DT 29703 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29703

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29703

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.
 Another enjoyable Wednesday solve with a couple of clues 16d and 22d that struck a particularly personal note for us.
A decidedly groan-worthy Quickie pun too.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Reluctant to entertain Italian lady for a drink (10)
CHARDONNAY : A five letter word for reluctant or cautious contains an Italian lady.

6a     Problem seen on source of deer lick (4)
DRUB : The first letter of deer and another word for a problem that we associate with the most famous soliloquy from Hamlet.

9a     Poles interceding in characteristic passage (7)
TRANSIT : A characteristic or peculiarity contains the two geographic poles.

10a     Instrument viewed in kaleidoscopic colours (7)
PICCOLO : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

12a     That girl drinking beer with courage will be game (4,3,6)
SPIN THE BOTTLE : A measure of beer is enclosed by a female personal pronoun and then a slang word for courage.

14a     Maoist youth argued about drive back (3,5)
RED GUARD : An anagram (about) of ARGUED and the reversal of the abbreviation for drive on a street sign.

15a     Split finance ultimately invested in London building (6)
SHARED : A prominent building on the London skyline contains the last letter of finance.

17a     Help for driver reversing vehicle after test (6)
SATNAV : The acronym for a common UK school test and then the reversal of a type of vehicle.

19a     Driving force may be arrogance in front of team (8)
AIRSCREW : Arrogance or haughtiness plus a team, possibly of rowers.

21a     These may cut supremo absorbed by wild NHS praise (7,6)
PINKING SHEARS : An anagram (wild) of NHS PRAISE contains a supreme ruler.

24a     Whip may see little weight attached to Tory regularly absent (7)
TROUNCE : The first and third letters of Tory precede a small imperial weight.

25a     Student doing badly with golf and getting stuck (7)
LODGING : The letter for a student driver, then an anagram (badly) of DOING plus G(olf).

26a     Entertainer that’s attractive to a parasite? (4)
HOST : The name used for an organism that a parasite associates with.

27a     Couriers in confusion with Greens in disarray (10)
MESSENGERS : A word for confusion or disarray and an anagram (in disarray) of GREENS.


1d     Pretty cunning (4)
CUTE : A double definition. Cunning or archly sly.

2d     Gathered there’s a transmitter for the audience (7)
AMASSED : A homophone for an erection that might broadcast radio signals. (This doesn’t work so well as a ‘sounds like’ for New Zealand speakers).

3d     Unfortunately I’m old — I sustain pretence (13)
DISSIMULATION : An anagram (unfortunately ) of I’M OLD I SUSTAIN.

4d     Ant panicked a politician with the habit of swimming (8)
NATATORY : An anagram (panicked) of ANT, then ‘A’ from the clue plus a right-wing politician.

5d     More than enough beer to keep person who’s been elected (5)
AMPLE : A three letter type of beer contains somebody in the House of Commons.

7d     Ring in schedule for early-morning caller (7)
ROOSTER : A schedule or list of duties contains the ring-shaped letter.

8d     Analysed having stopped working (6,4)
BROKEN DOWN : A double definition.

11d     Drier and unusually calm on the side (7,6)
CLOTHES MAIDEN : An anagram (unusually) of CALM ON THE SIDE. (This was an expression we had never encountered before).

13d     Go over plot for one who’s habitually bad-tempered (10)
CROSSPATCH : Go over or traverse and then plot or area of ground.

16d     Has Colin beaten this chap? (8)
NICHOLAS : An anagram (beaten) of HAS COLIN.

18d     Speaker systems cause anger in travellers after vacation (7)
TANNOYS : The first and last letters (after vacation) of travellers surround a word meaning cause anger.

20d     Relief especially seen during ceremony (7)
RESPITE : The three letter abbreviation for ‘especially’ is enclosed by ceremony or customary act.

22d     Flier essential to meagre beginnings (5)
GREBE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

23d     Hagglers occasionally finding time (4)
AGES : Alternate letters, to be found in the first word of the clue.

16d has to be our favourite as it not only has one of the blogging team but also our eldest son (by seven minutes). However, running it a close second was 22d as the New Zealand variety of this (pictured above) was a companion of ours during lockdown a year ago.

Quickie pun    astray    +    leer    =    Australia

85 comments on “DT 29703

  1. Perhaps not up there with the very best Wednesday productions but still a very solid and enjoyable puzzle.
    I’d never heard of the cutters at 21a but easily derived from the wordplay and checkers, 3d isn’t a word you see every day of the week, and 13d is like the proverbial London bus.
    Podium contenders are 9,15,17 and the clever 26a plus 1d.
    Many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  2. 2*/4.5*. We are having a very good week so far with enjoyable back-pagers.

    Two clues held me up slightly. I initially tried to parse “pruning shears” for 21a, and 2d is an unspeakably bad homophone where I come from.

    I’ve only ever heard of the “test” in 17d in the plural, but I suppose if the exams are called SATs then you sit one SAT at a time. :wink:

    1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to presumably Jay and to the 2Ks.

    1. The large NO!!! I wrote by 2d would confirm that it is an unspeakably bad homophone here too ;)

      1. I agree it’s not great but it’s nowhere near as unspeakably bad as the floor/flaw type “homophones” that are regularly served up (IMHO).
        I did like the early morning caller and the 24a whip.
        Thanks to Jay and 2Ks.

    2. Re 2d I wonder where the setter comes from because it doesn’t work for me either!

    3. It’s not a question of where you live but how it can be pronounced. Obviously for those who believe there is an ‘r’ in words such as past, pass, bath, etc are likely to be more annoyed and distressed by a broadsheet crossword using a hard ‘a’ than those from areas where no such ‘r’ is inserted. Nor do we complain when the sound required uses the invisible ‘r’ but mentally tug our our forelocks.

    4. The 2d homophone is exactly right where I come from – north Derbyshire. Try as I might, I can’t contrive ant other way to pronounce it, amassed = a mast.

      *Go onto Collins Online and a nice lady will pronounce it just like that!

  3. Sorry to disagree but I found this very hard and, whilst I finished it unaided and obtained some satisfaction from that, it was not that enjoyable (4*/1*). The clues were quite clever but it was not my cup of tea. I had never heard of an11d either, though I have often used one under another alias. Thanks to the compiler for his/her efforts and thanks to the Kiwis for the hints.

  4. 1a, 12a, and 21a get honourable mentions but 17a is my clue of the day. The second half of 11d made its maiden appearance in my vocabulary in what was a difficult puzzle for me so not much enjoyment and brain lockdown to boot.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  5. Usual Jay quality without maybe quite being out of his top drawer. A laboured solve as it seemed to take longer to see the obvious (must be the heat) but got there eventually after an embarrassingly long time to think of a drink to fit 1a, my last in, & then twig the wordplay. 4d was a new word to me & I did feel the need to confirm 19a was what I thought it was but otherwise ok.
    Thanks to Jay & to the 2Ks

  6. I have never heard of a clothes horse being a clothes maiden. I can’t find it in my BRB. Can anyone?
    Despite its bad press, I like 1a. I once had a delightful tour of NZ trying a different one every night. It’s going to be my COTD

    1. Coming from the North it was always referred to as an 11d (though usually without the first word, which admittedly you do expect to be followed by horse)

    2. I’ve herd it called a clothes horse or a clothes airer but never a clothes maiden.

    3. JB – in the BRB, maiden, on its own, is defined as a clothes horse but no entry for clothes maiden.

      1. I moved from Liverpool (Bootle) as a teenager in 1971 and the term ‘maiden’ was very common at that time and the picture shown is very accurate. The word ‘clothes’ was never used. On moving to London absolutely no one had heard of the expression! Maybe the setter has Scouse connections….

    4. It’s been “clothes maiden” all my life, here in North Derbyshire. I’ve still got my mothers old wooden clothes maiden, it must be at least 70 years old. Asda still advertise them today as “clothes maidens”.

      clothes maiden
      English: clothes maiden
      Definition of ’clothes maiden’
      clothes maiden
      in British English
      (kləʊðz ˈmeɪdən)
      Northern England dialect another name for maiden (sense 4)
      Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

      in British English
      1. archaic or literary
      a. a young unmarried girl, esp when a virgin
      b. (as modifier)
      a maiden blush
      2. horse racing
      a. a horse that has never won a race
      b. (as modifier)
      a maiden race
      3. cricket See maiden over
      4. Also called: clothes maiden Northern England dialect
      a frame on which clothes are hung to dry; clothes horse
      5. (modifier)
      of or relating to an older unmarried woman
      a maiden aunt
      6. (modifier)
      of or involving an initial experience or attempt
      a maiden voyage
      maiden speech
      7. (modifier)
      (of a person or thing) untried; unused

      1. Not far away in Notts but I can say that in 75 years I have never heard of a clothes maiden!

  7. I thought this was going to be a lot trickier than I was. Not helped by 4 words that I don’t recall ever coming across before in 11d, 3D, 4d and 19a. Don’t mind the odd bizarre word but surely four is a bit OTT!
    Favs for me were 7d and 17a.
    Thx to all

  8. Except for the 2d homophone, no surprise there, a very enjoyable mid-week exercise – ***/****.

    11d was also new to me.

    I wonder how long it will be before we see 13d again.

    Candidates for favourite 9a, 26a, 7d, and 8d – and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to Jay(?) and the 2Kiwis.

  9. I have no idea what that ‘transmitter’ is in 4d but I can think of nothing that sounds like the answer except for a spar aboard a ship; I got the answer right because of the checking letters. 11d was also new to me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the puzzle, especially 1, 6, & 14a, as well as 7d. If it’s Jay, it’s a bit below his standard, I think. Thanks to the Kiwis and today’s setter. 2* / 3.5*

    Another really cracking Toughie today.

    1. Presume you mean 2d. Everyone is saying the homophone doesn’t work ( a mast) but ok for me – maybe Miffs as a fellow Coventrian will back me up.
      Liked the film references in yesterday’s Toughie.

      1. I’ll back you up all the way Huntsman. There is almost no difference at all between A mast and amassed. Or for that matter flaw and flaw (sorry Gazza). Even if the homophone is stretched enough to be groan worthy I tend towards looking upon it as a humorous tool in the setters bag of tricks. Silvanus once told me that he wrote a homophone clue with me in mind. The homophone debate has been done before and will be done again. Nothing changes

        1. Of course amassed = a mast, us mere mortals (including uneducated orphans) all pronounce it that way. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows …

      2. I agree Huntsman. The validity of a homophone can often depend on which part of the country you come from, that’s why I like to give the setter a degree of artistic licence. I don’t think 2d is particularly bad.

      3. I was more than happy with “a mast” and “amassed” being homophones.

      4. H
        Add this Lancashire lad to that list. Nowt wrong wi’ it for me. Chuffin eck.

      1. Count me in too as someone who cannot hear much difference at all between a mast and amassed.

  10. Too many anagrams (8 out of only 28 clues), and a homophone that isn’t, rather take the edge off an already not very inspiring puzzle I’m afraid, with a few unusually rough surfaces. Not one of this setter’s better challenges in my view.

    Hon. mentions to 1a and 8d, and COTD to the smooth wit of 1d.


    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  11. Well I found this on the tricky side today and I too have never heard of a clothes maiden. I did not find it particularly enjoyable but thanks to the setter and the 2 Kiwis anyway. I think I’m just in a grumpy mood!

  12. Fair wordplay got me out of a couple of holes, otherwise all was plain sailing. No particular favourite, but I join the chorus of disapproval for the hideous 2d. That aside, this was hugely enjoyable with a good selection of clue types.

    My thanks as ever to Jay and the 2Ks.

  13. I found this one tricky too. ***/*** I don’t even understand what 2d is supposed to be a monophonic of so it’s safe to say it’s not pronounced as one in my part of the world either. I’d never heard of an 11d although, given the letters left, it could only be what it is. 4d is the French word for swimming (natation) so not too much of a stretch for me. Pinking shears are those scissors that cut in a zigzag pattern to help prevent fraying for the benefit of the chaps. I’ve never used a pair but my mum was quite the seamstress. So after all that, 1a is my favourite. Thanks to all.

    1. Should read homophone. There’s enough strange words in the grid without predictive text.

    2. First job was in a textile laboratory & we cut all our samples out with 21a before we dyed them. As you say it stopped them fraying.

      1. I have a pair of 21a, which do a good job of stopping fabric from fraying, when cutting out.

  14. Very slow to get going but once underway no real holdups. 12a is Fav clue although game is new to me as is 11d (I couldn’t get past garden) which together with 21a seems to point to a female setter? Thank you MsRon (?) and the 2 Kiwis.

  15. Good day. I have enjoyed all of the puzzles this week but not commented as I am ‘enjoying’ a break in Scotland where Saint Sharon is helping a friend with terminal care for her mother. What is it about the border with England that supports a heatwave to the south and Arctic conditions to the north? I’m suffering big time for my beer in the evenings in the cold damp windy conditions. Throw in the midges and my misery is complete. Anyway thanks to Jay for the puzzle and to the Kiwis for their review and illustrations.

  16. I found this quite tough but I persevered and managed to get there. So that is now three in row completed without any aid at all. Doubt I will make it four in a row but never say die! We had 12d recently and, if my memory serves, it was in the very same position. It took a long time for me to unravel 3d and I had never come across 4d before. However, it was gettable from the parsing. Like Rabbit Dave, I had “pruning shears” in my mind for 24a but I could not see a “supremo” until the penny dropped with a clang (huge penny). Never heard of a clothes maiden either. It was always a clothes horse in our house and I hated it. Every Monday it stood in front of the coal fire blocking out the heat. Anyway, I had “Country Garden” for ages even though it was obviously wrong. My COTD is 1a.

    Many thanks to Jay for the challenge and to the 2 Kiwis for the hints, which I will now read.

    Loved the Quickie pun! One of the best.

  17. I enjoyed this and having read the blog am now wondering how to pronounce 2d in a way which makes the homophone “unspeakably bad”.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and today’s setter.

  18. I hadn’t heard of that synonym for reluctant, although I knew the Italian lady in 1a. I tried to justify belladonna, but couldn’t, so had to wait for a few more checking letters. 2d worked for me absolutely fine. 21a was probably straight in for a lot of ladies ( and men) on the site who sew. 24a was my favourite clue. Thank you setter and the 2ks.

  19. Swimming against the flow here as I’m very familiar with 11d and the homophone at 2d seems close enough to be unremarkable.
    My downfall in this one was to carelessly bung in ‘pruning shears’ at 21a without parsing it, which caused some grief when it came to finding the 18d anger!
    12a brought back a few teenage memories and 1a was my favourite (although not my tipple of choice!).

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review.

  20. Delighted to be able to use my new knowledge of the word in 13d so soon! The homophone in 2d doesn’t work for my accent either, but I think it’s a perfectly acceptable clue on the basis that it will work for plenty of the population. A few unusual words in 3d, 4d and 11d but all perfectly doable from the wordplay.
    Overall, this one didn’t really light my fire, no stand out favourites, but pleasing to fill another grid.
    Thanks to all

  21. **/****. Enjoyable puzzle with 3&4d being words that must hardly ever be used other than in crosswords. 13d also made a rapid return and is again a strange term. All very fairly clued. Thanks to all.

  22. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle for a scorching Hampshire afternoon.
    3*/4* favs 19ac &1ac
    A couple of clues held me up & pushed me into 3* time.
    Many thanks to 2KWS for review & Jay for the entertainment

  23. For any that usually don’t bother Hudson’s Toughie is very doable & full of super clues. Well worth a look & more fun than this one in my book.

  24. Found this hard to get into then made very staccato progress. When the answers came there didn’t seem any reason why I had struggled.
    Took *** time can’t give more than *** for enjoyment.
    Agree with 1a as COTD.
    Thanks to setter and 2K’s for the review.

  25. Found this very tricky and not a favourite puzzle today. *****/** The words in 6a, 3d, 4d all new to me. Been away from UK for so long I did not know the name of the building in 15a either. Along with the 11d second word for the picture made no sense … not what I call it.
    Not sure the connection with 16d picture and answer either and can’t parse the clue. And the 2d homophone?? Come on.

    All in all for me a very unsatisfactory puzzle.
    Used too many clues and too much googling today to receive satisfaction on filling the grid.
    On the plus side I liked 24a, 8d & 23d
    Hope this wasn’t a Jay puzzle … he’s better than this offering.

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

      1. The picture was taken in 1970 and is of our eldest son who is named in the answer.
        On the other hand it might actually be his twin brother Timothy as they were just about impossible to tell apart.

  26. 4d – I got that Nat is often the beginning of swimming things, but took me a while to remove aMP from my thinking. Plus, I’m familiar with natation, but I can’t think anybody would use the 4d word. I mean, why would you? I’m assuming the stress is on the 2nd syllable?
    19a – it was a guess, but it’s a thing – so I can’t complain.
    16d – pretty weak, I think.

    I know about the horse in relation to clothes, and remember making tents out of them as a child, but not the maiden. Why? I don’t get it. I can only understand it in terms of no result, never done, never won etc. Is it one of those terms which is a bastardisation of another term?

    I’ve used pinking shears all my life, but they’re really hard work and hopeless for cutting fabric on the flat. People just use sergers these days, if they want to avoid fraying.
    I’m familiar with the 3d word because, in humans, you can test for it using clever techniques. There are a lot of fakers, liars and cheats around …

    Thanks to our Kiwis and Jay(?)

  27. I am just pleased today’s offering was not covered in salad dressing.Lynn the Foot came midday to make us nimble footed again so our routine was disrupted but I have finished it now whilst George is Zooming. Like RD, Steve C and Jane I put in pruning shears which just shows you should justify before entering! I was once a user of pinking shears but for some years have had an over locker which is better. Very hot and humid here- we simply must have a storm to clear the air. I liked the little discussion about the short ‘a’, the clue just about works but ‘could do better’ and there is 13d again (yes, in the same position) to ram it home to those who did not know the word. Thanks to the setter and the two Kiwis, I agree that the pun was excruciating but that is what puns should be, cringe making . I am off to overlock the hem of a skirt, cannot bend over a hot garden any more today.

  28. Guess who had ‘hale and hearty’ in for 12 across. I could almost justify ale in her plus heart for courage but was then disappointed that nothing else would fit in …

    1. I did exactly the same, knew it wasn’t right but couldn’t let it go for a long time

  29. Thanks to the 2 Kiwis for the always super review – just add that this Liverpudlian forgot to check the (southern!) pronunciation of mast in the dictionary! Ta to all for comments

    1. Thanks for popping in, Jay, and for another excellent production. I was with you re: 2&11d – can’t let these southerners have it all their own way!

    2. Thanks for popping in Jay and I’m with you and Jane regarding 2d. Great puzzle – thank you.

    3. Thanks for the entertaining puzzle!

      I can’t not chime in:

      2D works perfectly in American English as well.

  30. Well, I loved it! Then I always love a Jay offering. The only clue that held me up was 11d, that took as long as the rest of the puzzle. I got the first word, I tried all sorts of anagram solvers but none gave it to me. Eventually I eliminated the first word and used the anagram solver for the rest, then googled it. It took forever, I hope I don’t forget it.
    Mum had 21a, so no holdup there. “Ay, there’s the rub” came straight to mind for 6a. I don’t think 3d is especially obscure, but I did have to look up 4d. Map & Lucia came to mind with 22d.
    I loved it all, for memories of Mum I choose 13d again as fave, but 1a and 7d deserve honorable mention.
    Thank you Jay for all the fun and the 2Kiwis for the hints and pics.

  31. A very enjoyable puzzle today. Solved alone and unaided except for checking that clothes maiden was a term . Took me a couple of goes as it is not in my online BRB.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

    Got my shingles jag today at my GP surgery…which was completely deserted except for the 2 nurses giving the jags. What are the rest of them all doing? And what sort of job satisfaction can they possibly be getting ? And, most importantly why are they not looking after Mr Meringue’s diabetes? He hasn’t heard a peep from them since last July. Bah!

    1. Heaven knows what doctors are doing, you can’t see one here at all and WE pay their enormous salaries to sit on their backsides. When my face blew up over the bank holiday I had to travel miles to see an emergency doctor who was fantastic and despaired of his ‘colleagues’ – apparently on the golf course!

    2. I take it, Ora that you are in Scotland? The first time I heard an injection called a jag was when did a locum job for a dentist in Stirling. The patients would ask if I was going to give them a “jag”.

      1. Yes, Steve. Dundee. Always called jags here…..because they jag you like jaggy nettles as opposed to stinging nettles.

  32. Morning all.
    One can almost guarantee that a homophone can precipitate a lot of discussion and 2d has certainly done that. When we wrote the hint we assumed that it was just us antipodeans who distinguished between the two but it seems that the great divide also exists within the UK. What fun crosswords give us. We could also make a similar comment about the 11d drier.
    Thanks for popping in Jay and thanks for the puzzle. We are still wondering how you could possibly know our eldest son’s name for 16d.

  33. Nope, didn’t enjoy this one. The 2d homophone didn’t work from me, never seen 4d nor heard of 11d. Always a clothes horse when I was a lass, but they probably wouldn’t know what I was talking about if I called it that over here. Didn’t feel like a Jay, but what do I know? Losing interest I went off and had a stab a today’s Toughie, where 1a misled me into thinking it might not be above my pay grade. So scuttled back here, and persevered with the help of the hints, thanks 2Kiwis. And to the setter. Off to attend our Landscape Beautification Committee meeting now. Sounds grand doesn’t it? Really all we will be doing is deciding which summer annuals will be used this year in our neighborhood plantings. Won’t take long, as there are very few annuals that can survive the South Florida summer heat.

  34. No enjoyment here. At least 4 clues with terms no human has used for several hundred years. I thought it was a wavelength issue at first, but then realised it wasn’t.

    The fact that chary, a word I detest, appeared did not help the enjoyment factor.


    Despite the negativity in this post, thanks to all.

    1. Welcome from me as well, Gillian. Interesting about a clothes horse being known as a winteredge in some places. Where is it known as this?

      We like to learn! 👍

  35. This Leicestershire lad didn’t have a problem with the 2d homophone. Never heard of 3d, 4d or 11d so had to Google them to check and I’m sure I’ll never use them in conversation. Favourite was 19a, my father was an aircraft engineer and the oldest working licensed one in Europe until he retired due to ill health two years before he died aged 93. Thanks to Jay and 2K’s.

  36. No problem with the homophone either. It’s a bit like that chestnut pact = packed. Mast = massed.
    The second synonym in 1d was new to me, so was 4d and the tancarville in 11d.
    Thought I was dreaming when I saw 13d but it was a real deja vu.
    Thanks to Jay for yet another super crossword and to the 2 kiwis for the review.

  37. Normally get on well with Jays offerings but this was too tough for me. Thanks to all.

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