Some years later when I was temping between jobs I boldly told them of my foreign language skills. They sent me to a circus and believe me it was mega difficult putting circus acts into shorthand. I lasted a day and a half!

  22. ***/***. Quite a struggle in parts but enjoyed the clever 21a and 27a for a well disguised lurker. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  23. I don’t think tomatoes are prepared in that way at the Whistle Stop Cafe….

    1. The only thing to do with green tomatoes is to make chutney with them!

      1. No – fried green tomatoes are delicious! They come in a crispy coating. Totally yummy.

  24. Pretty enjoyable apart from 14d, which I required the hint for. I only got 15a correct after seeing the comments above, but still needed the hint for 14d. I wasn’t keen on the use of “leave” in this instance.

    Thanks to all.

  25. We didn’t find it as difficult as some but a bit of head scratching was required. Didn’t spot the lurker in 27a until after we’d put the answer in. As with the majority favourite was 21a. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  26. At first glance this looked pretty tricky but once I had got a couple of the long ones it fell into place albeit quite slowly. Agree that 21a is absolutely first class. Completely missed the lurker. My Florence Nightingale rang yesterday to see how I was so I told her how well it was all going. She absolutely loved the chocolates we sent but Waitrose is a 36 mile round trip. Aha, but Salthouse Stores is just down the road which is where they came from. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

  27. Had to work hard on this one, partly my own doing but ended up with 2.5*/**** Some well constructed clues (like 8d & 11d) and some that snarled me up. Like Earleybird (see note2), I too made the same mistake that slowed things down until I figured out my misspell … DUH!
    Favourites 6a, 25a, 5d & 11d with 25a winner and 5d runner up, that made me smile

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for hints

  28. Fortunately I knew I didn’t know how to spell 15a so looked it up. Otherwise a straightforward solve. Thanks all.

  29. A good crossword – I enjoyed it and thought it had enough tricky bits but not too many.
    I always do the quickie first – that was a real little piglet.
    I agree with Jane and DG about 9a – horrible things – why would anyone?
    13a has foxed me before and it did again, as has the ‘message’ in 11d.
    My favourite was 25a but lots of other good clues too.
    Thanks to whoever set today’s crossword and to Tilsit.

  30. Great challenge – all finished…🤞 for the competition! 😜
    Thanks to the setter (Cephas?) and to Tilsit for today’s blog ‘n hints.

  31. That was a real gem of a puzzle, always very happy when I can finish, or almost finish, without help. Just needed 3 hints, and I really shouldn’t have needed those, but never mind. 5d was a definite LOL moment, loved it. And I took exactly the same picture shown in 15a when we were there for 3 nights in 2019, in the halcyon pre Covid days. Big thank you to the setter, I would love more like this one, and thanks also to Tilsit.

  32. Very late today, a long lie-in after working puzzles through the night and trying to finish a *mystery that just won’t end, one complication after another (well, that’s life!). I thought today’s puzzle was rather like an anagramfest for me, and I mostly breezed through it, with 25a and 18a taking the Silver and Bronze, but 13a winning the Gold, as well as my heart. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s teasing setter. ** / ****

    *For Jane and others: I have returned to Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler mysteries and am now on #5. This is the one that kept me up all night, The Shadows in the Street. It was CrypticSue who got me started on Simon; I then read three of the books and got distracted by circumstances…anyway, I’ve returned to the scene.

    1. Think I might return to them as well, I certainly enjoyed The Various Haunts of Men. At the moment, I’m reading another book that CS recommended – Miss Austen – and I’ve got the two tomes that finish off the Fen Follett trilogy waiting in the wings.

  33. A fun puzzle – started off quite tricky but fell into place and I just needed electrons for the last three, one of which (7d) was a bit of a d’oh. Thanks to Tilsit and Cephas **/****

  34. Nice Saturday crossword. I couldn’t get 14 down, as I’d spelled 15across with a second A.
    I’ve always spelled 15A that way, which I thought logical as the mature form has a second A. Merde !

  35. Sunday afternoon and so far I’ve done 9 answers!! From reading the above interesting posts, I see I have the third word of the three-word clue wrong. I’m stuck on 18 across at the moment. I’ve requested a hint from my friendly expert on another forum, but no luck so far. I think I’ll need to google it. :)

    Well, I have all week to do, as per Magnus Magnusson, I’ve started so I’ll finish it. nothing planned except my weekly reader visit. At the moment she is reading to me ‘Kiss Myself Goodbye’ by Ferdinand Mount, which we are both enjoying very much.

    1. Keep at it, kid ! My friend George is a flasher. I implored him to stop doing it, he says he will, but has decided to stick it out a bit longer !
      Seriously, regarding the crossword, you’ll get a good feeling when you complete it.
      Good luck !✅

  36. Same mistake as earlybird which is a bit embarrassing as I speak French. Didn’t spot the lurker till very end 😤

  37. All done apart from 22a, can’t get it. Yes, as others, misspelt 15a but quickly realised the error. 13a is in but not sure if correct so look forward to the big reveal.

  38. Bit too tough for me, this one. Four or five I just couldn’t get and had to throw in the towel. Very nicely clued though I agree.

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