DT 29712 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29712 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29712 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from Warrington, where we seem to be stuck in a weather cycle of neither one thing nor the other.

Today’s teaser is an enjoyable puzzle that is not too taxing and good fun to tackle and solve, although there are a couple of head-scratching moments. There are no obscure words used, and all in all, one of the most enjoyable back-page puzzles for a while.   Please note that a couple of clues are different in the online and print versions – we have added explanations for each version.

My new helper Dexter the cat, has chosen to go and try and invite some of the garden birds for breakfast by sitting on the wall close to the bird table, but they are politely, or in the magpie’s case, rudely refusing the invite.

As usual, remember to play nicely and don’t reveal answers. The naughty step beckons for those who do, and there’s no ice cream for you.

Thanks to our mystery setter today, who’ll hopefully come out and identify themselves later on, though I do have a good idea who it might be….

If you are looking for more brain workouts, there’s a lovely Picaroon puzzle in the Guardian and Redshank, the Guardian setter Crucible. Picaroon is one of the younger setters who have made great advances and again produces thoroughly enjoyable puzzles. They can be found here:



Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.  Thank you to our setter for an enjoyable solve this morning!

Some hints follow:


1a Declined rubbish diamonds (7)
We start today with something that means rubbish, plus the abbreviation for the suit in cards.

5a Army securing large essentially superior case for weapon (7)
This may have you scratching your head. You are looking for an old word that means a host, think of the ‘heavenly ___’ in the Bible, and then add the middle two letters (essentially) of SUPERIOR..

9a Stick with cold response one’s covered up with lip (9)
Your definition here is stick. After the abbreviation for ‘cold’ is a word for an (involuntary) response and the abbreviation for one’s, all inside something meaning the lip of something.

11a Pave with stones and waterproofing material (5)
We have two definitions here quite nicely welded together. Your Big Red Book (other crossword-solving aids are available) will tell you that this word can mean to pave somewhere with small stones and also a type of gooey material that can make your shed roof waterproof.

13a Trembling, from mum: ‘I’m engaged?’ (9)  /  Trembling chant about winter in Paris (9)  [Two different versions of the clue]
After a short way of saying ‘keep mum’ goes what you might say and have if you are engaged to be married.  OR  A word meaning chant goes around the word for ‘winter’ in French

18a Lost and found note with too much inside (9)
An alternative way of saying found as in to make something from scratch, with the abbreviation for note. Inside goes an abbreviation meaning way too much

20a Style of last bit of music Callas is performing (9)  /  Style of music in clubs Callas is performing (9) [Two different versions of the clue]
Probably my favourite clue today. A style of music is found by taking the last letter of music and adding an anagram (performing) of CALLAS IS.

Alternatively, after the abbreviation for Clubs, goes an anagram [performing] of CALLAS IS.   

26a Unable to part, detective leaves unseen (9)
A word meaning unable to part needs to lose the abbreviation for a detective to give you something meaning can’t be seen.

28a Superlatively gloomy day ship set out (7)
The abbreviation for a day, plus a (biblical) ship and an anagram of the word SET.


1d Unusually precise instructions (7)
An anagram (unusually) of PRECISE.

2d Threatened strike that comes to nothing? (5)  /  On the radio, feeble pretence (5) [Two different versions of the clue]
A cryptic definition, I think, for a boxing term.  OR A homophone for the word feeble can mean a pretence (in some sports).

3d Most insignificant website regularly supporting insult (9)
After a word for an insult goes the alternative letters of website.

6d Dishonesty mostly in government houses (5)
Amusingly topical hidden answer. 

14d Version of totalitarianism LA star rejected as fake (9)
This is a slightly complex clue. You need to remove the letters of LA STAR from the word totalitarianism and rearrange the rest to give a word meaning a fake.

17d Tranquil, in the main? (7)
Two definitions, one slightly cryptic. The name of a very large sea is also something that means tranquil or calm.

22d Rising dust storm continued (5)
The name for an Australian dust storm is reversed.

24d Check on the French set of data (5)
The name for a restaurant check plus the name of an article in French.

Hope you found it as entertaining and enjoyable as I did. A good way to start the weekend.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today is from the subject of 20 across. Probably her most famous role.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD

The Quick Crossword pun: when+slid+ale=Wensleydale

99 comments on “DT 29712 (Hints)

  1. I filled the grid in ** time, but it took me a full * longer to fully parse everything, which is a good indication that the compiler is a sneaky little beggar. 9a was the last to fall, and is therefore COTD.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Tilsit.

    1. MalcolmR I agree, maybe 5 or 6 clues written in without parsing and 12a I don’t see a ********* being a ****** .
      No real favourites today but still an enjoyable solve.

  2. 20a may have lovely surface reading, but it is missing one letter in the anagram fodder. Solvers beware!

    1. 20a The paper version has the missing letter.

      Style of music in clubs Callas is performing (9)

        1. I still don’t understand your comment as I did this crossword at about 6 o’clock this morning and the anagram worked fine.

          1. It used to read:

            20 Style of music Callas is performing (9)

            So was missing one of the Cs in the anagram.

            1. You’re right, my printout shows what you do, the clubs were added later. I bunged it in anyway, what else could it be.

  3. Pleasantly enjoyable just about right for a SPP in my book.

    No standout favourites but I did like 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

    After his last MPP, not sure that I want to take on a Radler NTSPP – we shall see.

  4. This was enjoyable, with many straightforward clues and a few brain burners, which were quite hard to parse (2*/4*). I had problems with 14d, so many thanks to Tilsit for his help with that. I liked the complex lego clues, 13a and 28a, but 13a was my COTD for appropriate imagery and surface read . Many thanks to the mystery compiler.

    1. Welcome from me, also I’mnewhere. Hope to see more posts from you. 👍

  5. I certainly had a couple of tricky moments with the likes of 11a & 22d but got there with a bit of help from the BRB.
    One question though – 20a can’t possibly be an anagram of CALLAS IS, there’s a ‘C’ missing!
    2d raised a smile and got my vote today. Sorry, just seen the previous comments!

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints.

  6. Some of the clues are quite different in the iPad version today – 2d and 13a in particular

  7. Nothing to write home about but pleasant enough. I’m with Jane re 11a and 22d tricky moments plus 12a is a new one on me. Fav was 28a. Thank you Mysteron (Cephas?) and Tilsit (wonderful to hear for the umpteenth time La Divina singing Casta Diva – special thanks for that).

  8. 1*/2.5*. I found most of this very straightforward indeed, but 9a stuck out like a sore thumb with tortuous wordplay and a weird surface. According to Collins (but not Chambers), “pave with stones” in 11a and “check” in 24d are both American terms. I’ve never heard of the former meaning of 11a, but I agree with Collins about the latter.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  9. An enjoyable exercise this morning. Nothing obscure although I wasn’t too sure what was going with 20a. Favourite 13a. Thanks to all.

  10. Decidedly tricky today I thought. Had to google the dust storm as I had never heard of it but it had to be that. Very up-to-date picture at 6d! Not keen on Matt but rather disturbing that there are hidden cameras in people’s offices – what next? Thanks to the setter, Tilsit and Dexter.

    1. It’s not just the cameras in this case but the sneaky rat who leaked it to the loathsome Sun.

  11. Just an obsevation.The paper clue for 13A(at least the one in my paper)was different to the one on this blog.Same answer though!

  12. Perhaps it’s just because I’m grumpy feeling the effects of a very sore back after golf yesterday but I found this one a little lacklustre after the last 3 day’s belters. The answers were pretty straightforward but the parsing less so. Much prefer the first version of 20a rather than the one we got in the iPad edition but our 2d&13a clues were better in my view. Pleasant enough but no real favourites in what was a brisk ** time solve.
    Thanks to the setter & Tilsit

  13. I’m useless at setter-spotting … but, last Tuesday, Chalicea did say “I’ll be here later in the week …”

    Of course, I may be wrong!

    1. Well if it was her I much preferred her Tuesday Toughie that sparked much discussion

  14. I think we have sorted out the differences. Where the clues are different, I have posted explanations for those.

    I now think I need a large injection of Costa Coffee and a lemon muffin, so I’m off for a short while. It beats a darkened room lie-down. Have asked Dexter to look after things, but he just said ‘Me? How?’

    Just getting my hat.

  15. Good fun this, with just the pesky 2d holding me up and lengthening my solving time. 20a was easily my COTD. An afternoon of of rugby awaits.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and Tilsit.

  16. You might want to check your hint for 5a.

    I thought this one was tricksy rather than enjoyable…sorry.
    Just not my cup of tea. And what is it with the different clues in different places ?
    Needed Tilsit’s help for 2d and 9a.

    Thanks to Tilsit and to the setter.

  17. I thought the clueing today–or maybe it was the editing?–was a bit ragged, frankly. 9a held me up forever [‘stick’?], and I finally just bunged-in the only answer it could be. 20a (which has been thoroughly vetted by now, I see) was a problem but again, the answer was crystal clear. The first half of 11a may be American in origin but I’ve never heard of that usage. Otherwise, some catchy clues, with 2, 4, 6, & 17d plus 28a my pick of the clues. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter. 2.5* / 3*

    1. This morning I dashed up to Barley to see the display of crochet flowers on the church tower. Fabulous and strangely moving, but we parked opposite church outside the old Town House where they have erected a millennium plaque. And guess what, the first Mayor of New York was born in tiny little Barley village!!! I thought of you and all our American friends – bet none of you knew that!

      1. Thanks, DG, for the news! Would that have been Thomas Willett (1665-66)? What a splendid-looking plaque. I must Google Barley now. Have a nice weekend.

  18. A pleasant enough SPP although I needed help for a couple. I got 20a without noticing there was a letter missing. There were some clues in which I could not for the life of me see the parsing. One is 9a and another is 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and many thanks to Tilsit for the hints.

  19. Chalicea here. Yes, I promised I’d be back later in the week. I am immensely grateful to Tilsit for sorting out the muddle. I think the Editor sent an earlier version of the crossword with his tweaking of my original clues and he then published, on line, the three wobbly tweaks that I objected to (and his 9a that you didn’t like Rabbit Dave). He accepted my corrections (the need for another Callas C, the Chanting about Winter in Paris, and the ‘feeble pretence on the radio’) and they are in the paper version I’m told – I live overseas and don’t see the paper version). Maybe it is a helpful insight into how much editing goes into these puzzles before they appear.
    Huntsman, sorry but the Saturday competition one has to be slightly more ‘conventional’ in style and a bit less ‘Toughie’ and Bertie, whatever shall I do when YOU have liked it? (The Editor’s 2d that gave you thought gave me thought too and it was changed when I muttered about it). Thanks to all and apologies for the guddle.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Chalicea and for a most enjoyable puzzle. I hope we see you on Toughie duty in the near future because, if I am ever going to solve a Toughie unaided, I suspect it will one of your wonderful puzzles.

    2. No need to apologise to me Chalicea. Always enjoy your puzzles & was more than happy to man the defences on Tuesday. Ta for popping in.

    3. Please don’t apologise for the guddle. A muddle would be a different matter. We love you, all the wonderful compilers who have kept us sane for the last 18 months, and all the years before. Most of us are fairly laid back about our crossword hour, it is heaven to be spirited away from all the other horrid things going on in the world.

    4. I think that you have been poorly served by the editor, Chalicea. Some of the clues that I found troublesome in my post above were apparently among those ‘wobbly tweaks’ that the editor published online. I used the word ‘ragged’ in my post, something that is totally unlike your style. I have thoroughly enjoyed your puzzles (and even dubbed you my favourite setter) the year and a half that I’ve been enjoying the Blog. Someone owes you a huge apology.

      1. Hear hear, you are owed an apology, Chalicea. It must be very frustrating to craft a fine puzzle and fall victim to an administrative guddle, through no fault of your own. I enjoyed the paper version, which was free of some of the mess-ups.

        1. Our poor editor has said how sorry he is. He was leaving for a very rare holiday and the task he delegated was mismanaged. I contacted him and he put the on-line version right – he was still at home, holiday wrecked by a covid situation. He was really miffed by the mess up – but let me repeat our apologies for those misled by a few inchoate and gungy clues and thank Tilsit again for sorting it out.

    5. No need for an apology. I got 20a without the missing letter. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut whatever the clue says. Loved this puzzle, a Saturday that I could actually finish.

  20. In the short time I’ve been doing the weekend puzzles (not counting the NTSPP) I’ve learned that the more challenging offering is likely to appear on Sunday. This was a pleasant stroll with fewer than half a dozen causing any pause for thought, completed over a couple of early pre work cups of tea.
    I quite liked 28a plus 3&19d.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit for the fun.

  21. Isn’t the l for large missing from your hints for 5 a which also lists the synonym for army? Does the naughty step beckon?

    1. I agree, and was intrigued that no one else mentioned it. So breaking anonymity (ish) to let you know you are not alone (which might be the start of a sentence ending with an answer to this week’s Saturday puzzle…)

  22. I do agree with Mikep about the Quickie pun – very tasty, very sweet. Who said that – Arthur Askey? Very nice SPP I think I only got hung up about which vowels to put in 2d. Sitting here in my lovely garden about to write this I heard the church bells ringing for a wedding. We have not heard that for over a year and of course I had to hurry down the drive and hang over the church wall to see the bride, I know the mother slightly. My long gone neighbour and I used to blacken our noses together and She Who Missed Nothing used to say darkly ‘if that girl dares to wear white…..knowing what we all know’. And if the poor girl had a veil over her face she would become apoplectic over the hypocrisy! Happy days. Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit, well done.

    1. Did your neighbour miss out on fun herself to be such a despicable person. One should always confound these types by taking their stupidity to it’s absurd conclusion. They soon back off and leave you out of their abject folly.

      1. No it was just village busybody stuff. It used to amuse me but then I was not on the end of her sharp tongue! Everyone accepted that she knew everyone ‘s business but that was village life in those days. Now we are 40 mins from London on the train and no one knows anyone.

        1. The best thing about busybody village life is that nobody got left out. And if the gossip on any given week was about oneself, then somebody else was getting a rest. However, when needed, help was there.

  23. Good Saturday puzzle again with some enjoyable clueing. Where a problem occurred it was always resolved by the obvious answer being correct.

    Thanks to Tilsit for help with the parsing and Chalicea for another fine SPP.

  24. Solved this on a very warm 35C Friday evening. A pleasant Saturday puzzle with a couple of tricky clues, but very solvable. 1.5*/**** Clues for favourites include 12a, 13a, 18a & 5d with winners tied 12a/13a
    5d caused a grin as well!

    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit

  25. If anyone is not keen on watching the football, may I recommend the film Finding Your Feet at 8 pm on Channel 4. It is a lovely film with such people as Imelda Staunton, Joanna Lumley, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall. It is gentle British humour at its best and the very last shot is a delight. Just thought I would mention it.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Manders. I have now put it on hold at our local library. We get 3 or 4 from them each week, all free. Currently enjoying watching Gold Digger series with Julia Ormond and Ben Barnes, also from the library. They luckily carry a good number of British made movies and TV series, including The Crown.

    2. Agree with you, Manders. A gentle comedy with superb actors. We watched it about 10 days ago on Amazon Prime.

          1. Thanks, on the strength of your recommendation, we have just watched it and indeed, loved the gentle British humour – and that brilliant last shot.

    3. I’d already got it earmarked as a ‘possible’ so thank you for the confirmation, Manders.

      Lovely comment from one of the BBC2 announcers a couple of days ago – ‘In case any of you have joined us in order to avoid the football, I hate to tell you but there are two matches on tonight and for the next few hours we’ll be showing Russia v Denmark(?)’.

  26. Workmanlike mental workout but pushed well into *** time by 22d by not knowing a do da was a word for another do da upside down and by taking too long, stupidly, over 26a.
    Why are the last two you have a time problem with always together?
    Funny, that.
    Many thanks to the setter and to tilsit.

  27. Really enjoyed this one today, actually doable. Had a few bung ins when the clues didn’t help, but lots to love. Chuckled at the picture hint for 6d. Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea, come back soon 😊.

  28. Pretty straightforward until I got to the NW corner when I had to get a hint to get on track again.
    Fave was 5d, and I thought 13a very clever.
    Thank you Chalicea for the fun, and appreciated your help,Tilsit, to get going again.

  29. **/****. Apart from the error in 20a this was right up my street. I bunged in the answer in any event. 5d raised a smile and 26a was my favourite. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. We normally get weather warnings for winter storms but this week is all about heat.

  30. Finished this earlier this morning and have then been out for a long lunch (what a pleasure). Good to see that 20a has been fully explained, my clue was the one missing the extra “c”, but the answer had to be what it was. Gained some new knowledge as I was not familiar with the synonyms for “shaver” and “dust storm”. Overall a very enjoyable solve, no particular favourite.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit

  31. 2d took me a while and I also wanted a type of grape for 17a until the checkers persuaded me otherwise. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  32. Missed 2 days because of food poisoning but. Who knew it addled your brain? Caught up now. This was my favourite of course as she is my favourite setter. Lovely puzzle.
    Thanks to Chalicea andTilset although no help needed today.

    1. Oh food poisoning is awful, Toni! You have my sympathies. I suffered a bout of Campylobacter a few years ago and it was no fun. Hope you are well on the mend now.

      1. Thanks Steve. I’m 69 and never had it in my life before. I usually do 14 hour fasts overnight which is supposed to be good for your health but a 48 hour one was a bit much!

  33. Thoroughly enjoyable Saturday puzzle…solved pre-blog which is always a good start to the weekend! Another pen inbound I suspect 😜
    Thanks indeed to Chalicea 👍 and to Tilsit for another brilliant blog ‘n hints…the pic for 6D🤣

  34. It’s 26th June, the sun is shining and Chalicea set the crosswords. Can’t ask for more than that and very good crosswords they are too, thanks Chalicea and Tilsit.
    ……And Laurie Lee was born this day in 1914.

  35. Started late as went to a stag do last night and feeling the worse for wear. Straightforward for a change but can’t see what the answer’s got to do with shavers but hopefully someone will explain.

    1. During the period when settlers spent a lot of time cutting wood, if a son looked or acted like his father he was called a “chip off the old block”.
      It meant that except for size, the two were as clearly related as a chip cut from its original block of wood from the family tree. A little shaver is the same, except that a shaving is smaller than a chip.

      1. It’s an expression I’ve come across before but couldn’t have explained at all. Thanks.

  36. Absolutely on Chalicea’s wavelength today, the first time for a very long time this has happened! Thank you, Chalicea, and Tilsit, for the wonderfull clip of La Divina singing – made my whole day! 🌹

  37. I tried to amend my post on my iPad to adjust chalicea’s name to the correct spelling – ie; without a capital letter at the beginning – but I ran out of time. Why is it so difficult to edit on an iPad?

  38. Finished unaided 1.5*/*****. A gentle brain teaser with many neat and quirky clues. Difficult to choose, but COTD must be 9a. The quickie also had some very neat clues. Thanks to our lady setter for two very enjoyable puzzles and to Tilsit for the (unneeded) hints,

  39. Not quite complete – 13a has some alternate letters missing, but otherwise completed unaded although much guesswork involved and then trying to work out why they were right. Still not quite sure about some, but they work so that’s good enough for me!

  40. No idea on 9 ac really, although I have all the other letters so think I know what it must be. Back from a delightful phone/computer free week walking in the Cotswolds, although it was a challenge to use my Telegraph vouchers. Actually I lie, I did have a phone but one of the old tiny vodafones that fit in your shirt pocket, but no chance of internet. Nice puzzle to accompany E v G first half.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      9a – definition is ‘stick’ – the abbreviation for cold, and an automatic response ‘covered up’ by a lip

      If you still can’t ‘see’ it, my review of this crossword will be posted at 9 am tomorrow

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