DT 29710 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29710

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29710

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***     Enjoyment ***

Good morning from an overcast Barrel. Staring at 7 down, my last one in, gave me 16 down to go with the 14 down brought on by Saint Sharon’s early morning witterings. I do like some food in a puzzle but Mr RayT’s meagre offering of a solitary 29 across did not really go very far. However RayT has given us a tough workout today which, in my opinion is equal to today’s Toughie by Micawber. Both will repay the necessary effort required to solve with smiles, groans and exquisite relief on writing that last elusive clue in


I’ve had a message from Kath saying that she is missing everyone on the blog which has been a huge part of her life for ten years or so. She has ‘a couple of bits to do’ so there must be some improvement. I think that physically Kath is ok and can get by but the stroke has muddled her words.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        A pastry’s rolled layers (6)
STRATA: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the reverse (rolled)of what pastries might be

4a        Spades stuck and broke (8)
STRAPPED: Begin with the abbreviation for spades. Add a word meaning stuck and unable to free oneself. The definition here is broke which means short of money

9a        Shipping company keen for pay-off (6)
UPSHOT: The initials of one of the many delivery companies United Parcels Service that cruise daily up and down our streets is followed by a synonym of the word keen

10a      Animal act takes time with Manx cat (8)
PLATYPUS:  A noun meaning to indulge in an activity for recreation and enjoyment (especially children) has the abbreviation for time inserted. Finish off with three quarters of a cat. A Manx cat has no tail therefore the word Manx in the clue instructs the removal of the last letter in a four-letter word

12a      Tipping hat, single man is assiduous (8)
DILIGENT: A rather stretched synonym of the word hat is reversed. The letter that looks like the number one (single) is added. Top it off with a short word for a chivalrous, courteous or honourable man 

13a      Old Nick related to bones (6)
OSTEAL:  The abbreviation for old is followed by a synonym of the word nick, pilfer, rob, lift, purloin, appropriate or thieve

15a      Record contagion restricting people’s fun (13)
ENTERTAINMENT: Begin with a word meaning to record or log as in a ledger perhaps. Now find a word meaning contagion, a blight, an infection, a trace of something bad, into which a word meaning people’s has been inserted. Phew!

18a      In the main it’s a bad drug (13)

22a      Religious leader beginning to talk and talk (6)
RABBIT: A religious leader of the Jewish faith is followed by the beginning letter of the word talk

24a      Baptise in church? Started holding tot’s head (8)
CHRISTEN:  Begin with an abbreviation for church. Then the fun starts. Insert the initial letter of the word tot into a word meaning started. Think of how a river starts. RayT at his stretchiest best

26a      Alien found in immense surface (8)
COSMETIC: Begin with a word meaning inconceivably vast. Insert the delightful and lovable alien star of a Steven Spielberg film

27a      Nice woman? (6)
MADAME: This woman might be nice. She might not be nice. She is however from the French city of Nice. That makes her a French woman. Possibly employed as a fortune teller. They all seem to have this word before their names

28a      Avoid sun at first, despite shivering (8)
SIDESTEP: An anagram (shivering) of DESPITE follows the first letter of the word sun

29a      Pod exposed after nosing under topsoil initially (6)
PEANUT: The initial letters of six words in the clue will lead you to your answer



1d        Hard reading about arithmetic? (6)
STURDY: A word meaning to read for academic purposes surrounds the abbreviation for arithmetic in the three essential educational disciplines

2d        Note mum keeping one strong (9)
RESILIENT: A two-letter note or reference to something is followed by a  synonym of the word mum meaning not making any sound. The letter that looks like the number one needs to be inserted into this word 

3d        However tense, meditation perhaps? (7)
THOUGHT: A word meaning however is followed by the abbreviation for tense

5d        Reportedly rang and confessed (4)
TOLD: A homophone based upon the tolling of a bell

6d        Worker from start is a newbie (7)
ARTISAN: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word from

7d        Future monarchs? (5)
PUPAE: My last one in by a country mile. This Monarch is the largest butterfly found in the British Isles. The clue is asking for one of its early growth stages 

8d        Forlorn sweetheart almost alone in rendezvous (8)
DESOLATE: The letter at the heart of the word sweet is followed by a word meaning alone but without its final letter. Together they sit inside a rendezvous which could be a romantic assignation

11d      Charge hospital department over decay (7)
ENTRUST: Our regular hospital department is followed by a word meaning decay. This decay is found on iron and steel

14d      Some fear a chest infection? (7)
EARACHE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

16d      Problem of retina? Yes, possibly (9)
EYESTRAIN: Anagram (possibly) of RETINA YES

17d      Stand in pubs giving insults (8)
BARRACKS: A stand or framework for storage sits inside what pubs may be known as

19d      Woman with eyes on family jewels? (7)
HEIRESS: A cryptic definition of a female waiting to inherit something of value

20d      Copy of i consumed around Cambridge University (7)
IMITATE:  The letter I and a word meaning consumed (food) sit around the initials of a University which can be found in Cambridge Massachusetts

21d      Gamble, having lost one’s shirt? (6)
INVEST:  Split 2,4 what one might be left wearing once ones shirt has been lost

23d      Having a position when in sack (5)
BASED:  A two-letter word meaning when sits inside a piece of furniture known commonly as the sack

25d      Queen provided rising passion (4)
FIRE:  The initials used to represent Queen Elizabeth the Second and a two-letter word meaning provided are reversed (rising)

Qxuickie Pun.   Foe + Gnome = Phone home


95 comments on “DT 29710

  1. Either that was a Toughie, or I have missed my wavelength pills again this morning. Less than a third fell into place on the first reading, and the rest took me into ****/***** time. I will even admit that two needed a few electrons to finalise.

    I liked the connection between 26a and the Quickie pun, though.

    I have no idea who the compiler is, but I would put them in the “quirky” category. Thanks to them for the challenge, and to MP.

    1. RayT
      Only uses single word clues in the quickie puzzle
      Only uses single word answers in the Cryptic puzzle
      Has a maximum count of seven words per clue
      Often includes The Queen or Her Majesty in a clue
      Nearly always has an acrostic or initial letters clue
      Nearly always uses the sweetheart indicator for the letter E
      Likes to stretch a synonym and use some innuendo

  2. A real corker with some great misdirects including the geographical one in 20d. My COTD was the well constructed although fairly easy 26a, but there were lots of contenders in this ***/**** offering. Thanks to miffypops and the setter.

    1. I’ve been caught by that geographic misdirect once too many times, I’m on to them now.

      1. Takes a while to cotton on but I think I am getting there and I do like the DT cryptic

        A taster for the Times

        Often try that on train but fail😢

        GK let’s me down

  3. Another excellent puzzle from the Ray T production line that I found to be about the middle of his range for difficulty, but still full of his trademark wit and misdirection.
    Today’s ticks go 1,22&28a plus the excellent 7d &13a, my last two in. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Ray and MP for the top notch 15a (where I thought we might have had some (of The) Jam….would have added to your food MP!
    Best wishes to Kath too.

    1. Sometimes the musical illustrations go straight in and sometimes they don’t play ball. Today I tried a couple, Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie and David Duckham sidestepping his opposition. Neither would paste so I left them out. One day I will find a foolproof method but until then I will enjoy the anticipation and the disappointment or elation

  4. That was hard! Good to learn the Manx instruction – that’s new to me. Thanks for helping me crack it.

  5. This was pretty demanding, yet, when the answers went in, they were perfectly fair and I wondered if it was just me being a bit dense. I needed a prompt in the top right corner but finished the rest on my own but with liberal use of the thesaurus, which gave me much satsfaction (4*/4*). There were so many clever clues that it’s hard to select a few but my COTD is 7d, followed closely by 7d (my last one in too MP). many thanks to MP for the hints and to Ray T for a real mental workout. Regards also to Kath and good wishes for her recovery. My husband has word problems too, Kath, after having four episodes of encephalitis. He has found that doing the Quick Crossword helps, which is why I leave it for him. We’re told the brain makes new connections and pathways.

      1. It’s strange and wonderful how differently individual minds work, Merusa. Variety is the spice of life a d that goes fo crossword puzzles as well as people!

  6. In my (humble) opinion this was a lovely crossword – vast improvement on recent backpagers. Some very subtle clueing of which I especially liked 10ac.

  7. Very enjoyable. Done and dusted on the train from Whitstable to Broadstairs. Thanks to Ray T. And MP.

  8. A cracking puzzle this morning from one of my favourite compilers, full of his trademark clueing as so well elucidated by our blogger at #1. The combination Quickie pun/26a came out on top, and overall this was a hugely entertaining and enjoyable grid to complete.

    My thanks to Mr T and MP.

  9. Again ,Thursdays are now the old Fridays ,as NAS says, great misdirects and a pleasure to solve-eventually!
    Seemed to solve this crossword in quarters with the last being the NW quadrant and 9a the last in.
    Thank to MP for confirming the parsing.
    Favourites were 26a with 10a, together with a special mention for 7d-my D’oh moment.
    Thanks to Mr T and MP.

  10. Our compiler seems to be thinking of the Reddit crowd with 21d. Not what I would consider to be gambling.

  11. Archetypical Ray T for me. My favourite setter. As today near the edge of my solving range but rarely over it.
    Brilliant puzzle that took *** time with ***** plus enjoyment.
    Liked 10a & the misdirection in 20d (which I remembered from last time) but the brilliant 18a my COTD and contender for clue of the week.
    Thank you Ray T for brightening up a wet cold miserable day, to MP for a somewhat subdued review. Perhaps the lumps from the midges haven’t subsided yet!
    Nice to hear of Kath’s progress. I think of her every time I post but Ray T Thursdays especially. Get well soon.

  12. Wavelength is a wonderful thing. Am within 2 of a finish in the Toughie in less than half the time this cracker took. The first read through yielded only the 14d lurker & the second only a couple more so put it aside. The brain eventually began to slowly function & worked through from the bottom up. Last 2 in were 7d & ironically 13a – completed in the osteopath’s waiting room just prior to some welcome treatment on my poorly back (he couldn’t get but thankfully his massaging skills are better than his crossword solving). Reckon this one was even better than yesterday & excellently clued throughout. I had 10a atop the podium with the clever 7d & lovely surface of 28a also there.
    Thanks to Ray T & to MP for a double shift this week & for the Kath update.

  13. Tricky but fair. ***/*** It took me a while to spot the lurker in 6d and I need MP’s hints to have half a clue of why 10a was the answer. Thanks for that. Favourite is 18a. Best wishes to Kath and thanks to all.

  14. Often, I struggle with Ray T, but I completed this one and enjoyed the challenge immensely. 18a was very clever.

    Endless admin and phone calls here, due to recent events. All part of the circle of life.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Lola snoring on ‘her’ sofa.

    Thanks to Ray T and The Miff.

    Encouraging news about The Lovely Kath – but how frustrating for her regarding the word muddling. Keep at it, Kath!

  15. A sublime gift from Ray T today. Such a satisfying sense of completion when solving his wily, crafty clues, all rendered concisely, with surfaces that make complete, simple statements. I really liked 12a, 21d, 28a, 24a, & 2d, but my COTD is a draw between 7d and 10a. Good stuff, man. Thanks to MP for his always enjoyable reviews and to Ray T. ** / *****

    On the book front: I’d be very interested in discussing Edward St-Aubyn’s new novel, Double Blind, with anyone who enjoys quite a literary treat, replete with lots of high-powered naturalism and neuro-science probings–and much more.

    1. I’d like to add a special hello to Kath. I hope that she will soon be ‘doing’ these Ray T Thursday puzzles for and with us.

  16. What an enjoyable puzzle today. I only had half a dozen to start with but then it was very slow but very steady. I finished unaided but some, like 1a, couldn’t fathom how I got there. Completely missed that 6d was a lurker. Glad that Kath is on the mend. Thanks to Jay and MP. Have experienced terrible itching all over – had a thought and looked at the washing powder and find I’ve been using the dreaded biological version for the last couple of weeks!

      1. I’ve had the same problem with laundry products that say they are for sensitive skin but have perfume and chemical fixatives in them. I keep a tube of Anthisan cream at all times just in case.

  17. A wonderful offering from Ray T and near the more difficult end of his oeuvre. Lots to like including a groan worthy Quickie pun. I have put stars by quite a number today including 12a, 13a. 7d and 21d but my COTD is the brilliant, to me, 10a.

    Many thanks, Ray T for the mental workout and thanks to Miffypops.

    Good news about Kath. Please keep working away, Kath and get back to us soon. We all miss you. :rose:

  18. This week’s cruciverbal entertainment continues apace. NW last to give in. Lived in USA for years so no difficulty with 20d University. 16d “problem” rather unspecific. No particular Fav, just much all round fun. Thank you RayT and MP. Agree with SC re less than commendable Quickie pun. So good to hear news of Kath – do hope progress will be maintained and she will soon be back amongst us 💐.

  19. I found this far harder than the Toughie with the North half being the most resistant .

  20. I found the top third very difficult and needed the hints to finish. I thought 26a a terrific clue.

    Thanks to Ray T and Miffypops.

  21. What a cracking puzzle, tremendous fun and many thanks indeed to Ray T. Thanks also to MP for the review.

    The south fell reasonably swiftly, followed by the NE, but the last few in the NW took almost as long as the S in their entirety, and the resounding clangs as the pennies finally dropped must have been audible over the valley.

    Such concise precision and wit, red herrings aplenty, and I have to agree with Bertie: some very subtle clueing. A masterpiece of a crossword. Hon.mentions to 9a, 15a (so timely!), 26a, 29a (witty indeed), 8d, 14d, 16d and 20d (superb misdirection), but I think my COTD (and it’s hard not to pick almost any of them) is 7d.

    2.5* / 4*

  22. Terrific puzzle, thank you RayT and also MP for the hint with 26a which is the clue that threw me. 7d as my favourite but not so keen on the commercial acronym within 9a. Kath I hope you are getting better by each day

  23. Excellent puzzle, completed unaided apart from checking spelling of 7d which proved a lucky guess.
    Thought 9a and 10a absolutely brilliant.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks indeed, Ray T and MP for the review.

  24. This must be a Ray T at his most difficult. I failed to solve a single clue today which is a first for me.
    I find it very difficult to solve his trickier puzzles at the best of times because his way of thinking seems very offbeat.
    Didn’t even try the hints which I’m sure were good but it would be pointless.
    *****.-**** zero fun.

    1. Do what I do, and just allow yourself to look at the hints with pictures. It is often all you need to get you back on track.

  25. Definitely a tough puzzle today for me 3.5*/**** Ray T outdid himself today in trickiness. NE last area in and for the life of me I could not see 1a until the end. Liked the lego clue 15a. 13a an unknown word for me. 5d & 7d were good clues too.
    COTD 4a, 10a & 28a with winner 10a for the cleverness of the clue.
    Getting ready for dangerous heat wave about to cover most of British Columbia this weekend with the potential for 45C over the next few days. Would break records going back to the 1940’s … Pass the water (tonic that is!) please … I need to top up.

    Thanks to Ray T and MP

  26. Another excellent Ray T puzzle, which was tough but enjoyable. 7 down (future monarchs) is a stroke of genius. I completed it in the eye hospital while waiting for further surgery after suffering a torn retina a few weeks ago. Imagine my amazement when I got to 16 down! I suspect the answer to the clue is also the correct diagnosis of what caused my problem!

  27. It’s my birthday!🎈🎂🎊. And my very best present was the news that younger grandson has got his physics degree after a dreadful five years with his mothers illness and can go on to teacher training!!!😘 been out for coffee, out to lunch, on to tea with birthday cake, waiting for friends to come in for a drink now and to DD2 for dinner. I’ll do the crossword later. Much love to Kath.

      1. Happy Birthday.
        It seems the replacement knee has well and truly healed!

    1. A very Happy Birthday, Daisygirl! You are looking good. Have a wonderful time and a drink on me. :rose:

    2. Happy Birthday, DG, although I’m starting to worry that you’re permanently stuck in that position!

    3. Happy birthday DG. Trust that you’ll be adequately squiffy & waltz through the Ray T challenge later.
      Enjoy your evening.

    4. I hope that I’m not too late in wishing you a very Happy Birthday Daisygirl and many congratulations to your younger grandson. His achievement must be the icing on the cake 🎂. Brilliant photo of you doing the splits and I like the flower bed in the background!

  28. Firstly, very glad to hear news from Kath. Like LROK, I think about her a lot, and particularly on Thursdays. Do hope she will soon be back to tackling the cryptics.

    For a Ray T puzzle I didn’t do too bad today, although only a handful went in at first pass. 12a, 7d and 17d were my downfall. Several others I got from the checkers, having got nowhere with the clues. Thanks to Ray T for the mental exercise and to MP for the hints.

  29. One of my great satisfactions in life is finishing a Ray T puzzle. So well crafted, a challenge right on the edge of my abilities.
    He’s excelled himself this week with an average words per clue of only 4.9 on the downs. Overall we have 156 words in 30 clues at an average of 5.2.
    Genius, encapsulated in 7d.
    My other favourites were 1, 10 and 18 across.
    Thank you Ray T for brightening up another Thursday, and to MP for the ever amusing hints.
    Best wishes to Kath for her continued recovery.

  30. Well this one was tough….but I got there alone and unaided with everything parsed. Took me two sittings to do it, but what do I care? Last one in was 9a. ….in fact the whole NW corner was the hardest for me. So pleased with myself for remembering the other Cambridge at 20d.
    Thanks to Ray T and to MP.

    Good news from Kath. All the best for a continued recovery .

    Raining here….boo!

  31. Firstly, how nice to get news of Kath. It’s going to be a long haul but she’s in excellent hands. We all send love to you, Kath.
    I can’t believe how much of this I completed, only missed three in the NW, though I did use a lot of e-help and it took ages. You do what you have to do.
    I liked 10a but fave was 7d, first one in. I found this very tricky, and when I did have the answer, knowing the why was another mystery. This was not a complaint, I’ve had such fun with the crosswords this week, it’s time for others to have their fun.
    Thanks RayT, I enjoyed what I could do, and M’pops for unravelling it all for me.

    1. So sorry to hear of the dreadful building collapse in Miami and sympathise deeply with all those who are bereaved or are suffering as a result.

        1. Thank you both. I find it unimaginable, sleeping at 1:30am and your building just separates and crumbles to the ground. How are they ever going to find anyone in all that rubble? And what about the dogs and cats, sorry, I can’t help it. We can only hope they find the nearly 100 missing.

  32. Evening all. My thanks again to Miffypops for the decryption and to all for your comments. As always, much appreciated.


    1. Good evening, Mr T. Thank you for popping in and for another excellent puzzle crafted in your own inimitable style – always most appreciated.

    2. I rarely give a **** but was on the cusp of a *****! Many thanks for your brilliant production. I went to college with a chap called Richard Grant in 73-6 who’s father was the editor of the Times crossword: that’s where the rot set in!

      We could never finish it.

  33. Just loving to hear from all of you – what a pain – not all of you, just the rest of the other stuff!! Grrrr
    Back soon . . .

    1. Kath it’s so nice of you to pop in and say hello, I think of you most days. There but for fortune go all of us. Get well soon and rejoin us as soon as you can.

    2. I think a lot of us have been very concerned and so it is very kind of you to give us a hello. Do get well soon.

    3. Wonderful to hear from you, Kath. We certainly have missed you. Hurry back.

    4. Well done, Kath, another step in the right direction. Everyone’s rooting for you.

    5. Wonderful to hear from you, Kath. We’re all thinking of you, especially on a Ray T day. Take your time with the recovery as you told me to after my chest infection. I know that when you return there will be a lot of raised glasses in toast to you. 💐🌹🌺

    6. So lovely to hear from you Kath, and hoping you are doing well. We all miss you here.

    7. Oh Kath , lovely to hear from you! You were such a comfort to me when I was very low, so glad that you are pulling through. We’ve all been rooting for you. xxx

    8. Hi Kath. Lovely to hear from you. I keep thinking of you and hope you can get back to joining us on a regular basis. Your combo with RayT every two weeks was always a great highlight for me.

    9. Lovely to hear from you Kath it’s so reassuring. Just take things a step at a time and lots of early nights!

    10. Hi Kath, great to see you pop in. I’m sure the words will come easier to you as time goes on. Rooting for you! Keep on going.

    11. Kath,

      only just seen your message from Thursday…..

      great to hear from you and best wishes for your ongoing recovery .

      hope you get this

      best regards

  34. An excellent Rayt crossword as usual and, as usual, a sting in the tail. I find Ray’s brief style of cluing not as daunting as others do as it seems to minimise the clutter and almost every word has a meaning. Favourite was 18a as I wrote down what I thought was the anagram and the answer jumped out at me, how does that work? Many thanks to Rayt and MP.

    1. Take a step up and solve anagrams by staring at them. No pencils. Just your imagination

        1. I do it fairly often, other times I stare at it slack jawed and Boggle eyed for ages to no avail until the checkers come to the rescue.

  35. Definitely all the hallmarks were present and I am amazed how RayT can provide crossword after crossword with such integrity.
    A real pleasure from start to finish.
    Thanks to RayT and to MP for the clear review.
    Madame Soleil was probably the most famous of our fortune teller.

  36. Wow, that was tough(ie)ish! Could not get 1d! Obvious when pointed out! Thanks for the hints MP.

  37. I find RayT puzzles very tough but always fair and a pleasure to solve (if I can)….almost gave up on this one but then got a second wind and got there with a bit of help….happy birthday to DG, I always enjoy your bright and cheerful posts…

  38. To tough for me, only managed six answers but always struggle with RayT offerings. Still ,nice to hear from Kath ,and as for Daisygirl I couldn’t do that even in my younger days. Thanks to all.

  39. Ray T…always a tough challenge, but a genuine pleasure to complete…however late!!

  40. Thanks to Ray T and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, that I found quite tricky. I persevered, and got there in the end. Strangely 9a was my LOI, because I’m in the middle of a delivery saga involving Ups. I liked 16d,but my favourite was 21d, which made me laugh. Was 3* / 4* for me. Great puzzle.

  41. Late to the pass today partly due to my husband, Bill, having a gallstone attack and requiring the paramedics. Such a shame as the pacemaker procedure went so well last week but today was the third episode and it’s a great pity that the urgent surgery recommended before Christmas hasn’t been done. Thanks to the paramedic (who really didn’t want Bill to go into hospital) phoning our local surgery he has got an appointment with our doctor on Friday evening and I have been invited to attend.

    I didn’t really get chance to spend much time on today’s puzzle but I was struggling and needed quite a bit of help from the hints so many thanks to Miffpops and to Ray T for calling in and providing a good mental workout!

    1. Sorry about the gallstones. I’ve suffered that way and it’s excruciating. Despite having my gall bladder removed 10 years previously I managed to develop some more. They were removed by a tube down my throat and sucked out. A simple procedure as an out patient if a bit undignified. So far, so good! Best of luck to you both.

      1. Hello JB not sure if you will see my message but do hope so! Many thanks for your helpful comment re Bill, my husband’s gallstones. We saw the doctor this evening (Friday) and discussed the method (ERCP) you mentioned. We read up about it overnight and the doctor agrees that it definitely sounds the most advisable method given age, pacemaker etc. Further letter to the surgeon next week!

  42. After 30 minutes of puzzling I only managed one clue, 14d. I’ve now been through Miffypops’ hints one by one and seen just how convoluted these clues are. Quite beyond me at this stage, but still learning. The ace solvers found this puzzle wonderful but it is a complete washout for those at my level. Ho hum! Thanks to Ray T for dropping in – it is always reassuring to have the compiler show an interest in what is going on. :)

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