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DT 29687

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29687

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, with a bright start to the day but the likelihood of cloud and rain later.

I found today’s puzzle reasonably straightforward, with any obscurities easily gettable from the wordplay.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Propose drink then short quiz (3,3,8)
POP THE QUESTION – Put together a non-alcoholic drink, THE(n) from the clue minus its last letter (short), and another word for ‘quiz’.

10a         Improving inn with change following refurbishment (9)
ENHANCING – Anagram (following refurbishment) of INN and CHANGE.

11a         Unit of weight around a ton, about right? (5)
CARAT – Put together one of the Latin abbreviations for ‘around’ or ‘approximately’, A (from the clue), and an abbreviation for Ton, then insert Right, to get a unit used in measuring the weight of diamonds, for example.

12a         Stations Royal Marines on popular island after evacuating there (7)
TERMINI – The outside letters of TherE, followed by the initials of the Royal Marines, another word for ‘popular’ and an abbreviation for Island.

13a         Spirit and energy required to maintain Kew’s top tree (6)
GINGKO – An alcoholic spirit, followed by another word for ‘energy’ wrapped round the initial letter (top) of Kew.

Gingko biloba - Maidenhair Tree | YouGarden

15a         Dote on bird pair outside ignored (4)
LOVE – Remove the abbreviation for ‘pair’ from the outside of the name of a bird.

17a         Australian organised wild party (10)
SATURNALIA Anagram (organised) of AUSTRALIAN.

18a         Where pilots will fly is not yet decided (2,2,3,3)
UP IN THE AIR – This term for the future being undecided is also a literal description of where a pilot flies a plane.

20a         No idle presence within Airedale region (4)
AREA – Remove the letters of IDLE from AiREdAle.

22a         Language coming from council eager for backing (6)
GAELIC – Hidden in reverse in the clue.

23a         Independent succeeding to bury bill lacking in precision (7)
INEXACT – An abbreviation for Independent, followed by another word for ‘succeeding’ or ‘following’ wrapped round an abbreviation for a bill or account.

26a         Look happy if occasionally finding forest giraffe (5)
OKAPI – Alternate letters (occasionally) of the first three words of the clue.

Episode 18: The Elusive Okapi - All Creatures Podcast

27a         Philosopher tries a lot to be different (9)
ARISTOTLE – Anagram (to be different) of TRIES A LOT.

28a         Pomposity of certain MPs shifting position, involving twelve essentially (4-10)
SELF-IMPORTANCE – Anagram (shifting position) of OF CERTAIN MPS, with the central letters (essentially) of twelve inserted.


2d           Additional fish eater has change of heart (5)
OTHER – Start with a fish-eating mammal, then change the central letter to get the answer.

3d           British Olympic champion supports time for sport (6)
TENNIS Time, followed by the surname of Jess, the London 2012 heptathlon champion.

4d           Bird tucks into cream daughter put out (10)
ELIMINATED – One of the spellings of a noted ‘talking’ bird is inserted into a word for ‘cream’ or ‘top-level’, then an abbreviation for Daughter is added. The definition is ‘put out’ as in ‘England were put out of the tournament’.

5d           Advocate, for example, game that must undergo revolution (4)
URGE – Put together the Latin abbreviation for ‘for example’ and the initials of a game played with an ellipsoidal ball, then reverse the result.

6d           Part of Essex city I found oddly deserted (7)
SECTION – Alternate letters (oddly deserted) of words 3 to 6 of the clue.

7d           Rural girl almost struggles to comprehend English, extraordinary! (9)
IRREGULAR – Anagram (struggles) of RURAL GIR(l) without the final L (almost), wrapped round English.

8d           Theatre worker on edge composing stirring song (8,6)
NATIONAL ANTHEM – Put together the subsidised theatre on London’s South Bank, one of the usual worker insects, and the sewn edge of a piece of cloth.

9d           Trained professionals involved in bridge design? (6,8)
DENTAL SURGEONS – Cryptic definition. These bridges cover gaps in your teeth.

14d         Air-quality device hired if I’m working around university (10)
HUMIDIFIER – Anagram (working) of HIRED IF I’M, wrapped round University.

16d         Possibly active man said to get mobile phone feature? (9)
VOICEMAIL – The grammatical term of which ‘active’ (or ‘passive’) is an example, followed by a homophone (said) of a word for ‘man’.

19d         Capital, is it raised to acquire business in London initially? (7)
TBILISI – Reverse (raised) IS IT (from the clue), then insert the initial letters (primarily) of Business In London, to get the capital of a former Soviet republic.

21d         Remember Thai clutching old lace collar (6)
BERTHA – Hidden in the clue. A new word for me.

Lace, Crochet & Doilies - Bertha Collar

24d         Father stays away from mad prank (5)
ANTIC – Start with a word for ‘mad’ or ‘distracted’, then remove the abbreviation for ‘father’ (when used to address a Catholic priest).

25d         Resistance to wear head-covering seen in swimmer (4)
CARP – A type of headgear wrapped round the physics abbreviation for Resistance.

Carp Fish Facts | AZ Animals

The Quick Crossword pun SIGH + ATTICA = SCIATICA

90 comments on “DT 29687

  1. Whew, that’s better, back to some sort of normality. It does help when the first across clue almost fills itself in. Grid completed in *** time, with just the one clue circled as an “Umm?” Which was 16d. I parsed the second half but not the first.

    I did like the anagram at 17a, and the mis-direction for 9d.

    Many thanks to the compiler and DT.

    1. 16d took me a while to parse, the first half grammatically can be active or passive. Hope that helps

  2. Enjoyable and relatively straightforward, for me. The tree at 13a was a mystery but gettable from the wordplay and so my LOI. Liked 8d. Thanks to setter and though not needed Deep Threat for the hints.

  3. I think the tree at 13a has two ways of spelling. Other than that very straightforward and enjoyable with 1,11a plus 4& 24d getting my ticks.
    Thanks to DT and setter (Silvanus?)

    1. Not for the first time, you are correct, sir! Apart from having two spellings, the 13a tree is claimed to be the oldest living one on our planet, and a species which has been around for millions of years. There used to be a fine specimen at the rear of the building where I used to work, but sadly it was sacrificed when the building was converted into a hotel and extra car parking was needed.

      1. Thank you for both the confirmation and a top top puzzle Silvanus.
        The alternative spelling of the tree (how sad about the one at your works) threw me for a while but I’ll remember both from now on!

      2. Is the Quickie pun a reference to your own back pain, if I am not being too personal.

        1. A fair question, YS, it is something I have suffered from on the odd occasion, usually after doing more gardening than I had intended, so the pun did revive some unpleasant memories!

      3. I have 2 of these trees in separate pots. I got them 16 years ago with three in a shared pot. I separated them and one died a few years ago. The others are still short and lack “bushiness”, which is a pity, but inevitable considering their heritage. They are extraordinary plants that seemingly don’t age or die. I haven’t planted them out in case they formed deep roots and went wild, not ideal unless you own a Far Eastern estate. An English domestic garden is not their thing really. Almost the only living things to survive an atomic bomb….and the leaves are enchanting.
        I am convinced they hold the secret to immortality.

          1. Since don’t take blood thinners, I take a supplement made from the leaves of the tree. It’s supposed to help your brain work properly and heaven knows I need it. I thought it might help with the Open University exams I did , after I retired. Difficult to comment on its efficacy as I don’t know what the outcome wwould have been if I didn’t take it.

            1. You should have done a few memory tests to give yourself a baseline!
              You could stop the supplements for a bit and go back on them, but why bother when there are papers out there that have done the heavy lifting for you? Evidence isn’t absent, but it is weak….. Try red wine, salmon and a handful of walnuts instead …
              DG – I’m not on thinners either, I won’t be chewing any of my leaves any time soon – I haven’t got enough to go round as it is!

              1. I don’t suppose raw leaves would be pleasant to eat. As to the red wine, I’d love a glass but it sets off my gout and I am allergic to fish. Walnuts are ok though.

                1. Gout! Oh my lord, Chriscross I used to get that. It is awful. You have my sympathy.

  4. I found this one very hard but enjoyable. I caused myself grief by mixing round the second ‘g’ and the ‘k’ in 13a. Like Malcolm I don’t ‘get’ the parsing of the first half of 16d.

    Yesterday we had our first meal out in fifteen months in one of our favourite pubs in the Surrey Hills, followed by a walk around Abinger Hammer. Then, somewhat exhausted, we had a couple of drinks (soft drinks in my case) at the lovely Abinger Hatch. An idyllic day.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Motown Chartbusters Volume 3

    Thanks to the setter and DT.

    1. Yesterday my pal turned up late to the pub. It would have been rude to have left just as he arrived so I stayed and had to call the sainted one to come and pick me up. And so it begins. Trying to remember which car is at which pub. We only have two cars now so it’s not too bad. I once had all three works vans and two cars scattered about the pubs surrounding Coventry and nothing to drive at home

    2. You are making my husband very envious, he says that is such a pretty part of England.

  5. This took me a bit longer than yesterday’s Ray T ‘toughie'(4*/3.5*). Most of it was pretty straightforward but I got hung up with a few clues in the S W. The anagrams werefone of the best things about this puzzle, as they were in yesterday’s but I liked 13a and the geographical clue at 19a. Thanks to DT and the compiler.

  6. After 20 minutes or so I had only filled in 3! But then it started to make sense. I kept thinking of the bridge of ones nose for 9d and couldn’t get it out of my head for ages but think that was my COTD when the penny finally dropped. Once again the anagrams came to the rescue. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  7. Fairly straightforward for a Friday I thought. Like DT 21d new but gettable from the wordplay. *** that would have been 2.5 if I’d not thought 19d started “Tib”.
    9d my COTD.
    Thanks to setter and DT for review. Happy birthday Mary

    Today’s obit. for Eric Carle brought back evocative memories of bedtime reading, suitably intimated, to all three children. Happy days!

    1. Mary is a very nice lady who used to comment on the blog back in the early days – she was the one who coined the word ‘perservate’ to describe how you have to keep going until you’ve finished a crossword

      She is much missed and only comments rarely these days.

      Happy Birthday Mary

      1. CS
        Thank you for the information.
        Not being familiar with the history of the site I mistakenly thought it was BD’s better half. I recall now Merusa making some remark about her. Apologies to all.
        If you could please amend the sentence to remove the error I would be grateful.

            1. I asked Saint Sharon when her birthday is. She just raised her eyes and said I was useless.

  8. An enjoyable Friday coffebreak back-pager, with nothing to frighten the equines. Spotted the lurking 21d though had never known the name of that particular garment, and only parsed my answer to 15d on reading the blog. COTD 4d followed closely by 26a & 9d, but most of the clues were very satisfying, read smoothly, and were very fair.


    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT for the review.

  9. A nice and steady solve. One day I will remember the order the letters go in the oddly spelled capital city. Thanks to DT for the info on 20 across. The only Airedale Terrier I know is far from idle but as he lives in Downtown LI I don’t get bothered by him anymore. Thanks to the Silvanus for a short but sweet bagatelle to pass some time. He is usually tricksier than that. Play nicely over the weekend for Tilsit and Senf children. I will see you on Monday

  10. I’m sitting at The Oval watching cricket for the first time this season. The sun is shining and we have a magnificent Silvanus puzzle to enjoy..

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT from a very happy bunny.

  11. After a torrid time with yesterday’s Ray T, DNF, this was surprisingly accessible and got it done over lunch. Thanks to Silvanus for an interesting and morale boosting puzzle and to Deep Threat for clearing up some of the nuances in the parsings. 1.5*/****

  12. Another terrific puzzle from the Silvanus production line that was thoroughly enjoyable, hugely entertaining and nicely challenging. 4 and 9d take the top honours this afternoon.

    My thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  13. Oh dear, at the risk of upsetting some of our company, this was a wrong envelope day for me. But, not in terms of Back Pager/Toughie rather it was which ‘side of the weekend’ should this have been published and for me the day starts with ‘M’. However, Silvanus is as enjoyable as ever and with assistance from a sprinkling of oldies but goodies led by 17a and 21d – 1.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 12a, and 4d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  14. Almost restful after yesterday. **/*** I didn’t know the word in that context in 21d but several entries down the dictionary list, I found it. I’m probably missing something blindingly obvious but I don’t understand the answer to 15a. No particular favourite today but an enjoyable exercise. Thanks to all.

  15. A slow start, but once I got on the right wavelength went in quite well.
    Couldn’t find the alternative spelling for 13a on Mr G but the parsing along with the realisation that I could not have got 7d wrong ment I just had to bung it in.
    Needed DT’S tips to get 9d and 17a which were my last 2 in

  16. Somewhat of a struggle for me today but I got there with the help of a couple of DT’s hints. Despite being a struggle it was most enjoyable. I had not heard of 21d nor the city and I wonder if I will recall them again should they pop up. I agonised over 9d trying to think of “spanner” or “suspension” to no avail. My silent thought when I finally solved it was “You used to be one, you idiot!” Favourite clue and COTD is 1a.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for a great puzzle and thanks to DT for the hints, which came in handy every now and then.

    1. Your name yesterday, your occupation today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring

  17. Another object lesson in compiling from one of my favourite setters. I did try for a while to get crosswordland’s ‘favourite’ bird into 4d and hoped fervently that 19a might be the other capital starting with T – the one I can spell – but t’was not to be! 21d was new to me but sympathetically clued so easy enough to check.
    Packed podium here with places going to 1,18&23a plus 8&9d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to DT for the review and the delightful Gaelic folk song.
    If you’re looking in, Mary, I hope you have a most enjoyable birthday – please pop in to say hello.

  18. A bit more relaxing than yesterday’s, although I still had trouble with the same ones as other people (mentioned above). I’m not convinced that collar will ever come back into fashion, although I’m thinking of making one and turning it backwards as a sort of bib – increasingly I drop food down my front … must get that dining table cleared of lockdown hobby detritus.

    The 26 is such an odd-looking creature – humans can now, legally, have three parents. I don’t see the function of the colouring; even sitting down, it wouldn’t be camouflaged.
    Thanks to DT and Silvanus.

    1. Saint Sharon had three Mums and three Dads. Also a sister who is no blood relation whatsoever. Only one dad alive now. I gave up trying to understand it years ago

      1. The word family accurately defines any group with close ties. Being blood related is not essential. I have roughly, and I say roughly because I’m no longer sure of the exact number, 15 grandchildren. Quite how I’ve no idea but they all amazingly claim ownership of Nana at Christmas! I haven’t got a sister – I wish I’d thought to acquire one.

        1. Family trees used to look like pyramids a century ago, now they are fanning-in, rather than fanning out. Same with godparents as we become more secular nationally, if not globally, and far fewer adoptions.
          You’re lucky to have so many “grandchildren” finding you, even if it’s only for presents :)
          I’ve only one grandchild at the moment and a lot of family and close friends who are not passing on any of their DNA.
          Come on!

  19. Pleasant solve with the exception of 20a which I disliked intensely. Liked 1a and 9d.
    On the whole I preferred yesterdays Ray T which I didn’t get a chance to comment on.
    Thx to all
    **/***(* taken off because of 20a)

  20. That was just nicely testing with SW last to come on board. My Fav was 9d once I had abandoned working around the likes of Brunel. 21d collar is new to me. All good fun, many thanks Silvanus and DT.

  21. A good puzzle done on a very wet, rainy Thursday evening here on the “Wet Coast” of BC. Just an awful day! Found this puzzle pretty straightforward with a few quirky words for me in 13a (knew the word but had to dig it out of my memory), 26a, 17a & 19d never heard of either the last two. Favourites include 1a, 18a (a good laugh), 28a, 9d that arrived with a huge THUD! when the PDM happened … thus it is my favourite with misdirection in that one.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT

  22. Some of my father’s aunts wore those collars, as I recall–very elegant country ladies whose once-aristocratic origins (so they maintained) demanded such frills. One was named Birdie, one was Midge, one was Onie, and my favourite one was Lillian. They were all very prim and proper. Very gentle like today’s enjoyable puzzle. I liked 16d best of all; 9d was my LOI. Thanks to DT and to Silvanus for the pleasure. ** / ***

    I hope that Huntsman is all right; I’ve missed him for the past few days.

  23. Chris Lancaster has posted a YouTube clip on The Telegraph Puzzles Facebook page. A young setter with Roy Castle

  24. Yes I wonder what tomorrow will bring for Steve – I thought he would be bound to get that one. We had a nice steady solve – Princess Diana wore 21d collars so they were quite fashionable at one time, I’ve got a photo of me wearing one at Henley. Completely stuck on 19d, it never occurred to me to use BIL and I wanted it to be Tripoli, so thanks to Deep Threat for putting me straight. I liked 9d, 13a and 12a – very clever, that one and you may remember I mentioned the anagram of Australian a couple of weeks ago, along with Dormitory being dirty room! So pleased to hear Kath is doing well, we all miss her. Many thanks to the setter and DT. Have a nice weekend everyone, we may have nice weather, hope you all saw the beautiful Flower Moon!

  25. I couldn’t get started until half way down the grid. But all came together very well which, for me, indicates a very well set and fairly clued crossword. I liked 20ac when the penny struck and 16 dn my favourite.

    Thanks Silvanus and DT

  26. Found this offering from Silvanus much more difficult than usual and needed DT’s hints to finish. I liked the clueing of the anagrams but 9d was my favourite today. Agree that 16d is very gnomic, in other words iffy or difficult.

    Thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  27. Many thanks as ever to Deep Threat for his Hints and Tips and to everyone who has taken the trouble to leave comments. May I wish everyone a good weekend and an enjoyable Bank Holiday Monday for those in the UK.

    I may be wrong, and one of our US correspondents might confirm or deny it, but doesn’t Judge Judy still wear a 21d as part of her courtroom garb? I’ve caught trailers of her show on the CBS Drama channel in the UK (I watch it purely for the Perry Mason re-runs, to which I became addicted during lockdown), but I can’t claim to be any expert on female fashion!

      1. I think Judge Judy wears a crocheted collar rather than a lace one.
        I could have a go at making Judy’s collar but having a go at anything resembling the Bertha illustrated is well above my capabilities.

  28. I needed the hint to parse 16d. The two never heard of words were so fairly clued I just had to check them to verify their existence. All in all good fun. Favourite was 1a, not that I’m ever going to do that again. Many thanks to Silvanus and DT.

  29. Got it finished, albeit with the help of some of the hints, and a couple of bung ins, but I do think I feel a headache coming on. Thought there some very clever clues, and only really held up by the collar, which I didn’t know, and by trying to make dental builders work at 9d. Thanks to Silvanus and Deep Threat.

  30. Blimey, I finished it! Imagine that, without hints to boot. I did need electronic help to get 16d. South was solved first and was fairly straightforward, getting 17a in a trice was a huge help, the rest slotted in nicely, except for 16d. North was different, it took much longer but I don’t think it was much more difficult. I took ages to get 13a when all you had to do was follow instructions. I had to look up the Olympian. Fave was 9d, I sussed out the bridge design early on and loved it.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the fun, Deep Threat’s unravelling of some much appreciated.
    Happy, happy birthday to Mary. Please pop in sometime and bring us up to date, especially the pooch, can’t remember his name!

  31. Late to the pass today, following a round of golf and a 2nd jab. A steady solve, with all the same problems and thoughts as others above pretty much.
    My last two in were 20a and 9d, and they’re my favourites also.
    Thanks to silvanus and DT

  32. Nice Crossword solvable and amusing 😃 ***/*** Favourites 15a and 9d 👍 and I learnt another two new words13a & 21d! Thanks to Deep Threat and to Sylvanus. Enjoy your Bank Holiday 😎

  33. Took ages to get the first word of 1a.
    Didn’t really understand the first word in 16d either.
    21d was also new to me.
    Lovely surface all round.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to DT.
    Happy birthday Mary.

  34. Thanks to the setter and Deep Threat for the review and hints. A nice puzzle, which I found extremely difficult. I suspect it was Giovanni? A couple of real obscurities in 13a & 21d. Still don’t understand where “voice” comes from in 16d. Favourite was 9d. Was 5*/3* for me.

    1. Your setter spotting ability is on a par with mine, Heno. Today’s setter was Silvanus.

    2. Heno, “voice” in this context is a grammatical term which differentiates sentences where the subject is doing something (this is the active voice) or where something is being done to the subject (this is the passive voice). For example, “I am washing the car” is the active voice whereas “the car is being washed” is the passive voice.

  35. Many thanks to Silvanus for a very enjoyable puzzle 👍
    Always nice to find oneself on a similar wavelength despite, on initial reading of the clues, that feeling of not knowing anything…and then suddenly 1A ‘pops’ in…and, like a steeplechase…we’re off and running and jumping the various hurdles! (Ok…enough of the horse racing analogy now!)
    Anyway, managed this at a…good pace, and completed in a single session.
    It’s been a good week..so will probably struggle now to win the weekend pens this week…although there must be so many on their way by now that I may not need a couple more for a few weeks 😜
    Thanks to DT for the blog ‘n hints (including the music & pics) and wish all an enjoyable weekend – holiday Monday here😎

  36. I got off to a very slow start but persevered despite numerous interruptions. Realised 17a was an anagram but couldn’t get it and wasn’t familiar with the word. I was so sure 19d was going to be Tripoli until I realised 16a had to be Okapi. LOI 4d . Many thanks to DT and Silvanus. Have a nice sunny weekend everyone.

  37. I found this one tough but enjoyable. Needed quite a few hints to complete it.

    Thanks to DT and to Silvan.

  38. What everyone else said! Favourites 1 and 15a and 8 and 9d. I was confused by the spelling of 13a. I too was in Tripoli. I have been to a lot of wild parties but orgues is easier to spell than saturnalia. I worked out /d but stupidly changed the heart the wrong way round which caused me some problems with 19a. It was a relief to finish but I should have started earlier. Thanks Silvanus and DT.

    1. Weekend Wanda, I presume your misspelling of “orgies” was a deliberate mistake.


  39. DT 29,687 what threw me was 13a – can’t find that crossword spelling anywhere on the internet which messed up getting 7d for a while.

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