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DT 29678

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29678

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. We learned from Monday's Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter that the compiler of last Tuesday's back-pager was Anthony Plumb. But I have no idea who composed today's offering, so it would be great if they dropped in to tell us. There was a sprinkling of general knowledge required to solve it completely, but nothing too obscure if you know your authors. All in all it was an enjoyable solve at the usual Tuesday level.

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    OAP scrubbing head with fruit with bad acne's emergence (10)
APPEARANCE:  Link together OAP minus its first letter (scrubbing head), a fruit that grows on trees, and an anagram (bad) of ACNE 

6a    Quantity some keep in tankard (4)
PINT:  The wordplay tell us that the answer is hidden as some of KEEP IN TANKARD, while the entire clue can serve as the definition. Fun fact from Wikipedia: In previous centuries, the pewter used to make tankards often contained lead, which exposed the drinker to medical effects, ranging from heavy metal poisoning to gout. This effect was exacerbated in cider-drinking areas—such as Somerset, UK—as the acidity of the cider leached the lead from the pewter more quickly. Clay tankards became prevalent in this area   

9a    How to walk  slowly (4,2,4)
STEP BY STEP:  The dictionary definition of the answer is slowly or methodically. Taken literally it also describes how to walk

Ministry of Silly Walks

10a   Parrot from Spain husband caught over and over (4)
ECHO:  Put together the IVR code for Spain, the reversal (over) of the single letters for husband and for caught, and the cricket abbreviation for over

12a   Spots the Queen's bit of bacon (6)
RASHER:  Spots on the skin followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth 

13a   Dressing up military volunteers -- flipping exhausting (8)
ATTIRING:  Follow the reversal (flipping) of some usual military volunteers with a synonym of exhausting 

15a   Greediest man's silly argument (12)
DISAGREEMENT:  An anagram ( … 's silly) of GREEDIEST MAN 

18a   Silver-tongued model took posh men around sierra (6-6)
SMOOTH-SPOKEN:  An anagram (model, as an imperative) of TOOK POSH MEN containing (around) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by sierra

Giraffe with a silverish tongue

21a   Travellers here left in boat surrounded by affectations of superiority (8)
AIRPORTS:  The nautical left contained by (surrounded by) some affectations of superiority 

22a   Tax returns in Yemeni art schools (6)
STRAIN:  The reversal (returns) of the answer is hidden in the remainder of the clue 

24a   Murdoch maybe in ruins, oddly (4)
IRIS:  Odd letters (oddly) of IN RUINS. Maybe indicates that the definition is by example. Read about it here   

25a   Yank with new perfume, leaving Charlie particularly fortunate (6-4)
HEAVEN-SENT:  Assemble yank or tug, the abbreviation for new, and a synonym of perfume minus the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by charlie (leaving Charlie)

If fortunate meant possessing a fortune ...

26a   Choke with fourth of cream crackers (4)
GAGA:  Choke or block with the fourth letter of CREAM 

27a   Disputed church claim about rear of organ diameter (10)
CHALLENGED:  Concatenate the map abbreviation for church, claim or contend containing (about) the last letter (rear) of ORGAN, and the single letter abbreviation for diameter 



1d    Grey animal on river? Seal (6)
ASSURE:  A beast of burden that may come in grey is followed by a North Yorkshire river 

2d    Want pressure let out (6)
PLEASE:  The physics symbol for pressure with let out or rent 

3d    EU perhaps repositioned above Britain (12)
ABBREVIATION:  An anagram (repositioned) of ABOVE BRITAIN. Perhaps indicates a definition by example 

4d    Failing to ignore large part of church (4)
APSE:  A failing or error minus the clothing abbreviation for large (to ignore large) 

5d    City uncovered stone for writer (10)
CHESTERTON:  A city in NW England followed by the inner letters (uncovered) of STONE. Read about the author here 

7d    Bent hip, 100 and wrinkled (8)
INCLINED:  Cement together hip or fashionable, the Roman hundred, and a synonym of wrinkled

Very bent human

8d    However tense, start to share ideas (8)
THOUGHTS:  Chain together another word for however, the abbreviation for grammatical tense, and the first letter of (start to) SHARE 

11d   Replace ten fleeces in long period inside (4,8)
LIFE SENTENCE:  An anagram (replace, read as re-place) of TEN FLEECES IN 

14d   Bats he let feast -- they normally come out at night (5,5)
FALSE TEETH:  An anagram (bats, as in crazy) of HE LET FEAST 

16d   Checking wood cut by saw (8)
ASSAYING:  All but the last letter (cut) of a type of wood followed by a saw or adage 

17d   Lamenting unpleasant smell in old vase? Just the opposite (8)
MOURNING:  Inverting the wordplay (just the opposite) we insert both the abbreviation for old and a type of vase in an informal UK word for an unpleasant smell 

19d   Scoundrel's naughty urge (3,3)
BAD EGG:  Naughty or not good with urge or encourage 

20d   Joined university and connected with no one (6)
UNITED:  An informal contraction of university followed by a synonym of connected minus the Roman one (with no one) 

23d   Be up for wickedness (4)
EVIL:  The reversal (up, in a down clue) of be or exist 


Thanks to today’s setter. I'm picking 6a as my favourite clue in this puzzle. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  ARK + TIC + HAIRS = ARCTIC HARES     

69 comments on “DT 29678

  1. I thought most of this was pretty straightforward but there were one or two where the synonyms were less than obvious and the wordplay quite clever.
    Podium places go to 3,17& 20d, though liked 21a&16d too
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

      1. Hi, Stephen. Glad you liked it. I try to find something different when it comes to music videos.

        1. Yes and I’m sure the music lovers amongst us appreciate your efforts Mr K.

  2. This really wasn’t my cup of tea, although I finished it in the usual time (2*/1*). Overall, I found the clues were wordy and convoluted, whilst some were a bit clunky and lacking polish in the surface read. It didn’t help that 17d used a synonym for an unpleasant smell which is one of my non-favourite words. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler for his/her efforts.

  3. 2*/3*. That was enjoyably different, although I wasn’t over keen on 21a. It took me a while to unscramble the parsing for 10a. How silly is that when all that is needed so to rearrange four letters into the correct order!

    3d was an excellent anagram and it joins 8d & 16d on my podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. Re 10a, I looked everywhere to find shoo=parrot. Wotta lotta trouble four letters can cause, woe is me!

      1. I echo your experience with that one; penultimate solution. Often have trouble with the 4-letter words. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  4. Nothing to frighten the horses today, a slow start but a steady progression to the end in **/*** time.

    I did think that the construction of 21a was particularly clever. (Sorry, RD).

    Thanks to the compiler and Mr.K.

  5. That unpleasant smell–eeuw!–is new to me, and like Chriscross, I don’t even like the sound of it, but there you are. Apparently it exists but do we have to ‘smell’ it on the grid? All right, I’ll be nice. I rather enjoyed today’s puzzle, with Father Brown’s creator making a cameo appearance, and Lady Gaga side-stepping in, unannounced, as well as the great author of The Sea,The Sea and The Bell. (If you haven’t read those two, my literary friends, you must.) Top two clues for me: 18 and 25a. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. ** / ****

    Nice doable Toughie today.

    1. I enjoyed her books when I was young but I think I would find her a bit heavy going in old age!

  6. All pretty straightforward today though I didn’t solve & parse it particularly quickly. Pleasant & enjoyable enough without being anything to write home about. No real favourites but the 3d anagram was neat & I’m with Malcolm on 21a.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K

  7. A very enjoyable puzzle this morning – was going smoothly until from the E to the NW before being delayed in the SW through not initially spotting the key to 18a. It felt “different” from the off and I generally enjoyed the constructions, variety of clue types and many of the surfaces. Plenty of smiles and I thought some of the anagrams were very clever, especially 3d & 15a. A bit of hummmmm noted against 1d, but COTD for me shared between 25a and 17d.

    2.5* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the mystery Setter and to Mr K for the review.


  8. Just a star up from the usual Monday puzzle and a sound start to the week ,Going for a **/***
    The17a unpleasant smell synonym is rarely seen in print these days and the 2d want synonym was new to me-confirmed in my Chambers.
    Liked the surface of 25a and the 18a anagram.
    Thanks to Mr K for the pics and liked the Quickie Pun

  9. Really enjoyed this one. Both 21A and 25A I thought were very clever — and 14D gave me a chuckle!

  10. 17d stumped me because I understood the reversal but the informal UK word for an unpleasant smell can also describe an.old vase, so confused me. Clever misdirection.

  11. I’m in the same camp as Chriscross today in that this one really didn’t ‘float my boat’. Aside from some clunky wording and odd surface reads I’m not convinced that 2d on its own represents ‘want’ and 18a seemed to be a case of ‘nearly but not quite’. Least said about the smell in 17d the better!

    Apologies to our setter and thanks to Mr K for the review – I did enjoy the reminder of The Ministry of Silly Walks!

    1. Hi, jane. Re 2d, how about something like You can do it if you want/if you please? Perhaps not exactly the same meaning, but close enough for crosswordland.

    2. J. I know it’s not the BRB, but Collins Online Thesaurus gives want as the primary synonym:

      2 (verb) in the sense of want
      to regard as suitable or satisfying
      The money is mine to spend as I please.
      be inclined
      see fit

  12. Another enjoyable puzzle today with many clues well very written. Never heard of ming as a pong and on checking it turned out to be Scots ; enough said. I just thought it connected with the Ming Dynasty and ignored the smell of the Scots.

    13a and 25a deserve honourable mentions and I also liked the clever anagrams.

    My thanks to Mr K and the unknown setter.

    1. I was on to the Ming Dynasty too. I have heard of someone or something being minging but not the shorter version.

  13. A very pleasant Tuesday puzzle, which gave me plenty of time on my Monday evening for the head scratching Dada Toughie – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 25a, and 8d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  14. Found this a bit lifeless. East plainer sailing than West. 16d didn’t occur to me although that saw does seem to be a bad penny. Concentrated in vain on grey in 1d. Never heard of the 17d smell so first thought was pong. Nothing to call Fav. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  15. 17d was widely used in the Army in 1960s, also to mean dirty, untidy, disorganised, i.e. unsoldierly

  16. A great Tuesday puzzle that was mostly straightforward but had one or two “googlies” to keep the grey cells on their toes. The SE corner held out the longest but it began to fall into place once I sorted out 18a and 21a. I liked 1a because it had me pondering “(P)ensioner” for ages. I sometimes think I look for complication where none exist! My COTD is 25a.

    Finished unaided but I had a couple of bung ins so I need to check them.

    Grateful thanks to the setter. Please pop in and take a bow. Many thanks to Mr. K for the hints which I will now read and look for cats.

    1. Steve you are keen on cooking – did you watch Nigella last night? Irritating she certainly is, but also I imagine one of life’s instinctive cooks. I thought if you as I watched, for some reason!

      1. I didn’t watch her Daisygirl but I’m honoured you thought of me as you watched Nigella. What was she cooking? Was it in her My crow wavy? :smile:

  17. An enjoyable Tuesday puzzle. As we live close to farmland, I am used to the occasional (outer letters of) 17d. However the word itself is an unattractive one.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – Déjà Vu (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition). Released this week, and retailing at an eye-watering sixty-five quid on Amazon. I’m listening on Spotify.

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr. K.

    1. Lovely Lola seems to be thinking “I wish he would get my cat flap sorted”.

    2. Have to ask. What’s on the deluxe that’s not on my vinyl original? Great album.

  18. Thought after the dreadful 1d and 3D terrible synonyms this was not going to be good but the rest apart from 16d was actually excellent. Such a shame to include those 2 clues and 16d was not much better.
    But on the whole enjoyable.
    Thx to all
    **/*** (* removed for the above clues)

    1. I’m with you on 1d but not 3d. Surely 3d is a rather clever anagram contained within a refreshingly brief clue.

      1. I agree with you, WW, on 3d … good anagram with EU the definition

  19. Straightforward with only a slight pause to parse 16d. I’m with Jane on 2d. Thanks to Mr K. and today’s setter.

  20. Thought this was going to be a DNF like yesterday when I was flying through only to come to a shuddering halt with 21a and 17d. However perseverance paid off today and finally the penny dropped.
    26a & 14a raised a smile and like others I thought 3D was an excellent anagram.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  21. Thought 17d was a very odd clue. ‘Unpleasant smell in old vase’ when the answer was ‘old vase in unpleasant smells. The answer was also supposed to be the opposite of lamenting, not a synonym for it.

    1. Hello Frank. I think you should revisit the clue, revisit the hint and revisit the answer. It is all in order. Shipshape and correct. I’ve not seen your name here before so welcome to the blog. The fount of all crosswording knowledge

    2. Frank, the “just the opposite” instruction crops up fairly often in cryptic crosswords, and the reversal is applied to the wordplay (“unpleasant smell in old vase”) not the definition (“lamenting”) as indicated by Mr K in his review.

    3. Hello, Frank. We also see on the contrary, quite the reverse, and similar phrases used sometimes to indicate that the solver’s first step should be to invert the wordplay.

  22. **/***. Enjoyable steady solve. Thanks to Mr K and our setter. The rain arrived today and very much needed.

  23. Some great clues (3d and 14d) and some clunky clues (1a and 1d) but overall an enjoyable solve. Thank you setter and mr K

  24. Found this a little tricky in spots so my ranking today 2.5*/*** Clues for favourites today include 6a, 9a, 12a, 5d & 19d with my winner being 6d for simplicity and 5d.
    Did not know the old word that was part of 17d as I came up with ‘pong’ and that just didn’t work, so a new word there for me

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  25. Late in the day for me but never too late to thank our compiler and Mr K. 17d was not my favourite clue by a long chalk, with the misdirection defeating my attempt at parsing, but I really liked the excellent anagram at 3d.

    Having been dragged around the city walls of York after a three drive I am not sure I have the energy to attempt the Toughie now. Looking forward to eating in a restaurant tonight for the first time in five months.

  26. Struggled somewhat with this. Don’t know why and don’t recognise the setter. A lot are not difficult looking back but struggled with the word play. Did not like 1d and surprised it slipped past the Editor. 2d was easy to solve but perhaps “I want” would make more sense than “Want”. My last one in was 16d. I had that saw in mind and also the wood but missed the significance of cut. When I parsed in retrospect – thanks Mr K – I thought it a good clue. Favourites 25a and 3 and 14d. Thank you setter. Please unmask yourself.

  27. Disappointing today. Chriscross pretty much voiced my sentiments. The clues seemed particularly unhelpful. I feel I must be as pictured in 25a. I couldn’t even understand the hint. Well done to those who can solve this one. Not my cup of tea. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  28. I enjoyed this, needing lots to reference to my thesaurus for synonyms! I’m in the never-heard-of camp for the smell, I knew my answer had to be right, everything else clicked so it had to be right.
    I loved the anagrams, they popped out at me on reading the clues. I couldn’t decide if 16d began with “e” or “a”, but now I’ve seen the “wood”, that’s OK, it just takes the tiny brain longer for the penny to drop.
    My fave is 8d, and I did like 3d, see nothing wrong with it, rather clever really.
    Thanks to whomsoever set this, and, natch, lots of appreciation to Mr. K for my pics and hints. Phoebe is still sulking and I feel she’s a little under the weather. At 18, I’m not anxious to put her in a carrier and take her to the vet, she might retire into her shell more.

  29. When I set sail on this puzzle it seemed so very straight forward but then turbulence with a few clues causing much head scratching 🤔 ***/**** Favourites 21a & 16d 😃 What would compilers do without the alternative meaning of saw! I have never known it used except in crossword puzzles 😳 Thanks to Mr K and to the Compiler

  30. I also had to check the smell in 17d but didn’t come across Vicky Pollard when I did.
    The writer in 5d was new to me and forgot to parse 27a which was a right bung in.
    Liked the left in boat in 21a.
    Favourite is the lurker in 6a too.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review.

    1. Hi Skeeter,
      You can do as you want/please and even post a little more thoughts on the crossword.

  31. I’m in the “I didn’t have a problem with ming” camp this evening. My biggest problem with it was that I was trying to fit b o in there. All pretty straightforward, no gripes or moans, just good stuff. Favourite was 25a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K. Off to the pub in a bit. 🍺

  32. Gosh! Completed 2 days in a row. 14d made me chuckle and last two in 15d and 26a. Many thanks to Mr K and to the setter.
    Had some decent weather today and enjoyed a good walk round the local reservoir followed by a few hours gentle gardening. Feel smugly satisfied! Have a good evening everyone. By

  33. Brilliant!
    Enjoyed thoroughly and finished in one session – thanks you our setter who’s wavelength appears to somewhat accessible! 👍
    I’ve got to pass a special thanks to Mr K for the “Echo Beach” 30th anniversary video (now 40 years ago I think!) – found myself getting a tad emotional listening to it and remembering my ‘excellent’ dance moves as a bright young thing back in the early 80s 😳

  34. Pleased to say I completed this one so enjoyed it once I got going. */***. Did not understand some of the convoluted parsing and still don’t but thanks for the clues and hints….

  35. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, the last half a dozen clues took me a lot longer than the rest of the puzzle. Everything about it was interesting, there was a lot of very good misdirection. 27a made me laugh, shades of Ray T. I liked 6a,14&17d. I took ages to realise that 3d was an anagram. Favourite was 20d. Last in was 16d. Was 4* /4* for me.

  36. I found this all fairly straightforward up until the last two clues for which I unfortunately had to enlist the help of electrons. I didn’t pick up ‘model’ as an anagram indicator in 18a and the phrase didn’t come to mind (despite having the second word); and I didn’t get ming for smell in 17d. Young people talk about things being “minging” but it doesn’t necessarily imply they smell bad. I’m taking a star off for that clue as I didn’t think it was very good (and I agree with the consensus on 1d) but otherwise I found this quite interesting with some unusual clues. **/***

  37. Didn’t enjoy today a great deal.

    16d defeated me and 18a is a term I have never heard before. It also sounds wrong somehow…

    Thanks to all.

  38. It seemed to me there was something odd about today’s offering – or maybe I was feeling off. I don’t think I have ever come across the Scottish smell, Grandma Angus would certainly never have used the word! and I am not sure that an ass is grey, is it? I would have thought what we called, in the sixties, Donkey Brown. Saved by the anagrams. I got there in the end. Thanks to the setter and mr K, we are enjoying the reruns of Fawlty Towers – that man really could do extraordinarily things with his legs – and the less said about the photograph for 7d the better!

  39. Struggled with this one and, for me 17d was a biff. I had not known about the slang word for bad smell. However, the answer included Ming as in old vase and also an urn so I felt sure it would work out. ****/***

  40. 3^/4*…
    liked the nightime feasters in 14D and the pic of the cat with the funny walk in the hint to 9A.

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