DT 29726 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29726

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29726

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone.  I thought this was a solid Tuesday puzzle that was free of obscurities. It made for an enjoyable solve. 

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 enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    About to lose strength, daughter went to bed (7)
RETIRED:  Link together about or concerning, lose strength from exertion, and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter 

5a    Hates day before English exams (7)
DETESTS:  Assemble the single letter for day, the single letter for English, and a synonym of exams 

9a    Native Americans quietly, stealthily advance (5)
CREEP:  A Native American people is followed by the musical abbreviation for quietly or softly 

10a   Throw mud at grenade -- it goes off (9)
DENIGRATE:  An anagram (goes off) of GRENADE IT 

11a   Found dance music very electronic and revolutionary (10)
DISCOVERED:  Join together some 70s dance music, the abbreviation for very, the single letter for electronic, and revolutionary or communist 

12a   Mark heads back (4)
SPOT:  The reversal (back) of heads or comes first 

14a   Europe stops bananas retaining curve, centrally? Absurd (12)
PREPOSTEROUS:  An anagram (bananas) of EUROPE STOPS containing (retaining) the central letter of CURVE 

18a   Instinctive tendency to support the environment (6,6)
SECOND NATURE:  To support or to back is followed by another word for the environment 

21a   Weak female's abandoned bar (4)
RAIL:  Weak or infirm minus the abbreviation for female ( … female's abandoned

22a   Criminal in jail but keeping old feeling of joy (10)
JUBILATION:  An anagram (criminal) of IN JAIL BUT containing (keeping) the abbreviation for old 

25a   Uniform returned by marines, nothing by engineers -- not again! (9)
NEVERMORE:  Concatenate the reversal (returned) of uniform or flat with the abbreviation for the Royal Marines, the letter representing nothing, and the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers 

26a   It might be used to cut some flipping beef in kitchen (5)
KNIFE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (some flipping) of the remainder of the clue 

27a   Go beyond ravine after second ancient city (7)
SURPASS:  After both the single letter for second and a usual ancient city comes a narrow passage, possibly through mountains, that might be a ravine

28a   Little swine maybe  drops rubbish (7)
LITTERS:  Double definition. A word which some sets of little swine define by example (maybe) is also a verb meaning drops rubbish 




1d    Grow less edelweiss, initially, after Charlie cuts grass (6)
RECEDE:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Charlie is inserted in some tall water-loving grass, and after all that comes the initial letter of EDELWEISS 

2d    Is male supporting article's religious belief? (6)
THEISM:  IS from the clue and the single letter for male are both following (supporting, in a down clue) a grammatical article 

3d    Tear with crying that's wild and noisy (3-7)
RIP-ROARING:  Tear or pull apart with crying or screaming

4d    Move out of the way of American car (5)
DODGE:  A double definition, the second being an American car brand 

5d    Rinsed ten damaged plates and dishes (6,3)
DINNER SET:  An anagram (damaged) of RINSED TEN 

6d    Became upset with small clothes (4)
TOGS:  The reversal (upset, in a down clue) of a synonym of became is followed by the clothing abbreviation for small 

7d    Cleaning liquids for mops? (8)
SHAMPOOS:  Cryptic definition, where mops is neither wordplay fodder nor cleaning implements 

8d    Most friendly tsetse flies guarding wren, oddly (8)
SWEETEST:  An anagram (flies) of TSETSE containing (guarding) the odd letters of WREN 

13d   Where prices drop, one might buy a teddy here? (4,6)
BEAR MARKET:  A time of falling share prices might, whimsically, be somewhere to buy a teddy for your child 

15d   Strange sound up elm -- 1000 leaves drooping (9)
PENDULOUS:  An anagram (strange) of SOUND UP ELM minus the letter indicating 1000 ( … -- 1000 leaves

16d   Golf series -- they don't provide much coverage (1-7)
G-STRINGS:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by golf is followed by a series or train

17d   Winner -- a Greek character, always (8)
ACHIEVER:  Glue together A from the clue, a Greek letter, and a synonym of always 

19d   Eat evening meal around six? Heavenly! (6)
DIVINE:  "Eat evening meal" containing (around) the Roman six 

20d   Annoys fishermen heartlessly (6)
ANGERS:  Some fishermen minus their middle letter (heartlessly

23d   Perfect fish on a lake (5)
IDEAL:  Chain together a usual three-letter fish, A from the clue, and the abbreviation for lake 

24d   Region in Far East (4)
AREA:  The answer is hidden in the remainder of the clue 


Thanks to today’s setter.  Top clues for me were 6d, 7d, and 15d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  BEE + TAR + RAISE = BETA RAYS

106 comments on “DT 29726

  1. I can’t recall a more straightforward back-pager than this one but, even though it was over so quickly, it was still fun to solve with a big smile for the surface of 14a which was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  2. This was the nearest I have come to a read and write and was most enjoyable. I liked the cleverly disguised anagram at 8d and, while it might be an old chestnut, I did like 7d. However, my COTD is 18a.

    Grateful thanks to the setter for the entertainment and to Mr. K. for the hints.

    1. Had a quick read through of yesterday’s comments before lights out late last night & read about your clue writing triumph. Found the email, which I’d not read, and was very impressed. Reckon I’d have found it something of a head scratcher. Rookie Corner beckons – from little acorns & all that. Well done.

      1. Thank you, Huntsman. As for Rookie corner, there is an ocean of difference between coming up with one clue and filling a grid. :mail:

          1. True, MP. I have Crossword Compiler but I find filling a full grid difficult. I let the programme the answers but maybe I should try putting my own in. However, knowing me, I would end up trying to clue a four letter word and starting with X!

  3. Good fun albeit very gentle, as is the Toughie in the main.
    Top clues for me were 10&18a with top spot going to 13d
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for the fun in the sun.

  4. The quality of the backpagers has become seriously reduced, which I take no pleasure in saying. This is about the same level as what the Times calls its ‘Quick Cryptic’.

    1. Surely quality isn’t necessarily contingent on a certain level of difficulty. Today’s was nicely clued & witty in places. Of the 6 puzzles I did yesterday Silvanus in the Indy was the hands down winner but the Graun Quiptic (not difficult but classily clued) was runner up.

      1. Very well expressed Huntsman. I have said similar but not expressed as well. My comment is awaiting moderation as I suspect I have miss-spelt my name or email. The auto-fill has stopped working!

      2. How many more times do we have to say this? People of all different solving abilities get immense enjoyment from these cryptic puzzles each and every day. I cannot understand why someone who finds them too easy does not just go and do the provided Toughie instead, and leave us lesser mortals to our fun. I sometimes have a stab at the Toughie, sometimes with pleasing results, but you won’t find me on there whinging about how difficult they are.

    2. Dear Bertie – whenever I read comments like yours today, and not for the first time, I wonder if the individual making them has ever created a crossword and had it published in, at least, BD’s Rookie Corner. If you have, that might give some validity to your comments; if you haven’t then I consider that your comments would be better kept to yourself.

      P.S. To give validity to my comments, I have had one Rookie published.

      1. Yes, I have provided crosswords for a, now defunct, magazine. They were cryptic certainly, but as this was about 40 years ago I would guess that they were probably not even up to the standards I now appear to demand.
        However, this is a forum – it should not just be a love-fest. My comments are giving my honest reactions; which does not mean that I do not appreciate the various setter’s works (even Elgar!).
        My views are maybe coloured by having done this paper’s crosswords (as well as others) for my entire adult life – some 50+ years.

        1. Lighten up. I too have been doing these puzzles for 50+ years although I’m not as adept as you. I like to think that there will be youngsters starting the same journey who would likely be a little discouraged if every puzzle were on the high end of the difficulty scale. Just a thought. We all started somewhere.

          1. Greta
            Not Bertie he was born with a solved Telegraph backpager in his hand. His first words were “Easy peasy” :smile:

            1. Bertie, I too have been doing the Telegraph backpager for over 50 years but I started crossword many years before. I started with the London Evening news Children’s Picture Crossword, then moved on to their Junior crossword, before fighting my dad for the main puzzle. I agree with Greta, we need a variety of puzzles at different levels to give access to those at all stages of ability. As it is, I have talked to many people who shy away from cryptic puzzles because they think they are only for geniuses. No need to probe them right.

          2. I’ve been doing this stopping work to raise a family in 1969, and I do hope those new to these puzzles will not be made to feel inadequate by comments of “too easy” and the like.

      2. He doesn’t post for a day or two and I think, he’s gone, thank Gawd, then he pops up again! “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

        1. ‘Thank Gawd he’s gone’?

          Goodness me. This personal stuff has to get binned, it really does. You can obviously lay in to his comment, if you feel the urge, but not him as a person.

          If we’re not too careful, it will turn into a kidz social media social platform.

      3. Indeed Senf – it looks much easier than it is and yours was pretty good I seem to remember

    3. May I politely suggest that if you find them so dreadful you stop solving them. There is not necessarily a connection between quality of the clues and solving time.

    4. Hello, Bertie.

      It’s well-known that the Telegraph cryptics appearing today are less difficult than those published fifty years ago. Why is that a problem?

      As Huntsman and others have pointed out above, quality and difficulty are not the same. The clues in this puzzle all follow accepted cryptic grammar and the definitions are all supported by the major dictionaries. The comments here make it clear that solving this puzzle brought pleasure to many people. In my view that means it’s a quality puzzle.

      You are posting on a blog aimed at beginning solvers of entry-level cryptic crosswords. You should not be surprised to find commenters enjoying puzzles that might be straightforward for someone with fifty years of solving experience. I know that are several readers here who, perhaps like you, complete these puzzles in a few minutes. They mostly comment on the more challenging Toughie and EV puzzles, and if they post on this side they typically say nothing about the perceived difficulty of the puzzle because they don’t want to dishearten the new solvers who are essential for the longevity of this community.

      1. Well said, Mr K. However, while I do not agree with what Bertie says, he has the right to say what he does so long as it is not offensive. As far as I am aware, he has not been so.

        Personally, I think he just likes winding us all up. 😀

        1. Commenters here don’t really have rights, just permission to say whatever BD deems appropriate (which, as you say, pretty much comes down to not causing offense).

    5. I self taught myself on cryptics about 50 years ago. I always reckoned the DT was the easiest of the then 4 main broadsheets ( perhaps because that was the one I weaned on) with some of the Guardian ones (Bunthorne) much harder. I think the style of DT have changed over the years and while I always used to finish them I now often get stuck on the odd one. This may be old age creeping up but I some times I think the clues are weaker and more contrived.
      I reckon this ones 2* rating about right and of the same difficulty as DTs over the years.
      Of course if you manage to finish all the toughies this will seem simple.

  5. I agree with the above and thought */*** with 14a being my COTD with it’s clever almost topical Brexit type theme. I was on a high when starting it as I had a letter published today which gives the letters section it’s heading! Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

    1. Many congratulations on getting a letter published in the Telegraph. I have tried and failed several times.

      1. The pinnacle of my “letter writing career” was getting one published in the business section of the Sunday Times. So proud!!!

      2. I have had four published but they were all on trivial matters. Well done, NAS. I haven’t read it yet but will do so over lunch.

        1. Er, NAS it would help if I knew to which letter everyone is referring as I don’t know your real name.🤔

          Unless you are Mr. Stuart, in which case I agree wholeheartedly!

          1. Sorry Steve – just seen this – yes I am Neil (Andrew) Stuart. Cunningly described for the purposes of Big Dave as NAS!

    2. Yes, well done, I also agree with every word. I’ve had 3 letters published over the years and all three were on exceptionally trivial matters but set off a sort of chain reaction.

      1. Me too on the three letters published score, but dozens more dashed off and ignored. It’s that batty old woman from south cambs they say and bin my letters now. Well done!

        1. Cheers Daisygirl! I too have had many more failures on the letter front than successes. Actually reading my original post now it looks as if I am agreeing with Bertie – whereas I was agreeing with the earlier comments of Rabbit Dave and Steve Cowling – and although I absolutely defend Bertie’s right to comment I didn’t actually agree but there you go. Long live free speech etc. Thanks for an enjoyable puzzle Silvanus – now you have revealed yourself👍

          1. NAS, I think this is a case of Chinese whispers. I don’t think Silvanus set today’s puzzle, he was thanking Huntsman for complimenting him on his puzzle in yesterday’s Independent.

            1. Thank you for the correction RD. I recall last year assuming Miffypops was a woman and on another occasion that RayT was a setter when he wasn’t and was educated very diplomatically then as now.

              Life is just one long learning curve and that’s why I find this such a positive forum.

        2. I’m with you DG as I have had several published over the years but rather more from that batty old lady in West Sussex have been ignored!

    3. Well done. I don’t write in often but get more than my fair share published. Ditto with things like Any Questions and Any Answers on Radio 4. The strangest thing was when Any Answers were by post and I heard a strange woman reading out my letter as if she was me. Even stranger perhaps was that I had dropped my envelope on the London Tube without a stamp.

    4. Excellent letter to The Telegraph NAS – it succinctly captures my thoughts on the current state of affairs in our country.

  6. Excellent and straightforward fare this morning with nothing to stop a speedy solve. Gentle it may have been, but still enjoyable and rewarding to complete. 14a gets my nod for COTD.

    My thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

  7. Very straightforward today but most enjoyable all the same. COTD 13d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the lovely pictures. Please send your rain up here, we need it, and some sunshine too would be nice.

    1. Enjoyed my virtual visit to Felbrigg yesterday. I do hope the woke brigade has been sent packing.

      1. Well JB, that is a mute point. I read that all volunteers had to go on a Diversity Training Course so I contacted my line manager to see if it was true and he replied at some length and yes it is true. Apparently I can do this on line. I rang a colleague last night and he was very scathing – both he and his wife have been volunteers with the NT for 45 years and felt, like me, it was very insulting. So I will have a look at it and see what I think. Evidently a number of volunteers have just decided to leave. After the debacle with Felbrigg ‘outing’ the last squire a few years ago and demanding the volunteers wear lanyards (we all refused to do so), they do not need another rebellion on their hands!

        1. I have great admiration for all the NT volunteers but not for the NT which has now become, like most large organisations, politicised. I have not visited Felbrigg, but I remember reading about the disgusting outing of the owner.
          I visited Holkham Hall a few years ago on one of my regular forays to Norfolk. Still privately owned, of course, so the dead hand of the NT was not around to upset the excellent volunteers.

          1. It is indeed a dilemma, I love the Hall and I love meeting so many different people and I’m quite good at chatting but the increasingly woke agenda worries me. But, if we stop doing it then many lovely people will miss out. We will see who replaces the man with the extraordinary hairdo!

  8. A more cheerful day weather wise and a puzzle to match. Easier than yesterday with no obscurities.
    Now take a look at the Toughie. That, too, is more friendly. I like days like this!

  9. Light and bright start to the day which left plenty of time to tackle the Toughie.
    14a & 13d raised a smile and my favourite was the neatly contrived 18a.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K and the kittens for the review.

  10. A pretty straightforward but enjoyable puzzle (1*/3.5*). My only quibble was with the synonym in 8d. I liked 18d and 7d but my COTD was 13d. Many thanks to Mr K for the hints and the kitten pictures and thanks to the compiler.

  11. Gentle but enjoyable. **/*** 22a was my last one in and my favourite. The anagram (plus o for old) was well disguised. The toughie was doable too. Bertie, you may find some of the cryptic puzzles on the gentle side but we don’t need to run a marathon every day to feel the benefit of the exercise, do we? Thanks to all.

  12. A solid Tuesday puzzle about sums it up albeit very straightforward. Another early vote for 14a as COTD with 7&13d making up a podium of witty clues.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.
    Ps nice doable Toughie today also.

  13. In 842 solves this was my fastest – and by a considerable margin. The triple-shot coffee I had this morning combined with a run must have tuned my brain up a notch (although of course it was a very easy puzzle). I’ll take the PB though.

  14. Straightforward, so hugely enjoyable for me as it was set right at my level. I agree very strongly with those who prefer a mixture of degrees of difficulty through the week.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack – Lola snoring, rather elegantly and gently, on the sofa.

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr K.

  15. Just about what a Tuesday puzzle should be both in terms of difficulty and enjoyment, complemented by an equally enjoyable ‘Tuesday Toughie’ from Donnybrook, **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 3d, 7d, 16d, and 19d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  16. Very pleasant and nothing to frighten the horses but enjoyable nonetheless. Thought the synonym in 6d was weak but I did enjoy 13d and 16d. Wanted to put ‘Not England’ into 17d but it wouldn’t fit!
    Thx to all

  17. I agree with RD in that there was no problem for the nags in today’s fun run which was all too short. 23d fish is becoming a bit of a bad penny. Joint Favs 18a and 7d. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  18. Enjoyable but all too brief – I agree with Bertie that this was more like a Times “QuickTic” than a “little bit more challenging than Monday” Tuesday puzzle, but it was still a fun grid to complete, I was pleased it was there, and there’s a Toughie to look at later in any case. At 1:5 the number of anagrams was quite generous but otherwise a good range of clue types. Good surface reads all round so ticks afterwards to 26a, 8d and a chuckle out loud to 16d. COTD to 7d not because it was challenging, but just because I enjoyed it!


    Many thanks to the Setter and to Mr K

  19. I live the anagrams and was off to a galloping start. Last in was 16d because I said to myself ‘golfie clue’ no can do but of course it wasn’t was it! I put a mark by 14 and 22a and 8,16 and 20d. I love the kitties they must be giving you so much pleasure! And thanks to the setter for a gentle ride, always acceptable. I am having an ultrasound at 5 and must not eat anything after 11am. An old friend rang at about 20 to 11 and we chattered for quite a while and I realised I’ve passed my deadline for some food! And I am really worried about drinking two pints of liquid at 4 – and holding on to it, do they think I am a camel? Life is so complicated I am very glad the crossword was not.

  20. Gentle and enjoyable, just what I needed after yesterday’s Fray Bentos. So pleasant to have a comfortable completion, isn’t it? I especially liked 13d, 3d, 25a, and 18a, my COTD. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. **/***

    Very satisfying completion of today’s Toughie too.

  21. I for one am very grateful for a read-and-write in cryptic crossword and liked this Tuesday offer. Enough to tax the brain with nice surface parsing and a few to raise a smile, but not so tricky it takes up the rest of the day and stops me getting back in the office/out to the gardening!
    I didn’t get 7d despite having all the checkers but I think that was just me being a bit slow today as it’s a lovely clue. I’m amazed there hasn’t been more outrage from the forum at 16d. A very “cheeky” clue!
    Thanks setter, hint master and all contributors.

    1. Am just battling through your other half’s (Boatman) puzzle in the Graun…..

      1. Ooooh! No connection to me. If I had a crossword setter in the family I’m sure I would do much better at them! But I’m not sure if DT and Grauniad readers are allowed to mix?!

  22. I liked this very much. It is Chalicea? ( i never recognise any setters except Dada and that’s only because I know it’s Sunday)
    I like easy ones sometimes and hard ones sometimes.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K

    1. I also thought it had the stamp of Chalicea, Toni but I am not a good setter spotter.

  23. Even I found three quarters of this puzzle easy, but the SW corner slowed me down. I can’t remember the name of the former long-serving Tuesday setter, but this reminded me of him. 25a was a new word for me, although I must have heard it before.

  24. A lot of things in life are shorter than we would have wished, even life itself, but it does not stop them being fun or even skilfully executed. Silvanus is a master of the witty and succinct clue. My top favourite was 13d together with 7, 16 and 19 in the downs and 18 and 25 across. I sometimes wonder if some of the complaints emanate from solvers who do not get the nuances. Thanks are due. I did not comment yesterday as behind with crosswords having been away. However, I solved unaided apart from having to look up the parts of a sundial. The other unfamiliar words were achievable from the wordplay. Two good examples of different types of puzzle. I first won a prize with The Observer about 55 years ago, and did The Times daily with a flat mate when taking my finals, so consider my opinions to be valid and backed by experience.

    1. Silvanus did not set today’s puzzle, WW. He was just thanking Huntsman for his comment on his puzzle in the Indy yesterday.

  25. Very straightforward but good fun.
    7d, 13d and 16d made me smile.
    Thank you setter.

  26. Very nice crossword, they all are if I can solve them 😳 **/**** Favourites were: 18a, 15 & 16d 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter

  27. A nice puzzle for Tuesday much like the Monday one. **/**** with some nice clues. Favourites for me are 9a, 14a, 22a, 7d & 13d with winner 13d.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  28. This was a super crossword, clever, straightforward and hugely enjoyable. I think 14a has to be clue of the year, alas it overshadows 7d which was very giggle worthy; mops, indeed! When I heard of the EU ruling on bananas, I thought it couldn’t be true, haven’t they even seen bananas growing? I suppose it was just something to keep the EU Parliament busy and out of mischief.
    Thank you setter, please come back soon, and to Mr. K for the hints and pics – those adorables are growing apace!

    1. I think the ruling in bananas, Merusa was so more could be packed in a box but I may be wrong. You may have seen in the DT today that the US entomology department (whatever) are dropping the name of the Gypsy Moth because it is offensive to gypsies! Did anyone ask them?
      The world has gone stark staring.

        1. Thanks, Mr K. Well you live and learn! I never knew the term Gypsy was derived from “Egyptian”. I have always believed that the true Romani are kind and responsible folk whose image was tarnished by the Irish tinker. Can I say that or will I find the woke brigade on my doorstep? 🤔

        2. What next?? I keep thinking I’ve heard it all and then something like this comes up.
          I do see that straight bananas would be easier to pack in boxes, but wouldn’t that best be dictated by the market rather than suits in a parliament? But, then, what do I know?

  29. A very nice puzzle and finished before bedtime! 17 down was my favourite, 16down the last one in, kept thinking golf which threw me a bit
    Thanks Mr.K and the setter?

  30. I agree with all the comments above, except Bertie obviously, nothing wrong with a gentle one and long may the DT continue to do so if only to irritate him. It took a while to parse 7d until the penny dropped. Favourite was 28a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  31. Out and about until 3pm today, so very late with the crossword. Very enjoyable, with COTD for me being 13d, very funny. A really lovely puzzle with nothing obscure or requiring a deep dive into GK. Could do with more like this one. Big thank you to the setter and to Mr K.

  32. Just curious, where is the location of the photo 27a. Looks like where I used to live in Granada 🤔

  33. 2*/4*……
    liked 14A ” Europe stops bananas retaining curve, centrally? Absurd (12)”

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