DT 29704 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29704

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29704

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***  – Enjoyment ***

Good morning from our temporary sojourn north of the border where the weather has been less than kind. Even less kind have been the midges, we were warned but golly bongs they do make life difficult. Home tomorrow via a night in The Lake District and dinner at Lucy’s in Ambleside

I thought today’s puzzle was on the tricky side of difficult so I hope my hints are helpful to those in need of help towards an answer or the understanding of why an answer is correct

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Lives quietly at first and sits in chair? (8)
PRESIDES: Begin with the music notation meaning quietly and add a verb meaning  lives in a dwelling or place

5a        Show respect for nineteenth eleven, as you might say? (6)
ESTEEM: Nineteenth here refers to the nineteenth letter of the alphabet. An eleven refers to the number of players in a football or cricket team. The words ‘as you might say’ suggest a homophonic element to the clue. The letter and the teem together sound like the underlined definition

8a        Lord settled in US city? Not quite (6)
NEARLY: Another word for a lord or ennobled person sits inside the initials of an American city. You do have a lot of cities to choose from

9a        Pair wandering around Iran having accident by river (8)
RIPARIAN: An anagram (wandering around) of PAIR is followed by an anagram (having accident) of IRAN

10a      Endless work to get information on certain animals (8)
CHORDATA: A dull boring repetitive task minus its last letter is followed by a word meaning information. Possibly information generated by computer. The answer is a large phylum of animals that includes the vertebrates together with the sea squirts and lancelets. They are distinguished by the possession of a notochord at some stage during their development. Never heard of them

11a      Welshman heading off with group for broadcast (6)
AIRING:  A popular Welsh mans name minus its first letter is followed by a group or cartel

12a      Successful in life? Not American fellow stranded on island (8)
PROSPERO: Remove the initial letters of the United States from a word meaning to have been successful in life to find a character from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest

13a      Rabbit found in train at terminus (6)
NATTER: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words found in

15a      Pole that is restricting a traveller (6)
ROADIE: The letter A from the clue sits inside a round thin pole and the Latin abbreviation for that is or Id est

18a      Stop with gold and meet authorised receiver (8)
ENDORSEE: A three-letter word meaning to bring to a stop plus a two-letter word for gold is followed by a synonym of the word meet

20a      Geese in high wind to keep going in extremis (6)
GAGGLE: A high wind contains the outer letters of the word going

21a      Capital city in Caribbean containing pub with little spirit (8)
WINNIPEG: The initial letters of some islands in the Caribbean surround a pub with rooms. This is followed by a word meaning a small measure of spirits such as Whisky

23a      Trick that’s bad played on us — I’ll get caught (8)
ILLUSION: A word meaning bad, sick or poorly is followed by an anagram (played) of ON US which contains the letter I (I’ll get caught)

24a      They go out in pursuit when leader’s gone missing by river (6)
EXEUNT: A river in Devon is followed by those who, as a group, give chase to foxes but minus their first letter

25a      Anger? It’s that bad before peace finally comes (6)
ENRAGE: An anagram (it’s that bad) of ANGER sits before the final letter of the word peace. The word anger is doing double duty here as anagram fodder and definition

26a      Boy gets confused — last requirement for actor or performer (8)
SONGSTER: A male offspring (boy) is followed by an anagram (confused) of GETS. This is rounded off with the final letter of the word actor


1d        Fear of pagan deity in charge (5)
PANIC: A woodland deity is followed by the initial letter of the words in charge

2d        Gentleman rated highly said to be astonished (9)
SURPRISED: Two homophones are required here indicated by the words said to be. One word for a knighted gentleman and one for rated or valued highly

3d        24-hour protection needed? This help isn’t available overnight (3,4)
DAY CARE:  A period of 24 hours is followed by a level of protection often associated with health and well-being

4d        Act as a proud bird might and find new things to do (6,4,5)
SPREAD ONES WINGS: A double definition. A phrase often used to describe a young person blossoming and becoming more independent and confident

5d        No longer obvious what one must do to make things clear (7)
EXPLAIN:  A two-letter prefix meaning former or no longer is followed by a word meaning obvious or basic

6d        Title is special — does one ignore ordinary folk? (7)
ELITIST: Anagram (special) of TITLE IS

7d        Beasts in a good lake descended on by soldiers (9)
MENAGERIE: A four part charade. Some male soldiers. The letter A from the clue. The abbreviation for good. One of the great lakes

12d      Bird erring badly when diving into water (9)
PEREGRINE:  This bird is a type of Falcon. An anagram (badly) of ERRING sits inside urinated water. Thank you CrypticSue for confirming my thoughts 

14d      Quality of slow service with sailor needing to eat on ship (9)
TARDINESS: A regular crosswordland sailor is followed by a word meaning to eat. This is finished off with the initials used before the name of a large ship

16d      By no means resembling a rounded character (7)
ANGULAR: This all in one clue describes something with straight lines and sharper corners rather than being curved and rounded

17d      Recluse has some productive time reflecting when standing on head (7)
EREMITE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some. It is reversed as indicated by the words when standing on head 

19d      Unlimited desire to enter fellow’s place of confinement (7)
DUNGEON: A desire for food needs to lose its outer letters and sit inside a fellow in a university

22d      Toothy beast jumping at oranges — only some taken (5)
GATOR: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words only some taken

Quickie Pun Scent Apiece = Centrepiece


135 comments on “DT 29704

  1. Did someone put the Toughie in the wrong envelope. The clues were so circuitous that I almost gave up but was happy to finish in 6* time with only 2 prompts . Not a lot of fun. Thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler for his/ her efforts.

  2. I thought this was such a typical Giovanni puzzle it was almost a parody. In general I’m not keen on difficulty coming from obscurities but I did enjoy teasing them out from the (very fair) wordplay and checkers.
    I have to say I was very surprised at the “water” in 12d, and isn’t it time for the long suffering Welshman in 11a to be put out to grass?
    My ticks go to 1a, the clever 5a&5d along with the amusing 4d.
    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to MP for interrupting his holiday.

    1. I think “surprised” at the water in 12d is a litotes (is that the correct use of that word?) I couldn’t believe it!

  3. Very good coffeee-break crossword this morning, a proper “almost the end of the week backpager”, challenging, tricky, some good red herrings, and immensely satisfying to solve. Even the liberal scattering of double-unches didn’t dull my pleasure!

    Tackled clockwise from NW, and delayed by wanting to strutt one’s stuff in 4d (well, that works for me!) until too many interlinking answers forced me to reconsider. Very clever lurkers, great selection of clues, appropriate levels of GK (and certainly nothing obscure), plenty of smiles and laugh out loud moments – not sure everyone will approve of 12d, but hell, why not?

    I could have listed almost every clue as being a candidate for COTD, so good were they, but will winnow the hon. mentions down to 8a, 12a, 20a, 21a, 1d, 12d, 14d, 17d and 19d, with my COTD being 24a, also my LOI.


    Very many thanks to MP for the review, and to the Setter – whoever you are, I relish your next puzzle!


      1. It’s a better answer to the first half of the clue, possibly, but with due deference to our unknown setter, I think the correct answer is a better fit for the second half, and thus the clue as a whole. For me a reminder not to write in the letters quite so emphatically when I still have lingering doubts in my mind!

  4. Must be a wavelength thing, thoroughly enjoyed this – 3*/4*. A few unfamiliar words but eminently gettable from the excellent wordplay & crossers. Lots of candidates for favourite, 5a, 21a, 7d, 12d. Thanks to the compiler and to Miffypops – had to check had used the right kind of water!

  5. I couldn’t get back to sleep so started at 5.30 am. Top left flew in and then it was a very slow struggle. Like Stephen L, I was rather surprised at the water in 12d. Perhaps someone could tell me where the E is indicated in the clue for the first letter in 5a. Thanks to the setter and MP – MP you will be pleased to know that the scorching weather has been replaced by dense cloud and its perishing.

    1. Re 5a – the first two letters of the answer are a homophone of the 19th letter of the alphabet. Reader, I groaned!

      1. I must be really thick – I realised that s is the 19th letter but that still doesn’t explain where the E comes from.

        1. If you say the letter ‘s’ out loud, there’s the short ‘e’ sound before the sybillant ‘s’.

  6. So was I Stephen! And I needed MP’s hints to understand 21a and I still can’t see where the little spirit comes into it. As for 10a, I thought I made it up from the components of the clue and was amazed to find it really is a word. I’d love to know if anyone had ever heard of it before today. This was a bit of an exercise and a half. ****/*** and completed in two sittings. Favourite 12a. Thanks to all.

        1. Neither did I although I found the answer. Doubly confusing as a nip is a little drink

  7. My goodness gracious! This was quite a workout for me but, even though I was nudged into *** time, I found it quite exhilarating. Yes, really. It’s hard to know where to begin to highlight the winning clues because there’s so much refreshing inventiveness and diabolic wordplay that I find it difficult to single out a mere podium-worthy ensemble. Still, here goes: 24a, 21a, 12a, with hons mention to 10a, 12d, & 4d. I thought that yesterday’s Toughie by Hudson was the best puzzle I’d seen in weeks, but this one gives him a good run for his money. I have no idea who the compiler is, but it’s an extraordinarily brilliant work of art. Thanks to MP, whose review I’ll read now, and to today’s setter. *** / *****

    Today’s Toughie is another gem.

    1. “hons mention”? I think I meant ‘hon. mentions’, which I tried to lift from Mustafa. Didn’t quite work out as planned. Serves me right.

  8. Not my favourite crossword. I struggled to finish, needing help in the NW. I didn’t know 9a, 10a or 12a and didn’t know the spirit in 21a.

    COTD by far, was 24a, but I suppose only because it involves some GK which I do know.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  9. A really enjoyable workout this morning with some top clueing. I did not find it particularly difficult but it was one of he best puzzles of the week. The slightly risqué 12d was my favourite, alongside 12a.

    Thanks to The Don and MP.

  10. Bit of a grind but I’m blaming last night’s trip to The Waterside Inn.

    Thanks to MP and today’s setter.

    1. Very nice indeed. Have dined there only once & it was great though recall the wine list was prohibitively pricey.

      1. I always think the point of the very expensive wines is to make the expensive wines seem less so.

        1. I once interviewed Cliff Mitchelmore and he told me of the Krug champagne and shepherds pie parties at Lord Archer’s penthouse flat.

          “The first glass was Krug but the rest were Tecsco’s sparkling”!

  11. Even allowing for a grid where even I noticed all those double unches – and knowing the obscurities plus having studied The Tempest for A Level, I thought this was more of a Toughie than many of the crosswords that appear under that title – this took me a 5* time and I can’t say I enjoyed it that much. Today’s Toughie is much more friendly

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  12. Crikey! My worst performance in living memory. Managed about half a dozen before turning to the Miff for aid and assistance.

    We are going through a tough time at the moment. My very elderly mother died yesterday. It seems to be one funeral after another right now. The crossword is my temporary distraction from the thousand things one has to do in the circumstances, so I must away to those tasks.

    Thanks to the setter, and Miff fighting off the midges.

    1. Oh dear Terence, what an awful time you are having, I’m not surprised you found the puzzle difficult under the circumstances. So very sorry.

    2. My condolences to you, Terrance. You and your good lady are going through it at the moment.

    3. Sorry for your trouble Terence. Stay safe and strong. Will hold you and yours in the light.

      1. I went through a time like that, when my mother in law and father died in 2001 and the last of my uncles and aunts in 2002. It’s hard to feel so totally bereft, Terence, and my thoughts are with you.

    4. So sorry for your sad news. It’s so tough when these happen close together.

    5. You’ve really been through it recently, Terence, thank goodness you and H have each other for support. No doubt Lola will also be a comfort to you – animals are good at simply being there when you need a friend.

    6. I’m not sure if you will see this message Terence as it’s so late in the evening but my sincere condolences on the loss of your mother and the difficult time you are going through. Take good care.

  13. Best of the week’s back pagers so far by some margin in my book & a good deal tougher than both of the excellent Tues & Wed Toughies. I thoroughly enjoyed the solve & learnt a few things in the process. 9&10a needed confirmation as did the spirit measure at 21a & I thought the water in 12d very Graun. As Mustafa G says virtually every clue was podium worthy but if restricted to just 3 picks I’ll plump for 21&24a with best of all the clever lurker buried in the great surface of 17d.
    Thanks to the setter for a super puzzle & to MP for reviewing it on his hols.

  14. Lots and lots of gaps when I surrendered. My crushing ignorance often making both ends of the clues beyond me.

  15. I agree that it was on the tricky side and I agree with CS that the double unches were not helpful but for all that I enjoyed it all the more .
    4d was my favourite.
    Thanks to all concerned.

    1. Please forgive my manners. Many thanks to the compiler and to “being eaten alive” Miffypops for the hints.

      1. Switch to the Toughie Steve – they were definitely the wrong way round today.

        1. I did, Huntsman but didn’t have time to finish it. I will look at it again tomorrow but I agree with you – it is far more doable and enjoyable than this offering.

  16. An awful slog for me today. Had to turn to the hints for the Welshman but otherwise persevered and got the rest.
    Not very enjoyable for me.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

    Sore arm after shingles jag today. Boo!
    Sun splitting the pavements here in Dundee.

    1. Lucky you Ora. Up here bright but cloudy. Not overly warm either.
      Notice your Covid cases in Dundee have rocketed more than Glasgow & Edinburgh combined.

  17. I thought this a super crossword and more challenging of many of the recent “toughies” – although today’s was more like it. (Of course Elgar will be ‘softening my cough’ tomorrow.)
    I don’t understand the people who thought ‘strut ones stuff’ was a better answer for 4d as it doesn’t fit the letter pattern

    1. Bertie, 4d. If you read the comments carefully you’ll see that Mustapha spelt strut incorrectly as “strutt” (6) and Huntsman had struts (6). So, in both instances their nascent suggestions (despite being wrong) did have the correct letter patterns.

    2. Sometimes an answer pops into one’s head from the clue, without regard to the required letters. It appears to fit, until the checkers prove otherwise. Nevertheless, those answers have a high likelihood of being right, IMHO.

    3. Echoing both Jose and Lizzie, sometimes the wrong answers can leap unbidden into one’s mind, appear to provide the requisite answer, and stubbornly take camp proving near impossible to shift. Only when eventually faced with insurmountable evidence, and sometime even then only reluctantly, will the subconcious mind allow for the possibility of earlier error.

      And in this case, what a great picture it conjures to imagine a proud bird strutting its stuff!

      1. It was the first thing to come to my mind, swiftly discarded because it had the wrong number of letters. I had a wonderful image of a strutting rooster in my mind until I realised that it didnt fit the trying new things part of the clue.

    4. Peacocks came to mind but of course they didn’t fit so had to be discarded. A few across clues later & the answer fitted with a song by Aled Jones which I have recently heard which asks for courage to do just that.

  18. A not particularly enjoyable grind for me.
    Thanks to miffypops for the review.
    Thanks to the compiler, sorry but it was too difficult for me.

  19. Like others found this tough and a bit of a plod. Needed e help to confirm 12a. My lack of knowledge of Shakespeare’s plays again. Otherwise manged the rest in *** time.
    Steve’s unaided run will be severely tested I think.
    Thanks to setter and the midge plagued MP.
    When we first moved up here I bemoaned their presence MP. If I remember correctly you suggested an Avon product & it certainly worked for us. Did you not bring any?
    As regards the cold. We used to have a saying “Ne’er cast a clout ’til May is out.”
    Up here it’s simply “Ne’er cast a clout.”
    Great win for Wales last night fingers crossed now.

      1. Try Avon Skin so Soft Dry Oil Spray, Original fragrance. It sounds girly but the military have been known to use it, when training in places with lots of midges. The midges avoid it like tge plague.

        1. And the park rangers use it here in the Everglades. Also, it’s the only things that keep the dreaded “no see ums” away on the west coast of Florida.

          1. Except Avon doesn’t sell the dry oil version over here. I just looked for it, as I would prefer it to the greasy version, but no luck.

            1. I have found it on Amazon Busy Lizzie. I don’t know if you have the same thing available in the States.

          1. I thought it might be. When I taught Geography and Geology, I used to take some on school field trips as insect repellent. It was difficult enough keeping track of 20 or 30 teenagers without having insect bites too.

  20. Gave up when I knew only two clues out of six were probably correct. Thanks to MP and the setter.

    A dreadful puzzle as a back pager.

  21. MP. Forgive me for being pedantic/petty, but a few years ago you accused me of including a tautology in a comment and I had difficulty explaining that I hadn’t. In the preamble above you use the phrase “temporary sojourn”. If that isn’t a tautology, then I don’t know what is! Sorry … :-)

    1. Temporary sojourn is a pleonasm.

      A tautology relates more to an assertion being made where is it self-evident, eg…

      It may or may not rain tomorrow.

      1. G273. You are technically not wrong with your opening statement, but then you have mischievously cited the secondary (scientific/logic) meaning of tautology: in logic (= a formal scientific method of examining ideas), a statement that is always true.The primary meaning of tautology is: the use of two words or phrases that express the same meaning, in a way that is unnecessarily repetitive and usually unintentional, eg “all at once, she suddenly remembered”. And that meaning of a tautology is, for all intents and purposes, the same as a pleonasm.

        1. * In short, the phrase in question is definitely a tautology, but I wouldn’t argue if you want to call in a pleonasm.

    2. I love when these discussions come up, they are so far above my head, I know I stand no chance of catching up at my age!

    1. Another time? You have got to be joking. I look like a lumpy man. September to may only in the future

  22. I do wish Giovanni would stop putting Toughies in the cryptic. Three weird words today in 10a, 9a and 19d. It’s been a week for weird words given the amount that yesterday had.
    Eventually finished with the help of the hints for 2 clues but very tricky and little fun.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I remember 9a so well when Mrs. Bucket had her riparian entertainments and poor Mr. Bucket had to lug baskets of food for her.

      1. Ah, I just twigged the allusion, Merusa. I dearly loved Keeping Up Appearances.

  23. Sorry to whoever the Compiler is but this was far too convoluted 🙁 *****/* as I have said many times before this was not a back pager! No favourites ( the first time I have had to say that) Thanks to MP for his much needed help 12d honestly 😳

  24. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very difficult puzzle that I couldn’t get into. Too many obscurities for my liking. Needed 8 hints to finish. No particular favourites was 6*/1* for me.

  25. Definitely an uphill slog today, with several obscure or rarely seen words, with 9a, 10a and 24a being worst offenders. Not my favourite cryptic. Not a Ray T methinks, as he is tough but fair. Thanks to Miffypops for providing the much needed hints, especially as he is away on holiday right now, that’s going above and beyond in my book. Hopefully Kath is continuing to recover and will be back commenting soon.

      1. Oh yes I do. I love those yoghurts that come in little glass pots, and Peter always calls me Mrs Bucket when he sees my washing them in the dishwasher before recycling…

      1. Yes I just had a go at it. Didn’t finish of course, but I do like to see how many I can figure out all on my own. Spent ages wondering about the spelling of 18a, as it is without the final e. Guess the answer refers to the hat rather than the person.

        1. Think the two endings are interchangeable, seems that it’s us Brits who favour the one used today. Who knew!

  26. Failed miserably with this one today. Managed the top left hand corner then came to a halt. The hints were very necessary, thankyou ! Hopefully, tomorrow will be easier.
    So sorry to hear your sad news Terence.

  27. I can’t decide whether I liked this or not! I had to use waaay too much e-help, even so, I didn’t finish in the SW. There were many that I liked, the fellow stranded on the island and the memories of Mrs. Bucket for instance, and I liked 4d once I got there. I’d never heard of the “little spirit” or 10a, but they were gettable from the clues.
    Thank you Giovanni, and huge gratitude to midge-bitten M’pops for unravelling not a few!

  28. A typical Giovanni for me. Hard to get going and keep going. Wavelength thing for me. Three new words again today for me did not help with 10a, 24a & 17d. Parsing was troublesome too for me today. ****/**
    Favourite clues were 20a, 21a, 3d and 4d with 4d winner as it was my first in.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  29. Wow, this was hard. Managed about half, then with a few hints finally finished it. No joy at all. Three words I’ve never heard of, where’s the fun in that?
    Much sympathy to Terence. Years ago We
    lost my dad and my mother in law within 4 months. It’s devastating.
    Thanks to setter and especially PM,(well he should be) 😂
    Don’t know why I persevered really

  30. It would appear that this setter has swallowed a large dictionary. There are several words that could not be worked out because they are such obscure definitions, and not ones one finds in general use. All very well, but is infuriating!

  31. Well regardless of the quality or not of today’s crossword, it has certainly produced the most interesting and entertaining responses! And thank you to MP and Giovanni.

  32. Certainly tricky, running into **** time for me, but I thought it was refreshingly different, with unusual clue constructions and anagram indicators. Each answer and subsequent parsing gave me a little frisson of pleasure (I know, I need to get a life :-) ) Even learned some new words, though forgotten already. So many thanks to Giovanni and Midgeypops.

    1. Well done for your positive attitude to a good challenge – unlike all the moaners. Cryptics are supposed to stretch your mental capacity.

  33. I usually enjoy Giovanni’s offerings but this was beyond a joke and I have thrown in the towel. Am I alone? 😰

    1. You are not alone, Angellov, not by any means!
      I got two answers on my first pass, and didn’t improve a great deal in my second.
      Sincere thanks to MP, and to the setter! 🙃

  34. I thought yesterday was difficult!

    This was off the charts in difficulty for me. Just over half the clues solved with absolutely now enjoyment whatsoever.

    Thanks to Miffypops for the much needed explanations and answers.

  35. Just before I turn in I want to offer Kath and all our friends who are having a hard time at the moment my prayers and thoughts.

    Good night all.

  36. Not so tough for me, but a few clues I wasn’t keen on – for instance, 16d which I can’t really see as cryptic to a point where I didn’t really believe I had it right ‘til I had all the checkers…

  37. 12d was the first to go in then had to go to work. Had dinner with N°1 only daughter who came down from Paris for the weekend and just went back to it.
    Took a while to get started again but the East side offered much hope and slowly filled answer after answer.
    Had to check quite a few things and count the alphabet on my fingers to make sure of 5a.
    Remembered 18a when cheques were around.
    Glad Giovanni gave us just one cryptic clue today and, for once, I knew the idiom in 4d.
    When parsing Senf’s capital city, I thought I had it wrong as the short spirit was peri without the i. Winniper just didn’t make sense.
    Favourite is the wonderful 23a.
    Thanks to the Don and to MP.

  38. My goodness, what an exhausting crossword. Did the setter deliberately choose a very difficult grid for an extremely difficult puzzle? Many****/almost a minus* for pleasure because it was such a struggle.
    Incidentally I was able to solve 21a because the meaning of peg was explained recently in hints and comments. Thanks to M/pops for all his hard work while on holiday, and to the setter.

  39. Very glad to see that most found this hard. Inexplicably I did finish with no hints or sids but it took a long time. 20 and 23a and 2 5 7 and 14d favourites. Thanks MP for parsing of 5a. I got the sounds like end but always miss the ones that sound like a letter. Also I assumed nineteenth was something to do with golf or après golf. Thanks Giovanni but don’t do it too often please.

  40. It became a matter of honour to finish this fiendish crossword unaided – which I did with much satisfaction in several sessions. I liked 12a and had a double pause over 12d – was it really that kind of water?! *****/****

  41. The first time I’ve commented. I often end up doing the crossword a day or so late and I really struggled with 17 June. There might be a day when I need a nudge with a clue or two, but I barely managed a quarter of this one before I finally turned to Big Dave this morning. I’m relieved it’s not just me that couldn’t get to grips with it. Definitely not the clues I’d be setting to get some of those answers! But I did get 4d!

    1. And welcome from me Kate. Late comments are always welcome and always read. I hope you comment again soon

  42. 4*/4*….
    liked 17D “Recluse has some productive time reflecting when standing on head (7)”

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