DT 29686 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29686

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29686

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty  ***Enjoyment ***

Following a stroke Kath is currently indisposed. She is being cared for at home. Her husband Chris writes ‘Things are improving: still some difficulty finding words but can read reasonably well and enjoyed the blog comments that I printed out for her and would like to thank everyone’.

Today’s puzzle from RayT started well with 1 across writing itself in but slowed right down after that. Familiarity with RayT’s style of clue writing and a few anagrams offered enough checking letters to provide a framework for finding the obvious word that fits and working out how it suits the wordplay and definition. A filled grid is a filled grid and that will do me nicely thank you

Usually both The quick crossword and The Cryptic Crossword are compiled by the same setter each day


Only uses single word clues in the quickie puzzle 

Only uses single word answers in the Cryptic puzzle

Has a self imposed maximum count of eight words per clue

Often includes The Queen or Her Majesty in a clue

Nearly always has an acrostic or initial letters clue

Often uses the sweetheart indicator for the letter E

Uses unusual synonyms 

Is a master at hiding answers in clues

Is mischievous with his use of innuendo 

Is a tough nut to crack but a source of joy once cracked

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Vehement cheat’s in US it turned out (12)
ENTHUSIASTIC:  Nice to start with a long and easy anagram (turned out) of CHEATS IN US IT

8a        Unlucky in love with nothing inside bar (7)
OMINOUS: Begin with the letter which represents the zero score in tennis. Add a word meaning bar or except for. Insert the letter that looks like the number nothing

9a        Inflates charges after sales occasionally (7)
AERATES: A word meaning charges, fees, or prices sits after the alternate letters in the word sales

11a      Clean some steps to protect Queen (7)
STERILE: These steps may be used as a means to safely climb over a fence. They surround the regal cypher of our wonderful queen

12a      Caught person embracing charity worker (7)
CHUGGER: The abbreviation for caught is followed by a person engaging in an embrace, a cuddle, a clutch, an embosoming or in Welsh a cwtch. The answer is a wonderful word, a welcome late addition to the dictionary and an enhancement of the global language that is English

13a      Reportedly puts in order forms (5)
RITES: A rather stretched synonym of the word forms is also a homophone (reportedly) of a word meaning to put in order or correct

14a      Chamberlain, from time back, keeping confident (9)
TREASURER: This keeper of public funds can be found by placing a word meaning confident or certain inside another word meaning the back of something and putting what you have after the abbreviation for time

16a      Completely unwarranted eating crew ration (9)
ALLOTMENT: Begin with a word meaning complete. Add the abbreviation for over the top. Insert a three-lettered verb meaning to crew or staff 

19a      Comings and goings of couples adopting daughter (5)
TIDES: The plural of a word meaning to couple attach or fasten sits around the abbreviation for daughter

21a      Meals commonly help tips in pubs (7)
INDIANS: Reverse (tips) a word meaning to help and stick it in a word similar to pubs. Places that are  pubs but also provide accommodation. Clue of the day

23a      Orderly welcomes ordinary sailor (7)
BOATMAN: An officers personal assistant contains the abbreviation for ordinary

24a      Was left holding sprog’s head (7)
EXISTED: The initial letter of the word sprog sits inside a word meaning left as in Elvis has left the building

25a      Bad English criminal turning criminal (7)
ILLEGAL: Begin with a word meaning bad as in poorly. Add the abbreviation for English. Add the reverse of an old criminal 

26a      Pedigree herd bought or flogged (12)


1d        Great, sweetheart, yours truly’s not without love (7)
EMINENT: Begin with the central (heart) letter of the word sweet. Add a word meaning belonging to me. Add the word not from the clue minus its middle letter (without love)

2d        World circles points round radius (7)
TROPICS: Wrap a word meaning points or matters under discussion around the abbreviation for radius

3d        Lay bare in sun’s heat, heating (9)
UNSHEATHE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

4d        Israelite Sarah and Abraham created initially (5)
ISAAC: The initial letters of some words in the clue as indicated by the word initially strangely enough

5d        Springs and streams around river (7)
SPROUTS: Streams of liquid issuing forth with great pressure or speed encircling the abbreviation for river

6d        Milan team contains, say, eleven? (7)
INTEGER: One of Milan’s many football teams (Don’t whinge if you don’t know much about football, Google it) contains the abbreviation used for for example or say

7d        Traditional voters cave in, unfortunately (12)
CONSERVATIVE: Anagram (unfortunately) of VOTERS CAVE IN

10d      Incredibly uncivil about quietly revolting (12)
SURPRISINGLY:  A three part charade with instructions. 1 A word meaning uncivil, bad tempered and unfriendly 2 The musical notation for quietly 3 A rebellion or act of revolt

15d      Found habit less outrageous (9)
ESTABLISH: Anagram (outrageous) of HABIT LESS

17d      Manly scourge lashes reverend individual (7)
LADDISH: A scourge or a whip surrounds the abbreviation for a reverend (Doctor of Divinity) and the abbreviation for individual. Boisterously Macho is my online dictionaries definition for this type. Mine is less kind and not suitable for this gentle platform

18d      Vehicle from Terminator ends with Arnie, perhaps … (7)
TRACTOR: The end letters of the word terminator are followed by the occupation of one Anold Scwarzenegger who played the part of a terminator in a silly film released last century

19d      … vehicle clip from Terminator? (7)
TRAILER: A clip from the film Terminator or any other film used as an advertisement for the film. At last I can see the reason for the ellipsis used to link the two clues

20d      Mother mellowed getting spoiled (7)
DAMAGED: Ones mother if ones father is ones sire followed by a word meaning to have mellowed by having had rather a lot of birthdays

22d      Hindu ascetic sorry over discontented Hindu (5)
SADHU: A word meaning sorry or forlorn is followed by the outer letters (discontented) of the word Hindu


Quickie Pun   Fall  +  Soap  =  False Hope



80 comments on “DT 29686

  1. Definitely a Ray T. When I saw that I had filled in precisely three answers on my first pass, I seriously thought about giving up, but I didn’t. ***** later, and I still hadn’t completed it. Still 5 short on the western side, and my head hurts. Nothing to do with the lubrication required to get oneself through a penalty shoot-out, of course.

    It was unlike the compiler to include part of the answer in the clue for 17d.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP.

  2. Quite a workout, a bit of a Beam with anagrams, of which the three around the perimeter jumped out at me and gave me a solid start. After that it was a case of teasing out most of the solutions, providing some great PDMs.
    I’d never heard of the meals or the charity workers, I suspect both have fallen out of use but they were gettable from the checkers and wordplay. All done and fully parsed in just under 4* time, my ticks go to the fab 18&19d linked clues, the 3d lurker plus the clever 11,16&25a
    Many thanks to Mr T and MP for the entertainment and continued best wishes to Kath

    1. The penny has just dropped with the meals, being pedantic the hint should underline the first TWO words.

      1. Stephen, the ‘Charity Workers’ are still very much around. They are those incredibly irritating people who accost you in the street with a clipboard trying to sign you up to whatever charity they represent – and they get paid handsomely for doing so. I always ask how much money their CEO earns (they probably don’t know) but generally it is in excess of the Prime Minister and I never give to such charities with bloated salaries for their officers. I prefer to donate to small charities of my choice, usually animal charities as animals are so much nicer than people!

        1. They are called Chuggers as it is an abbreviation of Charity Muggers which is exactly what they are.

        2. I’m with you regarding charities. I usually ask them to donate to my fave charities, also animals.

      2. Agreed about the definition Steve. Thanks for pointing that out. It was one of my last ones in as well because I didn’t equate the countrymen with the food

  3. This was a pleasure to solve albeit quite slowly. 21a was my favourite although 18d and 19d were worthy runners up.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP.

  4. Like Stephen, I found the long anagrams gave me a start. It was tough and the usual strange synonyms and crafty misdirection were much in evidence. Like yesterday’s, I got satisfaction out of finishing it but not until I’d had to consult the net for 17d. The rest I managed on my own but it was a slog.(4*/3*). Out of a lot of clever clues in the puzzle, I enjoyed the anagrams most, 1a, 7d, 10d and 26a. Thanks to MP for the hints and to RayT for a good brain work-out.

  5. I also found this a really good workout. Although I managed to get the answer to 13d had to wait for MP’s hints to see how I got there! Thankfully I am quite good at anagrams so that helped as there were quite a few to get me on my way today. Is that you on the tractor MP? Thanks to you and RayT for the lovely puzzle.

    1. It is me on the tractor with my Grandson Ethan. His big brother is in the trailer although he was much younger when the picture was taken

          1. Sorry, Harrison. I must have murdered the spelling and autocorrect chose their own!

  6. Getting three of the four outsiders might help a lot I thought. I was wrong.
    I think the problem was that there were only four central spaces that joined an essential “clover” grid. I have to go out out so I cheated a bit with the SW corner and had never heard of the 12a term.

    Otherwise, I liked the 18 and 19 combo a lot, although your ride-on doesn’t quite constitute an18d, MP. I actually have one of those at 19d and now I’ve given up the allotment it serves only to store garden bits. As our grandson is coming this WE, it’s given me an idea……
    Double denim? Really?

    Thanks to RayT and to MP for stepping into Kath’s shoes.

      1. Ooh no, I wouldn’t prick their bubble. We’re going to repaint our wheelbarrow gnome – he’s called Maurice and is about 40 years old. That’s definitely a wheelbarrow – it’s got stuff in it!

        1. It seems like only yesterday that our grandchildren used to love me running around the garden, pushing them in the wheelbarrow, to the cries of “Faster Nanny!”. Now one is about to start her second year at uni, and the other his junior year of high school. Doubt I could run that far or fast now 😊.

  7. A 3 visit solve in **** time. Add in some e help for the excellent 12a means a tough puzzle to me.
    This may divide opinion and test the resolve of those on a run of unaided solves, but it was Ray T so not unexpected and *** enjoyment.
    25a gets my COTD with 3d R/U
    Thanks to Ray T and MP. Apprentice gardener seems to be coming on!

    1. Just to say, thank you for yesterday’s information on electric cars. At the moment we drive a petrol driven automatic and my husband uses hand controls for steering, gas, brake and indicators, as he cannot feel his legs and feet due to peripheral neuropathy. The question would be whether or not the electric car can be adapted fro automatic gear change as he obviously cannot do that and manage all the rest with two hands. Nothing but probkems as we get older is it?

      1. I believe that all electric cars on the market have automatic gearboxes. Just the same as you have now

        1. Thanks MP. That’s,good to know. I know very little about cars and my husband has short term memory loss, due to the 4 bouts of encephalitis, he had. Sometimes he has all the facts and then it all slips away, which leaves non- technical me as the dodgy information finder.

  8. I’m with Malcolm on this one. I thought about just giving up but, of course, I can’t. What an absolute slog. The anagrams helped but not enough to make anything else jump out at me. *****/** Thanks very much for the hints MP as I couldn’t understand half the answers even when I found them. A fiendish Ray T. Quite enough of a headache so am going nowhere near the toughie today! If I had to pick a favourite, I’d say 21a which was among the more comprehensible answers. Thanks to all. Kath be glad it was MP today, lol.

  9. First thought, I will never do this.
    But, thank goodness for the long anagrams.
    Worked steadily to an unaided conclusion.
    10d just one of many brilliant clues.
    Great challenge, ****/*****
    Many thanks Ray T and Miffypops.

  10. Sorry but I gave up and looked at the hints.

    Thanks to Ray T for the beating and to Miffypops who solved the puzzle for me. Thanks too for stepping in for Kath and letting us have an update.

    Tomorrow is another day!

  11. Brilliant. And very tough. Ray T in his ‘gotcha’ element, except that my dogged persistence finally paid off after I reasoned that those ‘meals’ had to be what they were, and ‘commonly’ helped a bit. Those charity muggers were new to me but easily gettable. Liked the two ‘Arnie’ clues too, as well as all the long clues but 11a, 2d, and 5d (my LOI) make it to the podium. Thanks MP and Mr T. With many good thoughts for Kath.
    **** / ****

    1. PS: I see that NYDoorknob stepped in late last night and claimed ownership to yesterday’s backpager, so those of us who didn’t think it was Jay were right. Haven’t seen in Huntsman in a few days; hope he is all right.

      1. I strongly suspect NYDoorknob is Donnybrook (think about it!). Like you Robert, I didn’t think it was Jay either.

        1. The only New York Doorknob that I know is the one that broke towards the end of Desolation Row

      2. Yes, I noticed that this morning. Donnybrook is his alterego. No wonder I enjoyed it.

  12. Getting the long uns around the perimeter helped to get me off to a good start. 8 jarred a bit as does 21a for meals. In spite of many years fundraising for a major charity I have thankfully never been called a 12a nor indeed come across the term before. Grandpa must be popular for providing the grandchildren with rides on his horticultural equipment. Thank you RayT and MP. All possible good wishes to Kath for a safe return to the status quo ante 🌈.

    1. Angellov, I am sure you haven’t been a chugger! I too have collected for charity but these people are highly aggressive and tend to pick on what they perceive as soft targets much as modern scammers are doing at the moment.

  13. Not even at the bottom of the pay grade for this even with 17 clues solved. The rest of them were written in a very obscure dialect of English which I found impenetrable. On reading the hints I was right to stop at 17 done and look at the answers which would never have come to mind. It was as impenetrable as the poetry of J H Prynne

    Thanks to MP for her enlightenment and humour and to Ray T for another dunce’s cap award.

  14. I believe that chuggers have a habit of taking a fiver on your credit/debit card and then converting it into a monthly subscription.

  15. If I have the answer correct and I believe I have, my surname appears in today’s Toughie by Giovanni. :smile:

  16. Managed to finish but only after several trips to my thesaurus of choice. (Google dictionary which uses definitions from Oxford Languages) Took me ages to get the long anagrams as no pencil was involved. No hints needed in the end but thanks anyway. ****/***

  17. A good challenge, more testing than the backpagers have been for quite some days in my view. Good balance of clue types, and deceptive red herrings had been scattered liberally.

    Took a while to tease an entry, but then I found the wavelength and the answers started to fall into place. Wasn’t certain I’d got 13a until afterwards, checking MP’s review (thank you) – I had thought there were a couple of other equally tenuous possibilities. A bit of a hummm… moment for 17d – I can appreciate the use of ‘lashes’ to assist with the surface read, but until I knew it had to start with an L was looking for a different word to make the answer.

    Honourable mentions to 14a, 16a, 19a and 6d, but COTD for me goes to the 18d/19d combination, which made me smile. “I’ll be back” (later, I hope, after the Toughie).


    Many thanks to Ray T & to MP.

  18. I forgot to note the time I took but I did think this was quite a tricky Ray T, anagrams and all.

    My favourite clue was 4d – the whole clever clue should be underlined as the Israelite in question was indeed created by Sarah and Abraham

    Thanks to Mr T and MP

  19. Ray T never fails to challenge, and always provides something to satisfy the clever folks. I have to just be pleased with handful of clues I manage to solve sans hints. Didn’t know 12a, but a great word. Our supermarket cashiers are frequently designated chuggers but at least they aren’t pushy about it. I don’t remember 17d being part of the vernacular when we lived in England. As for those in the picture, not my idea of manly. Thanks to Ray T for a great puzzle (at least it shouldn’t trigger any “too easy” complaints 😊). And to Miffypops for stepping in for Wonder Woman Kath. We all all rooting for her to come through this. Best wishes to her and Chris.

  20. I solved the north, with great difficulty, but lots missing in the south. I did get 12a from the checkers, very surprised that it was right; whatever next! As for 17d, if there is such a word, may we expunge it from the language forthwith? Awful word.
    In fairness to RayT, a lot of my lack of solving is the tiny brain’s fault. I immediately put the correct answer in 26a but had no idea why, missed the anagram completely – now that is dumb.
    Fave was 25a, maybe because it was one of those I solved!
    Thank you RayT, and huge thanks to M’pops for filling my grid for me! So glad Kath is holding her own.

    1. Those barking dogs and meowing cats sending good vibes from Florida Springs are working their magic Merusa

    2. As a P.S. I have cried pax! The DT subscription office has officially lost my sub that shows a receipt on my credit card dated January 20, 2021, in my name. They only found it in the account of that strange bloke called “valden@thewayforward.com”. I have today subscribed again, let’s see how long they manage to keep that one, but if they lose it again, I can’t afford to renew a third time, that’s just extravagance. In that case I’ll stop crosswording, so here’s hoping.

  21. Found this Ray T puzzle today to be quite challenging and trickier than normal. ****/**** today for me. Started off well with the three long anagrams on the perimeter and then the NW, then ground to a halt for the longest time. Last in was the NE and SW that both proved challenging. Never heard of the words in 12a, 17d & 22d so that didn’t help matters. I liked the 18/19d pair of clues/answers. No real favourites but once I figured out 21a, I would have to agree with MP it was the COTD.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP for standing in for Kath

  22. Despite getting the four long anagrams on my first pass I still failed to complete 😟 Thanks to MP for his many explanations and of course to Ray T

  23. Coming in late. So, it’s Ray T but not Wednesday? How confusing! However it accounts for the fact that I completed today’s Toughie by Giovanni in reasonable time and am left struggling with this cryptic. It’s a brute!

  24. Having had 2 DNFs for the last 2 days I was determined to see this one through to the finish, but boy did it test my perseverance. The perimeter clues fell quite easily, luring me into a false sense of security, before 8a, 2d and 5d held me up for a very long time.
    I too have never heard of 12a, but what a great word. Favourite clues were the 18 & 19a combo, as well as 6d.
    Got to love a Ray T – 28 clues, 154 words, 5.5 average. Thanks to him and MP (I loved the Ray T style summary)

  25. Found it on par with the toughie difficulty wise.
    Shame again about 17d. Yesterday we had shops closing at closing time and today the reverend is lashed with a lash.
    That kind of incident always slows me down as I think that I got it wrong somewhere.
    Thanks to RayT and to MP for the review.
    Nice to see Ethan and Harrison.

  26. Evening all. My thanks to Miffypops for the decryption, and to all for your comments. Also, my best wishes to Kath for a rapid recovery.


    1. Thank you for doing us the honour of a visit Mr T.
      You certainly stretched a most of us more mortals today.

    2. Good evening, Mr T. Another great puzzle – I think you ‘got us going’ a bit with some of the synonyms!
      Kath will be delighted that you’ve sent her your good wishes, very thoughtful of you.

    3. Good evening Sir
      Great puzzle, couldn’t face the Toughie after solving it though!

    4. Many thanks for joining us Mr T. This was a super puzzle – very enjoyable indeed.

      Can I add my best wishes too to Kath for a speedy recovery.

    5. Thank you for popping in, Ray T but will you please stop messing with my brain! I think I’m getting on your wavelength then you throw a curveball like today!

      Great fun.

    6. Thanks for a great puzzle, Ray T. I really worked hard to finish and I did, finally!

  27. Needed quite a lot of electronic help with this one today as well as MP’s help with the parsings.
    I enjoyed the bits I could do, though.

    Thanks to RayT and to MP

  28. Only really held up with four in the NW. Curiously in the paper version there’s a picture of the steps in 11a next to the crossword and it still took me ages to solve. Oh dear! Once I got that the rest followed quickly. I find with Rayt’s brevity of cluing style it narrows down the options making each word more important. Favourite was 10d. I needed hints to complete the toughie but not this. Many thanks to Rayt and MP.

  29. Oh my goodness, what has happened to RayT? He’s my favourite compiler but this one was just a stinker. I managed the top right hand corner but couldn’t really get a grip on the rest of it. There were rather more weak clues than I would expect from the puzzlemeister although 7d made me laugh (probably not a very popular one with the average Torygraph reader!). Please can we have the real RayT back and giving us puzzles I can solve again. Honestly – no Kath and now this. Not a good RayT Thursday all round. ****/**

  30. Very late in with this, finished in the bath which means the toughie has to wait. Very difficult, I had a real struggle and I never did get
    the charity workers, it is a new one on me. The only charity I have collected for is Lifeboats and that was going door to door round the village
    with most people delighted to contribute. Except that is for one man who, every year, would say ‘ I never go on boats so why should I give them
    money?’ I would patiently explain that they relied on public funding and did great work but of course I understood not everyone would want to
    contribute, good afternoon and turn to walk away. Then he would call me back and say, I didn’t say I wouldn’t give you anything, I just wanted
    to hear why I should ! Drove me mad, every year the same thing. In the end, I just missed him out! . I liked the long anagrams and got those in
    early so I thought I was going to crack it, but it was a tough nut, Ray T. However, many thanks for the exercise and to MP for explaining 12a. I liked the boys toys, what fun.

  31. Oh no, I’ve just noticed Mary’s birthday! Surely the banner is hard to miss, I am so sorry Mary. I hope you had a super day. Please pop in one day and give us an update. We miss you. Keep well and safe.

    1. You are looking at the blog in the early hours of our Friday. Mary’s birthday is today

  32. Well I knew the cryptic crossword was going to be difficult when I had trouble with the quick crossword! Even so I valiantly attempted both and despite my failings enjoyed them both – obviously with help. Thanks to MP for the clueing hints and Ray T for such fun. I’m definitely improving with the anagrams and cryptic clues thanks to CL for the 50-50 crosswords. I enjoyed the blog as always. Hoping that Kath is continuing to get better and feel better.

  33. I am afraid I was light on this one by five across and four down (total 9 missed). I did a Toughie the other day in a fraction of the time and I never usually attempt those. Unless I have missed it I don’t think Brian commented (perhaps no words were strong enough) but I must refrain from adopting his mantle. It must have foxed even those who leap in early doors to say it is outrageously simple. I shall give in and look at the hints….

  34. Needless to say this ended my run of finishing unaided. Knowing this was going to be very diofficult I decided to help myself by getting of the long anagrams with e-help (I did one on my own) to give myself more help with the rest. Mr. Th had one of his rare bits of inspiration, which also helped. Dtermined to finish, I then went right the hints until in the end I finished. Grateful thanks to MP for these and for standing in for Kath.. Fav clue 4d, difficult to choose in a brilliant collection. Many thanks to Ray T for a really difficult but very enjoyable puzzle.
    Glad that Kath is improving – all very best wishes.

  35. Thanks to Ray T and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A fantastic puzzle from Ray T as usual. Found it quite tricky, needed the hints to parse 8a. Was beaten by 13a. Thought it might have been “rates” from the checkers. I like the linked Arnie clues, but my favourite was 21a. Was 4*/5* for me. Great entertainment. Best wishes to Kath, please keep on improving.

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