DT 29694 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29694 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29694 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from Warrington, where there’s not a cloud in the sky and the birds are fighting over the birdbath in the garden in my view. It’s the last weekend for me in my teeny tiny flat as I am moving back to the other side of town next week and reuniting with Dexter the Cat and Lexie the Dog, notwithstanding nervous breakdowns.

We have a very nice, pleasant puzzle today and our setter could be any one of our regular foursome, though I guess it may be from someone in a high place. Nothing terribly taxing, but a couple to make you just pause for a moment, scratch your head and consider your options.

Do let us know what you think of the puzzle. Setters love feedback as long as it is constructive.

Thanks to our mysterious maker-upper and hopefully, I’ll see you next weekend among the cardboard boxes and four-legged friends.

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 Help round to summit, as it were (2,2,5)
A word (or abbreviation!) for a signal goes around TO and then add the word for a summit, to give an expression that means as it were.

6a Copper pen in 3-D (5)
The chemical symbol for copper, plus a propriety brand of ballpoint pen, the brand founded by and associated with the inventor, a chap named Lazlo. Still one of my favourite types of ballpoint, but they do leak if left in a pocket.

9a Originally, lama is blessed with a place in Tibet (5)
The first letter of lama, a word meaning blessed with and A gives somewhere where you’d find a great many lamas!

16a Nick entertained by a short musical circus performer (7)
A word meaning nick is surrounded by A and the name of a stage musical, minus its last letter. If you are stuck on the musical, you need a good Memory!

18a Soldier on, bad time to retreat (7)
The name for a soldier is found by taking a two-letter word meaning on or about, something meaning bad and T(ime), all reversed (to retreat)

20a Strike yobbo gripping wood (4,3)
A word for a yobbo does around the name of a tree.

22a Couple stretched when working in theatre? (6,6)
In one of my mails this week I saw that this type of clue had been named a ‘fanciful definition’ which I quite like. So, this is a fanciful definition for something that comes in pairs and is stretched in a certain type of theatre before the performance, but it isn’t a performance theatre….

29a Swiss singing almost weird in loud performance? (9)
Two thirds of a word meaning weird goes inside when someone is very loud. You didn’t need the hint, did you?


1d One swimmer (4)
A fish that can be singular.

3d Nuisance also seen in fair (2-3-2)
A word meaning also goes inside a hyphenated expression meaning far, to give another expression for a pain in the backside.

5d Little inclination to conceal intelligence, a smart alec (4-2-3)
Inside a geographical word for a place that has a slight incline goes a word for intelligence, plus A to give another pain in the backside.

7d As hurricane may be described in every detail? (4-2-4)
Another fanciful definition for you would would describe every moment of a hurricane.

12d Central American fellow actor, trust me! (5,5)
How you would describe your fellow lead actor, plus a two word expression (1,3) that means trust me.

13d Give it everything, O frog? (2,3,5)
An expression meaning to give it everything is a literal description of O FROG. There are some people out there (I hope never to meet them) that think GEGS is one of the finest cryptic clues for ‘Scrambled Eggs’. This is similar, but actually 1000 times better.

15d Starting price fairly active (9)
After the abbreviation for Starting price goes a word meaning fairly.

23d Descriptive of galley, a shade beneath surface of ocean (5)
After O (surface of ocean) goes A and a colour to describe a Roman galley.

25d Closely fitting items to stick to, upside down (4)
Something you can be said to stick to is reversed.

Was it a smooth flight or full of turbulence? Let us know.

Thanks to our mysterious setter and I’ll see you next week, with a bit of luck.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Today’s music is something very summery by a much underrated composer.

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: canter+knees=Cantonese

90 comments on “DT 29694 (Hints)

  1. I am always a happy bunny when I can complete an SPP without help. I found today’s a steady solve, finished in *** time, with only two minor hiccups. One was putting the wrong ending on 6a, and 22a are never used in theatres these days, as all are now free of that. Can’t say more without risking the naughty step.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Tilsit.

  2. Great fun, a real joy to solve. *** difficulty for me. Lovely surface readings and a couple (at least) of very clever clues, of which 12d and 13d are my joint favourites. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  3. A steady and very enjoyable solve, slightly held up by 12d as geography is not my strong suit and I was convinced the first word had to be south or north based on the checkers. Quite a few clues where the answer came from the definition before I could work out the wordplay.
    My favourites were 22a and 13d
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

  4. No idea who the setter is today but a light, enjoyable puzzle. */*** Favourite 15d. Thanks to all.

  5. A pleasant and enjoyable SPP–smooth surfaces, witty, and lots of fun. 13d is my COTD, with 12d and 7d close behind. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to today’s setter. ** / ***

  6. An enjoyable solve helped by the number of anagrams. Like another I initially put in a four poster ending for 6a and was struggling to see how that could be a type of pen! Consequently 8d became my last one in, when I finally twigged to the right type of pen for 6a. Other than 9a everything was fairly straightforward. COTD was 22a which would have eluded me without the checkers, Thanks setter and Tilsit.

  7. This was quite enjoyable, with a nice balance of different types of clue. Some were difficult to parse but reverse engineering enabled me to finish (**/****). The best of the clues were Tilsit’s ‘fanciful definitions’, 13d and 22a. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints. Hope your move goes well. Thanks also to the compiler.

  8. Enjoyable solve today except for 2d, which, assuming the checkers are correct, totally refuses to reveal itself. I will go back to it later because I would like to claim an unaided finish. As usual, the one you can’t get is not hinted in the blog. Oh well. No read favourites today – I just enjoyed it.

    Many thanks to the setter for the puzzle and to Tilsit for the hints. I hope the move goes well.

    1. It was my last in Steve & the only clue I didn’t really care for. Reckon my answer is plausible but wouldn’t bet my house on it.

      1. I have now got it after realising 9a was wrong. I actually think the clue is ok.

          1. It’s a perfectly fine clue if you have the right answer. Makes total sense.

        1. It’s not the from below which I query but rather the non-synonym of split when reading solution in that way.

          1. My last in but seemed fine once I saw it – in fact I wondered why it had taken me so long!

  9. Good fun. Only minor holdup was remembering the particular pen in 6a. Thank you setter and Tilsit.

  10. 2*/3.5*. This was a light and pleasant Saturday puzzle, which is probably just as well with a Radler MPP to be tackled later!

    13d is a clever idea but the bad grammar of the implicit wordplay jarred with me.

    25d was also clever and my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  11. Definitely a puzzle of two halves for me. I got off to a flying start and then, with about half solved, I hit a wall particularly in the SW where two clues took a long time to give up their secrets. Perhaps I just had a mental block; if I did, I hope it has well and truly gone by the time I start on tomorrow’s Dada in just under 12 hours time.

    No stand out favourites but I did like 7d.

    Thanks to the setter, I won’t even try to hazard a guess at who she or he might be, and Tilsit.

  12. Early check in for me. I was left with seven after first pass which I have cracked apart from 13d. I shall persist without looking at the hint if there is one.

  13. Well I have got 13d but no idea why. It could be a favourite if if I could parse so will check the hints. Top class Saturday puzzle. Favourites 1 and 22a and 4 15 21 and 25d. Thank you setter and Tilsit with whom I shall now consult.

  14. Great fun, very enjoyable. Still struggling to understand the wordplay on 12d (why is it that answer and not the other place in SA?) and 6d. I loved 13d which seemed really quite original. Reminds me of Drop the Dead Donkey which I thought was brilliant.
    Thx to all

    1. Look at the first six letters and make a hyphenated word. It wouldn’t work with the other country.

      1. Thx but I think I am being dim here. That makes even less sense to me than the clue.

  15. Other than a bit of doubt about 2d found this pretty easy going although 13d & 22a caused a wee bit of a head scratch & parsing 29a took longer than it ought to have. I really enjoyed it & thought it cleverly clued throughout with my pick of them all in the SW – 12,13&15d along with 22a.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit – good luck with your move.

  16. Not too taxing and plenty of lighter moments. Will be interested to see full hint for 18a and needed prompt for 22a. 23a was obvious but did not think of surface in that context. Thank you Mysteron (Cephas?) and Tilsit.

  17. Did this in * time.
    Does not, though, detract from the brilliant clueing, eg 1a, 16a and 12d.
    Most enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  18. Tilsit thanks for the hints. I can now parse all my answers especially 12d which is too clever by half. Also I never would have thought of that sort of pen for 6a. Laszlo invented the original four letter one. Having checked I find the originator of this one has the first name of Marcel. The trade name is a snappier version of his surname.

  19. My favourite crossword of the week by some margin. It needed some thought but all clues were gettable without specialised knowledge of the Ottoman Empire or Chinese dynasties.

    After yesterday’s incessant rain, we have a bright and cheery day today so off we go to yomp (shuffle, more like) across the Surrey Hills.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys.

    Thanks to the (excellent) setter and Tilsit – best wishes for the move.

  20. After days of struggling this came as a pleasant surprise.
    Perfect for me, taxing but not overly so, probably just on the easier side of SPPs. Took ** time with **** enjoyment.
    22a my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & Tisit.
    After the solve I later discovered our much loved collie X rescue dog has finally found moving on her collapsing carpus joint too painful and has spent the morning almost immobile on the rug. Bella was rescued by the RSPCA and had a miserable existence before she came to us. We have both tried over the 12 or so years we have had her to make up for her early years. She has repaid us a thousand times over.
    It really looks like the time has come to make the sad last journey that all pet lovers find so hard.

    1. Oh dear, sorry to hear this, LROK. It is the saddest of times that we all have to go through.

    2. My heart goes out to you, LROK, doing the ‘right thing’ can be so damned difficult. You’ve obviously given Bella years of love and devotion which she has repaid, maybe she’s just trying to tell you that even the best of times must come to an end.
      Be brave and don’t let her suffer.

      1. Jane
        After last year’s disappointing summer we were hoping to give her this summer (she loved the beach) but it just hasn’t happened. She is such a sweet undemanding dog
        We are acutely aware of keeping pets alive just for ourselves. After a friend recommended it we were going to have her put to sleep at home. Unfortunately the vet is not doing inside home visits so the dreaded journey awaits.
        Sad couple of days ahead.

        1. Whenever I have had to take the final journey with on of our Labs, I spent so much time with them and making sure they had loads of treats and pats. The next two days will be both poignantly sad and loving.
          Mrs. C. and I are thinking of you.

    3. So sorry to hear this about Bella, we had to make that final decision a couple of months ago for our beloved Labrador. It still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it again. So many happy memories that they bring.

    4. Very sorry to hear. The knowledge that you’ve given her a dozen happy years after a horrible start in life is the thing to focus on. Doesn’t make it easier though.

    5. Oh I am so sorry, awful decision to have to make but you know that you are doing the right thing. Having one of our beloved dogs put to sleep was the only time I have seen George cry. Bella looks beautiful. I bet there isn’t a single person on this site who does not feel for you at this moment .

      1. Same with us when we had to say goodbye to our lab, one and only time I have seen Peter cry.

    6. That’s such sad news, LROK. She will live on in your hearts for ever.

    7. So very sorry, and so sad for you. Most of us will have got a lump in our throats and tears in our eyes when reading this about Bella. Making that decision for our beloved pet is the hardest, but kindest one we have to make. Thinking of you.

    8. Very sorry to hear this news. Have had to this twice in the last two years and we are now down to just one dog. He misses the other two very much, as do we … so sad.

    9. A horrible decision to make as you know you will be desperately sad – she looks absolutely gorgeous. Stay strong, everyone is thinking of you.

    10. Oh, LrOK, that is so sad. Having to take them to the vet does have one good side, all my dogs loved going for a drive in the car, that was so special. Please know that I’m thinking of you both.

      1. Merusa,
        Unfortunately, of late poor Bella’s only journeys in the car have been to the vet then being poked and prodded. I have to carry her into the car now and it is obvious she doesn’t want to go as she knows where she is going. Might try to take her via the beach and see if she will go for a last paddle.
        Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts.

        1. What a good idea, she can feel the sand between her toes, even if she can’t make it in for a swim. I weep for you.

          1. Sorry to hear about Bella. I echo everyone else’s thoughts about this. It is the right thing to do but so, so hard to bear.

  21. Very enjoyable but didn’t last very long. First cucumber harvested today, summer’s here.

    Thanks to the setter & Tilsit.

  22. 22a held out on me until the end because I always find myself in the wrong ‘theatre’ with this type of clue!
    12d made me smile and my favourite was probably 25d.

    Thanks to our setter – Mr Ed? and to Tilsit for the review and also the delightful ‘summery’ music and the accompanying shots of Venice.

  23. Great puzzle with no obfuscations to annoy or “clever clever” stuff for those of a gnomic mind. Lots of clues deserve honourable mentions but too many to list.

    So many thanks to the setter and of course to Tilsit for his blog.

  24. This was an extremely enjoyable puzzle. Made steady progress and several of the clues were really well constructed in my view. Delightful way to spend a sunny Saturday lunchtime.
    I particularly liked 3d and 22a but 13d gets COTD.
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  25. I was bowling along going for 1 star time when I hit 12d. Had not the faintest idea. Maybe it was Porto ***** but that made no sense as there isn’t one. I could not think of the other one and the parsing didn’t help me whatsoever. I thought the trust me part was particularly bad. So was the actor bit. No doubt if I had got the answer first I would have thought it was jolly clever. Anyway the rest of the crossword was enjoyable and 13d was favorite.

  26. 13d my runaway favourite from this very pleasant and accessible prize puzzle. I thought on first running through it was going to be a hard slog, but once I started it all fell into place very quickly. Great fun for a sunny Saturday.

    My thanks to our setter and of course to Tilsit.

  27. We enjoyed the crossword, thanks to setter and Tilsit, I needed the hint for 13d. Otherwise it pretty much all fell into place, 12d was neat, 2d was not my favourite, thought 25d was quite droll. Nice sunny afternoon and the weeds are just jumping out of the ground but I think I have to put my feet up for 40 winks. I shall think of all you folk yomping over the hills and playing silly ball games.

  28. Like others the SW was the hardest but spotting the splendid reverse anagram in 13d and getting 22a, our favourite, opened it up for us. Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  29. Many thanks for the hints which enabled me to finish this one. 22a thus became a favourite. One of my favourite ever clues was “Number” (15 letters). The answer also has that “other theatre” connection.

    Funnily enough Tony Blackburn played a record by the Australian singer who liked the activity described in 29a, so I got that one very quickly.

    1. Yes I don’t think you forget that 15 letter number once you know it. There’s another one which is possibly more tricky, but only 5 letters because it is an old-fashioned number!

      1. I think I have the 5 letter answer but struggling to get the 15 word one.

        1. The 5-letter “number” is an old chestnut in crosswordland. And the 15 letter one isn’t anaesthetist because that’s only 12. Ask a dentist!

          1. I am a dentist but still can’t see it! ☹️

            Sorry, I was a dentist – I keep forgetting I am retired!

  30. Another great crossword. I managed to finish it unaided apart from inexplicably 9a which my husband got (d’oh). There were a couple I needed the hints to parse – 5D and 13d but all in all a very satisfying crossword which I enjoyed doing while sitting in my sunny garden recovering (actually it wasn’t that bad and I feel fine now) from my second AZ jab. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit **/*****

  31. A nice puzzle for a damp West Coast morning today. No real stumbling blocks on this one. 2.5*/**** Some fun clues here including misdirection as well. COTD favourites for me 1a, 10a, 22a, 1d & 5d with the 22d misdirection clue being my winner.
    3d & 5d gave me a smile and 7d a PDM when if finally hit the floor with a THUD!

    Great fun
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  32. This delightful SPP proves that a puzzle doesn’t need to be taxing to be enjoyable. Was a steady solve, with SE corner taking the most time. Had the wrong ending for 8d until I solved 20a. And spent too long thinking of the wrong type of theatre in 23a. COTD goes to 1a. Big thank you to the mystery setter, would love to see more cryptics like this, and thanks to Tilsit. Good luck with your move, hope it all goes well. We also love watching the birds in our bird bath, they clearly understand the “pecking order” as they await their turn to frolic in the water.

  33. I really enjoyed this with not too much head scratching. Lovely day here and the muntjac don’t seem to have spotted the veg I have planted in the sage which was my cunning plan. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

  34. Saturdays are turning out to be my fave puzzles, wotta lotta fun this was? I’m late getting to it this morning so a good thing it was friendly. I love multiple word answers, this was right up my straße. I needed the hints to unravel 12d, how clever is that? It’s hard to choose a fave but I think 13d is it, worth a giggle, 25d is worth a mention.
    Who are you setter? Come back soon. Thanks for helping to parse some, Tilsit, and for the lovely music. You always choose good stuff.

  35. All done in one sitting without needing Tilsit’s fine hints – brilliant! 👍
    Thanks to the setter for another enjoyable Saturday puzzle…that’ll be yet another pen inbound then! 😜

  36. What a lovely puzzle.
    Not too taxing but still enjoyable, I carelessly put in the wrong two letter ending to 8d which held me up for a while .
    COTD was 7d , although I saw it straight away it was one of those clues that you could look at for some time before twigging it.
    Have a great weekend everyone .

  37. **/****. Liked this and especially 13d. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  38. A very enjoyable puzzle today.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for sorting out the parsing of 12d for me.

  39. Just finished this morning. 2 down was tricky and I had to google it in the end. Having got the answers right, I had to rather tie myself in knots to try and work out why, but as long as all the squares are filled, I don’t mind, well, not that much anyway!

  40. I’ve been using this blog for years but have never commented. I have been moved today to join the list by two clues in particular. They are 13d (favourite) and 22a. They were my last two in.

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