DT 29718 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29718 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29718 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

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Good morning from a very soggy Warrington where no doubt a great many people are preparing for this evening’s events. I certainly am. It’s the Shrewsbury Bridge Club Saturday evening session, and I shall be directing the session as usual. If you are at a loose end and would like an enjoyable, friendly session, please contact me and I’ll tell you how to find us. We start at 7pm, and like you to be in around five-ten minutes before. I’ll even find you a partner if need be!

Anyway, back to today’s puzzle, which was reasonably straightforward, with a couple of little potential trip-ups here and there. I’m guessing the setter may be our esteemed Editor; there’s no pangram and it feels similar to some his other oeuvres.

As usual, it is a prize puzzle, so remember the rules. It’s too soggy to sit on the naughty step. Play nicely, and don’t give the mods any grief.

Thanks to our setter for an entertaining solve, and I’ll be back next week.

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 In speculation, judge lacking (6)
Inside a word for speculation goes a short word for a judge, one of whom may be under the microscope in Rome this evening.

4a Sorcerers, security against conflict? (8)
After a word for conflict goes the name of items that may give security and protection.

12a Wrapping that woman’s mother, edges of towel warming (7)
Inside a word meaning that woman and an abbreviation for mother go the outer letters of TOWEL.

15a Fine electricity supplier, possibly? That’s pointless (8)
After the abbreviation for fine goes the name that describes companies such as E.ON, Octopus, and my favourite (because they are cheap, green and customer service is good), Bulb.

18a Gloss covering first of bandages on part of leg (8)
Inside a word for gloss goes the first letter of bandage and ON to give a part of your leg.

25a Apes shortly scoffing last of ripe fruit (7)
Inside the name for some apes (the first part!) goes the last letter of RIPE.

27a Strange alien, right? Not I! (9)
Clever clue. The whole clue could be the definition, but it’s also all the indications, so you are looking for an anagram (strange) of ALIEN and RIGHT, minus one of the I’s.

29a Watching international cricket, declare (6)
If you were watching an international cricket match at Lord’s you could be this. When the two words are put together it means to declare.


1d County has wrong date for item in private chamber (8)
Take the short name for a county not too far from London and add an anagram (wrong) of DATE

3d Forenames rearranged, one’s in order (9)
An anagram of FORENAMES gives a member of a secretive order (‘no, we’re not, honest!’ – Grandmaster).

5d Comprehensive, where queen might go? (6,3,5)
Two definitions, one cryptic. You are looking for where a queen (not Liz!) might go in a game. The three words give a phrase that means comprehensive.

6d Storey that’s reached from above or below? (5)
I like this clue a lot! A word for a storey in the building is palindromic (and as it’s a down clue, this way of saying it works cleverly).

8d Hit the roofstop when you do that! (3,3)
Another two definitions, one cryptic clue. An expression meaning to get angry could also be when you have to stop in your car.

9d Rule of law I care about damaged listener (11,3)
An anagram of RULE OF LAW I CARE gives something many boxers (two-legged, not four) experience.

16d Enjoy a drink of whisky? Willingly! (4,1,4)
And another two definitions, one cryptic clue. An expression meaning willingly is to enjoy a glass of scotch.

17d Sense I place in hearing? (8)
A homophone of I place, as one word, is one of the senses.

24d Song sung initially in tree (5)
Inside a tree found on desert islands goes the first letter of SUNG.

Once again, thanks to today’s compiler for an enjoyable solve. I’ll see you next week.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Today’s music is a new piece from a talented artist – this is a young Detroit based pianist who is joined by Renee Elise Goldberry. Just wallow in this!

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: pie+knap+pull=pineapple

70 comments on “DT 29718 (Hints)

  1. I think that they should make crosswords where there is a prize involved far more challenging.

    1. Some of our bloggers have already explained why it’s important to make some crosswords accessible to crossworders at all levels of ability, Bertie. The prize crossword attracts a lot of entries and winning is a bit of a lottery anyway. I think you’re flogging a dead horse on this issue.

      1. Well, I did (have a go, that is) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Got the theme, even the ‘playwright’, but needed a few letters elsewhere. My first Alchemi, I think. ‘The Lion in Winter’ helped.

        1. I think CS was suggesting the Phibs MPP which I suspect might give Bertie a proper workout. Knew, like me, you’d automatically think of The Lion In Winter – great film.

    2. Well I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must say. Challenging enough for some of us.

    3. I wouldn’t get too excited about the prize, Bertie, I have had two over a period of several decades – a double pack of playing cards and later a pen and notebook. Both very nice to receive but we are not talking real contests!

      1. I have won in the past but very rarely enter. It would be no fun at all for those who do and for the crossword editor if it was so hard that only a seasoned few entered every week. The fact that it is so popular that thousands enter speaks for itself.

      2. I sent completed entries for about fifty years and won nothing. I don’t bother now.

        The prize is not worth it.

  2. Am enjoyable puzzle with mostly straightforward clues (1.5*/4*). There werE some rather fine anagrams, including my COTD 9d, which made me chuckle. Amongst the otber clues, I liked 18a and 1d. Many thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. Lovely puzzle – right at my level. I like the straightforward ones.

    Later today we shall see if football takes one step closer to ‘coming home’, the theme of which probably irritates the rest of Europe and, indeed, the World. Ukraine are no mugs and we underestimate them at our peril. Of course, we shall be a stronger side if Mason Mount starts.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Laura Nyro – Gonna Take A Miracle

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit

  4. An exceedingly gentle and straightforward puzzle, somewhat heavy on anagrams, and a surprising number of clues with what I felt were rather clumsy surfaces. Nothing leapt from the page for an Hon. Mention, let alone as a COTD.


    Many thanks anyway to the Setter, and to Tilsit for the review.

  5. 1.5*/3*. A light fun Saturday Prize Puzzle with 23a, 5d & 16d climbing onto the podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  6. Very straightforward this morning which was slightly unexpected. */*** No idea about the setter. Hopefully Harry Kane will be able to score as in 16d this evening. I liked 28a but my favourite is 5d. Thanks to all.

  7. Exceedingly gentle & straightforward about sums it up. Pleasant enough but maybe all over a bit too quickly to be entirely satisfactory for a Saturday. On the plus side I didn’t read county as country for the first time in a while & thought the 2 long downs at 5&9 good clues. Hoping the weather holds for DG’s open garden & all of her hard work yields the complimentary feedback her hard work deserves.
    Thanks to the setter & Tilsit.
    Today’s soundtrack: Anderson East – Delilah.

    1. I’ve been thinking about DG as well – weather looks a bit hit and miss for most of the UK this weekend.

    2. Oh I am touched by your concern! I have been outside trimming the edges on my knees (one metal) and thinking I am mad. The pocket rocket talked me into this! And George, who bless him is not a gardener, keeps saying they have to take us as they find us. However he did pour me a glass of wine at lunch , purely restorative, so I am filled with a nude vicar. Sorry, renewed vigour.

      1. I don’t think you should let the public in if you are filled with a nude Vicar especially on a Sunday. I’ve always wondered what defrocking is about.

        1. I’m more worried about what he’s doing wearing a frock in the first place. And “filled with a nude vicar” is a rather evocative turn of phrase! And didn’t he get offered “more tea”?

          1. I knew a Vicar who went out on his rounds in his bicycle. He accepted quite a few cups of tea and who knows what else. He went back to the Vicarage on foot and forgot where he had left his bicycle. The next morning during his sermon on the Ten commandments he got as far as the Seventh when he remembered where he left his bike.

  8. Not the most difficult SPP but very enjoyable (** / ****).
    All gettable from the clues with no obscure synonyms, homonyms or GK so accessable to most, just as I think is the intention for an SPP (thank goodness)
    For me COTD was 7d with 5d R/U
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the hints.
    The BGBA (Big Girl’s Blouse Award) or a BAFTA to the Italian forward who rolled around in agony for 20 seconds only to leap up and run to congratulate the scorer when Italy scored their first goal. What a set of overpaid wusses.

      1. I think Fabio Fognini, the Italian tennis player must have the same drama coach.

  9. A wonderful puzzle and finished unaided. 28a is an old chestnut but it foxes me every time. I have ticks by quite a number today such as 1a, 15a and 23a. Two clues are competing for the COTD – 5d and 16d and I am leaning towards 16d.

    Many thanks to the setter for the entertainment and many thanks Tilsit for the hints, which I will now read.

  10. With over half completed on the first pass, this was certainly at the easier end of the range for a prize puzzle. 27a had me scratching my head. I can’t decide if it is too convoluted or very clever!

    Many thanks to the compiler and Tilsit.

    C’mon Ingerlaaand.


  11. I agree with Bertie and MG, above. For me, far too mild for a SP or even a Mon back-pager. But I’m sure many others will find it a decent challenge for them, so that’s fair enough. 1*/1.5*.

  12. Did this in a couple of bites, a fairly gentle solve but enjoyable nonetheless.
    My favourites were 27a, 28a and 5d.
    Now I can sit back and relax in front of the TdF and the football.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  13. Well, I certainly enjoyed it – not the most difficult, with some very straightforward clues but there were also some clever ones…..

  14. Enjoyable while it lasted. Favourites were 27a and 5d. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  15. Reasonably straightforward which was just as well as I had connectivity problems with WIFI being (mysteriously) down for around 90 minutes.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 5d, and 16d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  16. Excellent puzzle, right up my street and nicely at my level. It’s really good to see the DT making a Prize puzzle that is within most people’s reach. For those who require a more rigorous challenge CS has the answer (see her comment above).
    My favs were 5d and 27a both well constructed clues.
    Thx to all

  17. I don’t think a puzzle has to be difficult, just entertaining, and this one certainly filled the bill.
    Quite a queue for the podium but I eventually settled for the same ones as Senf – 1a plus 5&16d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints and very enjoyable music clip.

  18. Finished before noon which for me is the fastest time I’ve done I think.

  19. I echo Jane’s excellent comment at 17.
    My podium contenders are 1&15a plus 5,9&16d
    Many thanks to Tilsit and to the compiler for the entertainment.

  20. Let’s make it a threepeat for me, with 1a, 5d, and 16d (my COTD) up on the podium, with honourable mentions to 9d and 27a. I hope that MP (are you around this weekend?) enjoys the reference to his favourite author in 26a (yuk, yuk). And my best wishes to DG for her Open Garden tomorrow. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter for an enjoyable if gentle offering. ** / ****

    Thinking of Kath and hoping she’s improving daily.

  21. In all the many years we have been doing the DT puzzle we have always expected, and invariably found, the SPP to be on the gentle side. Which is great as there are lots of other things to get on with on a Saturday. Last night in the bath I looked at the toughie. I could not fill in a single clue! Totally baffled. So this was a nice salve to my pride. I liked 12a (I am very fond of my drawer full of these) and 9d made me smile and 6d was clever. Many thanks to Tilsit, I used to love my weekly Bridge Night but don’t know how I would enjoy playing with an unknown partner. And thanks to our setter. Have a good weekend.

    1. And I should think George might have something to say about you playing with an unknown partner.
      Stick to gardening…

  22. This puzzle was nice treat to solve considering some Saturday puzzles are like Toughies. 1.5*/***** with solve starting in SE and continuing counterclockwise until 22d last in. Many favourites to be had today including 1a, 12a, 18a, 1d, 5d & 19d with my winner being 19d for the clue brevity and to the point!! Runner-up being 5d
    Solved this without any hints so that makes it a win too.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the hints

  23. Unlike Bertie I do not have a brain the size of a planet, so I was chuffed to finish this, 2nd one this week😊. Very enjoyable so thanks to all.

  24. Relatively easy it may have been for those of us who are experienced solvers, but this was certainly right up there in terms of enjoyment and entertainment which is surely the main thing? With the tens of thousands of Telegraph readers who attempt the cryptics every day it would be nigh on impossible to produce one that pleased everybody. Over the course of a week, or a month, you will get a decent spread of difficulties which is as it should be.

    My thanks to CL if it was one of yours, and apologies and thanks to whomsoever actually compiled it if it wasn’t. Thanks too, to Tilsit.

  25. We enjoyed this too as there were plenty of clever clues. There’s nothing wrong with straightforward. Favourite was 9d as it was a really difficult anagram to solve. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

        1. “Easy Peasy” tells us nothing about your thoughts, Acrostic. Please tell us more. 👍

          1. Steve,
            You have been contributing long enough to know that those who we respect as REALLY good don’t need to tell us how good they are (and never do). Those that make remarks like #27 always tell us nothing about the puzzle but tell me a lot about the blogger.

  26. A very enjoyable puzzle that I solved alone and unaided and understood the parsings. A lot of lovely clues.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    I do envy you, Tilsit, having a Bridge Club to go to. Our (very much beginners ) club stopped at the start of the first lockdown last year and has never reopened. I hope it will restart in the autumn, but have my doubts. Online Bridge is good, but not the same.

    Dundee now showing as having the highest infection rate in the UK so it looks like we’re staying in for a wee while longer. Unfortunately the wonderful weather we had last week has now deserted us and it is threatening to rain.
    Hope things go well with your garden opening DG…..Good luck with it .

    1. I played bridge all through lockdown, first using Bridgebase with a simultaneous Zoom call so we could talk to each other, and later moving to Trickster which has a video facility within it. I agree it’s not as good as doing it in person but you get through a lot more games as there’s less chitchat and more playing!

  27. I enjoyed this one. At first glance it looked as if it could have been harder. I do like a crossword where a fair sprinkling of checkers are not vowels which means you can knock a few out in one go. Favourites 1 15 23 and 28a and 9 (where I was expecting a quite different three letter word), 16 17 and 24d. Last corner in was SW which was more about getting there last than complexity. Thank you CL if it be you and to Tilsit. I did parse all but missed the second interpretation of 8d.

  28. I enjoyed this a lot, much to like. I failed the anagram at 9d and had to use e-help to get it, even though I had checkers galore and circles all over my paper, I was totally on the wrong trail. Luckily I was with the right queen at 5d. My Dad was a Grandmaster of 3d, I’ve got all his aprons and such here, don’t know what to do with them and all their leather cases.
    Fave was 16d, I have an honourable mention for 28a.
    Thank you to our Saturday setter for the fun, and to Tilsit for his hints and pics.

  29. Fun puzzle that helped pass the time during endless traffic jams on the M5 as we returned from beautiful Cornwall. Thank you setter and Tilset

  30. Straight run clockwise round the grid, with no holdups. An enjoyable solve. Thank you setter and Tilsit. Enjoy your Bridge session Tilsit. I don’t think I could go back to my club. I’m not sure I could remember how to play after such a long gap.

  31. Happy that many agree that a puzzle doesn’t have to be overly tough to be enjoyed. After all, the DT puzzles are written for all of their readers, not just the few who find these too easy. This was a satisfying solve today, although I do confess to running out of patience with the 9d anagram, and then getting mad at myself when I got the answer. And why the two gals in 29a didn’t immediately spring to mind, when I have this in my garden, and I can even see if from the breakfast table? Spent the morning bringing stuff in some of the stuff from the patio “just in case” Elsa arrives on Tuesday. Thankfully downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm right now, and looks like slight movement to the west. Double phew…. Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the help.

    1. Darn, I forgot about the outside chairs by the pool, have to get someone to take care of that.

  32. Been away for the week in Europe so this is exactly the sort of puzzle to get my head back into it while fighting the jet lag!!
    Agree with many above that it’s not about the ‘simplicity’ or ‘difficulty’, it’s about the entertainment and pleasure received when your understanding matches the setter’s intention and challenge…and this one certainly did for me…so a hearty ‘thanks’ and 👍 from me to the setter (whoever you may be 😎).
    Anyway, I’m sure to have won the competition again…my pen collection is going to be massive when they all start rolling in…😜
    Thanks to Tilsit for another great blog ‘n hints…always an enjoyable read too👍

  33. This was an enjoyable solve on Friday night while we were enjoying the cooler weather at last. My dog is still praying for winter, or at least some rain!

    For me, the main thing about the Saturday prize puzzle is that it should be enjoyable. It should be within reach of the majority while still providing entertainment for the minority. It is something that beginners can aspire to and get a real sense of achievement especially when finishing for the first time. There are ample crosswords out there for the more experienced/better educated/more time-rich solvers both in other publications and throughout the week in The Telegraph. I would be very disappointed if the Saturday puzzle were ever to change in style. There, you see what happens when you make me cope with days of 40C+ heat?!

  34. On first glance I thought this was going to be tricky but once I started it all went in quickly apart from my last two which I couldn’t see for some reason (7d is not something I would ever use and with 29a I find with any crickety clues they bring me out in a cold sweat!) As someone who has been doing crosswords on and off for years I’m still only very average at them so please keep them at this level! **/****

  35. Fairly straightforward although NE stopped it being an unaided finish. COTD 27a. Found the quickie very difficult and needed lots of E-help to finish it. Is the setter our esteemed editor, whose 50-50 puzzles on Sundays always completely beat me?

  36. Some of the above comments have fired me up. Arrogant people who finish quickly, then brag about it get my goat. Sometimes it’s humbling to be beaten, fair and square ( like by Elgar on Friday) but these experiences should help us to stretch ourselves and learn.
    I am glad you don’t publish time achievements either. It doesn’t matter how long solving ( or not) takes – we do it for fun!

  37. Well I’m rather late at coming in with my thoughts but have to say that I did enjoy Saturday’s puzzle which I only completed a short while ago. I often start a puzzle and get so many interruptions that it can be hours later before I complete it. Usually, during the week you have all sensibly gone to bed early and are up to greet the dawn and ready to blog at coffee time. But I do like to pop in during the afternoon to read the messages, they can be so entertaining and informative.

    Many thanks to Tilsit and the setter. We have had the Iron Man challenge today so many local roads closed. During the regular heavy showers kept thinking of Daisygirl and her Open Garden. Quite a labour of love and well done. Now time for you to sit back with your favourite tipple.

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