DT 29708 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29708

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29708

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone. I'm only about 80% sure who crafted today's puzzle, so I'm not going to stick my neck out today. Perhaps our setter will take a bow at some point during the day. I thought it was an enjoyable puzzle containing nothing too off the wall and presenting about the right level of difficulty for a Tuesday. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will display one or both of the kittens. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Happy puppy initially let out (7)
PLEASED:  The initial letter of PUPPY with let out or rented 

5a    Reduces classes for auditors (7)
LESSENS:  A homophone (for auditors) of classes at school 

9a    King in fit state (5)
ARGUE:  The Latin abbreviation for king inserted in crosswordland's favourite fit or fever 

10a   Explain recent trip at sea without Charlie (9)
INTERPRET:  An anagram (at sea) of RECENT TRIP minus the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by charlie (without Charlie) 

11a   Meeting prisoner to receive stolen goods, hiding sign of hesitation (10)
CONFERENCE:  A usual prisoner is followed by a verb meaning to receive stolen goods that's containing (hiding) a short word of hesitation 

12a   Papa poorly? This may help (4)
PILL:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by paper with poorly or sick. The definition refers back to the rest of the clue 

14a   Show boss maybe a strange game, foolishly (5,7)
STAGE MANAGER:  An anagram (foolishly) of A STRANGE GAME 

18a   Missing cord that's useful for a jumper? (8-4)
SKIPPING-ROPE:  Missing or bypassing with a synonym of cord. The definition refers back to some of the wordplay 

21a   Whoppers covered in cheese I like sent back (4)
LIES:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (covered in … sent back) of the remaining words in the clue 

22a   Genuine couple's qualities (10)
PROPERTIES:  Genuine or appropriate with couples or joins 

25a   Toured Beethoven's Fourth, and French composer conducted (9)
TRAVELLED:  Concatenate the fourth letter of BEETHOVEN, a French composer of music for ice dancing, and a synonym of conducted 

26a   Look around university for thin fabric (5)
GAUZE:  Look fixedly containing (around) the single letter for university 

27a   Reveal lips changing within 24 hours (7)
DISPLAY:  An anagram (changing) of LIPS contained by (within) a short word for 24 hours 

28a   Most stretched out legs, not painfully (7)
LONGEST:  An anagram (painfully) of LEGS NOT 



1d    Responsibility to catch one fish (6)
PLAICE:  Responsibility or duty containing (to catch) the Roman one 

2d    Machine broken, gin escaped bottles (6)
ENGINE:  The fusion of words two, three, and four hides (bottles) the answer 

3d    Record player with brand label (10)
STEREOTYPE:  An informal name for a record player with brand or sort 

4d    Rubbish student lacking ambition (5)
DRIVE:  Another word for rubbish, minus the single letter indicating a student or learner driver (… student lacking

5d    Ordered ace Merlot -- one will turn up eventually (9)
LATECOMER:  An anagram (ordered) of ACE MERLOT 

6d    Uttered profanities, leaving wife angry (4)
SORE:  "uttered profanities” minus (leaving) the genealogical abbreviation for wife 

7d    Wants to cut head's pay (8)
EARNINGS:  Wants or desires loses its first letter ( … to cut head

8d    Colonists left, protected by dogs (8)
SETTLERS:  The single letter for left inserted in (protected by) some gun dogs 

13d   Photograph fierce person's flower (10)
SNAPDRAGON:  Link together informal words for a photograph and for a fierce (usually female) person 

15d   Army officer with 50 yen on average (9)
GENERALLY:  Assemble a high-ranking army officer, the Roman numeral for 50, and the single letter for yen 

16d   Remote island sold tea to be drunk (8)
ISOLATED:  The single letter for island with an anagram ( … to be drunk) of SOLD TEA 

17d   Swimmer stuck between rocks laterally (8)
SIDEWAYS:  A usual three-letter fish (swimmer) inserted in (stuck between) rocks backwards and forwards 

19d   Tiny  amount of time (6)
MINUTE:  A straightforward double definition 

20d   Launch a perfume (6)
ASCENT:  A from the clue with a synonym of perfume 

23d   Daughter interrupting sound of a bell -- it could come from a bike (5)
PEDAL:  The genealogical abbreviation for daughter inserted in (interrupting) the sound of a bell 

24d   Prime minister exercises and belly's regularly trimmed (4)
PEEL:  Some usual abbreviated exercises and alternate letters ( … 's regularly trimmed)  of BELLY


Thanks to today’s setter. Lots of good clues, but no standout favourite for me. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  BOY + OLD + SUITE = BOILED SWEET

103 comments on “DT 29708

  1. No real difficulties in a pleasant enough Tuesday puzzle. 18a the pick of the bunch today.

    Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  2. I had to check the fit in 9a, though I’ve an inkling I’ve seen it before, otherwise very straightforward.
    Top clue for me is a toss up between 12a&3d
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K (thanks for the clip of the late Ric Ocasek) for the fun

  3. A pretty straightforward puzzle with a sting in the tail in the NW corner. I quite enjoyed it (2*/3.5*). I enjoyed the musical component in 25a, 18a and 17d. Many thanks to Mr K for the hints and thank you for the gorgeous pictures of the kittens. Thanks to the compiler also.

  4. Level 1 crossword – very elementary. Clueing on a par with the quick cryptic in the times.

    1. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble with the Toughie either, which is good fun (and I suspect a pangram)

          1. I’ve counted nine Os. Any one of which could be turned into a Q with the smallest stroke of the pen

  5. Good fun while it lasted. */*** Love the picture of the stretched out cat! Favourite 3d. Thanks to all.

  6. Not much to excite today but pleasant enough. No real favourites but nicely clued. All done & dusted in quick time with no parsing concerns.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K

  7. 0.5*/3*. This was another light and pleasant puzzle, about on a par for difficulty with yesterday’s back-pager.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K. I particularly liked all the hidden pictures of Mr K’s new owners.

  8. Another ‘Mondayish’ puzzle on a Tuesday – */****.

    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 3d, and 17d – and the winner is 5a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    P.S. A pleasant Toughie from Chalicea, slightly more of a challenge than a Floughie for me. I won’t be able to comment on the blog because Pfizer is beckoning me, or will it be Moderna.

  9. What a relief a nice straightforward puzzle😃**/*** I have found the past two weeks full of some very tricky solves 😬 Favourites 18a & 25a and Quicky Phrase 🤗 Thanks to Mr K and to the benevolent Setter 👍

  10. Another comfortable stroll through crosswordland, about the same level of difficulty as yesterday. 18a just worthy of the COTD accolade.

    Thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  11. Another gentle meander today but nevertheless quite enjoyable. I did smile at the construction of the Quickie pun and my top two were 18a & 3d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K – thank you for the lovely pics of the dynamic duo, I bet you’re having endless fun with them.

  12. I’m ashamed to admit how long it took me to uncover the lurker in 2d. 9a then slotted neatly into place and was my last on in. Isn’t “ague” a lovely blast from the past?

  13. Have to agree with fellow bloggers that the puzzle was Monday like, going for a */***, a fun solve with diverse cluing, thanks to Mr K for the pics.
    As per Senf ,todays toughie was straight forward by toughie standards and another enjoyable solve with some excellent clues-too early for a beer so a bit of gardening/bird watching- trained a couple of blackbirds and robins to like currents!

    1. Thanks, Beaver and Senf for the Toughie comments – and my day wouldn’t be complete wthout a Bertie or a Brian grump. Yes, we, too, found today’s DT gentle with the range of clues – and we are encouraged to produce some gentler ones – a Tuesday Elgar would be upsetting wouldn’t it? Enchanting kittens, thanks, Mr K.

      1. Thanks for popping in Chalicea.
        We now seem to be getting comments on the Toughie in the backpager blog. I think it must be very disheartening for someone who today enjoyed the satisfaction of an unaided completion for the first time to read Berties’ assessments. Hopefully they read Mr K’s rather less egocentric assessment in his review first.
        Wherever your puzzles appear I find them extremely enjoyable.
        Thank you.

        1. My sentiments exactly. I take ‘em all as they come, just so happy to have a crossword challenge each day no matter how hard or easy. Some days I think I am very clever 😇 and other days I realise I am mortal. 🤨

        2. You’d think that someone as clever as Bertie would realise that his comments make many readers feel bad or think less of him, and also that repeatedly labelling the puzzles “very elementary”, “Junior Telegraph”, etc. is a surefire way to get banned from the blog.

          1. I was always taught if you can’t say anything good don’t say anything at all.
            I thought it was a great crossword. Thankyou.

            1. Constructive criticism of a particular clue or type of clue is acceptable, if it gives the setter feedback. Blanket condemnation of a puzzle is just like throwing the baby out with the bath-water. At the end of the day, I myself couldn’t have constructed today’s so-called easy puzzle and I’m grateful to whoever was able to do so for the entertainment.

            2. My sentiments. If I am really fed up with a particular puzzle (which isn’t often) and can’t say anything constructive, I just say nothing.

        3. Agree with that, the difference between Bertie and Brian is one complains if it’s too hard and the other if it’s too easy, I know which I prefer.

          1. Another difference is that Bertie doesn’t have any of Brian’s redeeming features like self deprecation.

      2. Hi, Chalicea. Thanks for highlighting the crossword editor’s deliberate efforts to make some puzzles more accessible as a way of increasing participation.

        Thanks also for your kind comments about the kittens and for today’s Toughie. I enjoyed solving it. Loved 13a.

      3. Thank you for the very enjoyable puzzle today. I get tremendous satisfaction when I can complete without any help, and this was just such a treat. I have no time for people who complain. The Toughie is already provided for their benefit.

  14. Another gentle exercise but pleasant enough. NW a bit slow to submit. 12a is a nice parse. 20d launch? Wanted to use Eden for 4d. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  15. A most enjoyable “Quick-tic” crossword, for which my thanks to the Setter, and to Mr K for the review.

    Lovely smooth surface reads, too many good clues to list, but my COTD was the wonderfully concise and clever 22a.


  16. All good fun although I felt “launch” was stretching things a bit as a synonym for ****** in 20D! COTD was 18A — I thought that was quite clever.

  17. For some obscure reason I became stuck in the NW corner but got there with a little nudge from the hints. A pleasant enough puzzle for a Tuesday and I enjoyed the solve.I liked 18a but my COTD is 25a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the entertainment. Thanks also to Mr. K. for the hints and the pics of his new charges.

    1. The NW corner was trickier than the rest of the puzzle in my book too Steve, particularly the lurker.

      1. Yes, the lurker was very well hidden and I forgot the saying “If all else fails, look for a lurker.”

        I am enjoying the Toughie today but then it is by my favourite setter.

        1. Me too, stuck on that corner mainly because I could not accept place as a synonym for responsibility (yes, I know, I looked it up. I thought 4d was clever.

          1. I looked it up, too, Daisy. It was not under responsibility for me but, there it was, under place.

  18. Enjoyable crossword. I enjoy using the four letter indicator mentioned in 4a. It has such a wonderful Shakespearian tone to it.
    “Oh I am plagued by **** this day” and so on.

    My sister and niece came to visit yesterday, which was lovely, and we had our first ‘out’ lunch together in eighteen months, at a very pleasant restaurant by the Thames.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joni Mitchell – Blue 50 (Demos And Outtakes)

    Thanks to the 8d minus the left and the pole, and The Celebrated Mr K.

  19. The friend of my parents who introduced me to The Telegraph crossword many moons ago, would have disdainfully declared that “This was for children!” Whilst I wouldn’t be that disrespectful, I certainly didn’t have any problems, but I did enjoy it though. */*** from me!

    1. Hello, Sim. There’s no question that decades ago the Telegraph crosswords were more difficult – that evolution is why the Toughie was introduced. The problem facing the editor today is that there are very few children, teenagers, and young adults solving these puzzles and without a large solving community the crosswords will eventually die out. Hence the concerted effort to encourage new solvers by providing more accessible puzzles from time to time. But I still wouldn’t describe this puzzle as designed for children.

      1. I started doing these in the early seventies, when my two young daughters settled down to watch “Playschool” I attempted the back pager each morning. Of course I never finished, but did check the results the next day to figure out the whys and wherefores. Years before the Internet and this oh so helpful blog.

        1. I did the same, BL. When I joined the RAF in the 70s I started reading the DT – it was de rigueur in the airforce to read the DT. Inspired by my father, who loved cryptics, I began looking at the crossword. Got nowhere but, like you, checking the answers the next day was a valuable lesson in how clues worked.

          In those days, I eventually began to finish a few unaided (obviously because there was no help) but these were few and far between.

          As you say, this blog is so helpful.

          1. When I was posted to RAF Leeming in 1960 as a young airman I worked in the Radio Servicing Flight where we had many very clever National Servicemen who at the morning tea break would gather round the DT and finish the back pager in 5 to 10 minutes. From that day I was hooked 😳

      2. Hi Mr K – no, I wouldn’t describe any of the puzzles as being for children either, but my “mentor” was the kind of person who got upset if he hadn’t completed the crossword by the end of his 20 minute train commute to work and he then did The Times on his way home!!

  20. I sauntered my way happily, while others strolled and meandered, along the paths of this gentle and pleasant grid. So nice to have the sense of belonging, isn’t it? I rather liked 18a and 22a, and the kindly manner throughout. I’ll just bet that today’s setter is a real charmer. Thanks to Mr K (your new kitties are…well, precious) and today’s compiler. 1.5* / 3.5*

  21. A bit of a late start this morning. I had a dreadful nightmare last night. A legion of Ruby-faced HobGoblins had infested my fridge and kept attacking my throat. Or was it real?

    Finished without aid in *** time, nothing in particular held me up. I did like 18a, using the parachute mis-direction, it was my COTD.

    One query would be the use of “PEAL” in 23d. Shouldn’t that be of bells plural? Can you have a peal of one bell?

    Many thanks to the compiler and Mr K.

    1. That ruby Hobgoblin is a very nice beer. Especially when Saint Sharon finds it on offer

        1. I have a couple of bottles of Ruby Hobgoblin in the cellar but have refrained from sampling them. In my experience, the term “Ruby” when describing a beer means it is sweet. I cannot stand sweet beers. I want hops and malt.

  22. Thanks to the setter and Mr Kitty for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, quite straightforward, no real holdups. I liked 11a, but my favourite was 17d. Was 1* /3* for me.

  23. On the gentler side for a Tuesday. Nothing obscure or controversial.
    A very pleasant start to the day.
    COTD was 3d.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K – did the photo between hints for 18a & 21a apply to the former or the latter? (Sorry Jane / DG et al couldn’t resist the one!). :smile:

    1. Hi, LrOK. That interpretation of 21a didn’t occur to me. You had in mind something like these fans of the Green Bay Packers? :)

      Green Bay Packers fans

      1. Mr Innocent me. Just saw the word underlined underneath the picture
        More used to seeing Green Bay fans braving Arctic temperatures. Didn’t appreciate they had bikini weather too!

  24. Proud cat dad, aren’t they are adorable 😻. Nice puzzle nothing remarkable to say except I thought some of the clues are very smoothly written. Reading the comments, I’m now heartened to try the Q-less pangram. Thankyou to all.

  25. This was even easier than yesterday’s puzzle I thought. */**** is my ranking for this one. Sailed through more or less top to bottom, with last in being 4d as I had the wrong letter at the end of 1a … until I realized it and then 4d PDM was a loud clang!
    Clues to like were 11a, 15a, 21a, 1d & 23d with winner being 1d (wish we could get it here … my favourite) with runner up 15a for the mis-direction.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  26. Hurrah! Finished quickly for me (**** or so over lunch) and without help which makes me very happy. I shall skip lightly over the comments from everyone else on how easy they found it for risk it will burst my smug bubble! I do like a challenge but I also like the satisfaction of completion 🤗
    All clues beautifully and cleverly parsed with a few to raise a smile. I liked 18a and 5a for the double meanings of jumpers and auditors and 6d just because I liked it!
    Thanks very much to setter and hintmaster even though I didn’t need you today (I’m a dog person rather than a cat person but your photos made me smile too). I am off to walk the aforementioned woofs as they won’t do it themselves.

  27. Slapped wrist LROK. Silly girl isn’t wearing a vest and goodness it has been cold enough the last few days, although I have started calling it ‘layering’ not putting on a vest. Ive really said it all – thank you so much setter for making me feel top of the class for the day and MrK your pictures are making me broody. The pocket rocket gardener has just arrived so I must go and work with her – regretting agreeing to open gardens, rain has bashed everything down and the forecast says rain all next week. Help.

    1. Well it’s the start of Wimbledon DG so it’s either boiling or pouring! So glad the players have to fetch and carry their own towels instead of rudely clicking their fingers for the ball boys/girls to hand them to them Sooooo rude. Perhaps these days they are called ball persons but maybe that is deemed rude and they are called spherical collectors!

      1. Too right Manders – the arrogance makes me cringe as does the groaning when they serve and the petty strops
        I hope the hi-viz spheroid retrievers and sweaty rag wallers get paid well or a gong or something, but I doubt the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club can afford it after handing out £34,000,000 in prize money

  28. Very enjoyable puzzle today which I solved alone and unaided.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K….Great cats as always.

    Sun splitting the pavements again up here in Dundee.

  29. Huge thank you to Chalicea, just my cup of tea today. All done and dusted and all my own work, so very happy. And I am sure will have been very encouraging to those just starting out with understanding cryptics. Last in was 17d as I stupidly focused on swimmer as the definition instead of laterally. COTD podium shared by 18a and 13d. Thanks for the hints Mr K, which happily I did not need for once, but loved the pictures of your two new furry friends. When we had our Rupert and Basil we smiled at how much they enjoyed each other’s company, always curling up together.

  30. I am normally a late night solver but today I started earlier, what a lovely gentle solve which I really enjoyed, trouble is I now have nothing to do! Not being a football fan TV is out.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Mr.K.

  31. I solved this without too many difficulties but enjoyed it along the way. What I like most about the Telegraph is the variety, some at the easier end and then Elgar for those who have progressed up the ranks. Those who bemoan the easier puzzles have obviously forgotten the sense of achievement and satisfaction when they first started to complete the grids without assistance. Thanks to Mr.K. and today’s setter.

    1. I sometimes wonder if certain people have really progressed up the ranks, there are sites where you can look up the answers and none of us would ever know.

  32. Oh perfect day, my fave setter with a perfect puzzle! Added to that the hugely entertaining Mr. K with his kitties. My cup runneth over. Thank you so much Chalicea, my tiny brain was replaced with massive grey matter and huge convolutions! I loved it all, maybe 25a was fave? Or maybe 18a?
    Thanks Chalicea, I do love you, and Mr. K, those kitties look like twins. I can’t tell the difference between my gingers, it’s a good thing that one of them decided that the grass was greener next door!

    1. Merusa, I think your “fave setter” compiled today’s Toughie … not this one.

  33. Will anyone explain how you get “sideways” as the answer to 17 down. It is probably staring me in the face but I cannot see it.

  34. Enjoyable, pitched about right for a Tuesday, what’s not to like? If I was being charitable I’d say that lockdown is making everyone a bit grumpy, it is me so I’m not going to be charitable. Constructive criticism is one thing, rudeness is another. Hrmmph! 😁 Any road up favourite was 18a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  35. Yes, Chalicea here – I came in earlier to comment on today’s DT after Toughie comments appeared (that was mine today and Bertie had his usual grump about it being too easy for him) but I didn’t actually set this one – just commented that we liked it and liked the range of clues and appreciate that the editor encourages a range of difficulty from Tuesday to Friday – but I appreciate all the support from old friends anyway. I have my suspicions about the identity of today’s setter – perhaps he will still ‘pop in’. I’ll be here later in the week (with a gentle one, of course 😁).

    1. Mea culpa! I look forward to your one later this week. Everything I said about this puzzle still stands, loved it.

    2. I always find your puzzles a delight, Chalicea. If I ever finish a Toughie unaided I suspect it will be one of yours. Your Toughies encourage me to keep at it.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by. It is greatly appreciated.

      Please ignore those who suffer from a superiority complex and consider themselves above mere mortals. 🤣🤣🤣

  36. Well, I was breezing along like most others on this blog today until I got to 3d, where I just couldn’t get “tape” out of my head for the ending. So it’s a DNF for me, as I needed the hint from Mr K before the penny would drop. Nevertheless an enjoyable challenge overall with 18a being my COTD. Maybe I need to be relegated to a category below elementary…
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  37. What heavenly kittens, Mr K! So pleased that you have feline company again. I’ll hope to see more photos as they grow. I enjoyed this puzzle – 17d was my only real sticking point. Many thanks to you and the setter. Loved the long cat photo, too.

  38. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle which I actually finished during the afternoon after a visit to the garden centre. Not often that I complete it so early in the day. I’m so glad that many others who comment on Big Dave’s blog enjoy that sense of achievement at solving the cryptic even when on some days it may be considered to be at the easier end of the spectrum. Many thanks to Mr K and what delightful kitten pictures, also to the setter for such a lovely Tuesday puzzle.

  39. Lovely puzzle today! Thanks to the setter. 🙃 I did enjoy Mr K’s kittens (beautiful!), and the comments from all the regulars – thank you all for brightening my Winter. Although it is intermittently sunny today, a pleasant change in what seems to be a very moist season! 😊

  40. Coming to this late but just to say, please do keep commenting on the Toughie here – I rely upon comments to let me know whether I should try it on any day or not. I need to know when it is at the easier end of the spectrum!

  41. A very enjoyable back pager. I liked 9a as a simple but clever clue. But I so wanted the answer to 12a to be ‘pail’ (bucket)! Favourite cat quote is ‘ I am not your servant and I am not your friend. I am the cat who walks by himself and I wish to come into your cave’. Which I think is Rudyard Kipling.

Comments are closed.