DT 29728 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29728

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29728

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good Morning one and all. Although I think there is enough here to suggest the work of Giovanni there are a couple of clues that make me doubt his involvement. Heigh ho just solve the puzzle from the clues and get on with the rest of your day which promises to be bright and sunny


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Title of lady in London adventure (4)
DONA:  This dated informal noun is hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

3a        Fellow in something like Prodigal Son story not beyond redemption (10)
PARDONABLE: The fellow here is a senior member of a university college. The story of The Prodigal Son is an example of a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. Place one inside the other as instructed by the clue

8a        Old baddy leading men — a fine speaker? (6)
ORATOR: The abbreviation for old plus a three-letter baddie precede the fighting men below the rank of officer

9a        Source of annoyance — clothes items I have being scratchy (8)
ABRASIVE: Begin with the letter A, the initial or source letter of the word annoyance. Add an item of clothing worn by some women. Don’t forget that this is plural. Add the contraction of I have

10a      Poet thus keeps mostly happy, animated within (6)
SAPPHO: A two-letter word meaning thus surrounds an anagram (animated) of most of the word HAPPy

11a      Peculiarities are initially evident in very good stars (8)
VAGARIES: Place the initial letter of the word ARE (from the clue) inside the abbreviations for very and good. Add a constellation of stars. The ones that also form the first sign of the zodiac

12a      What’s conjured up by a dreamer may be rum (8)
DEMERARA: Anagram (What’s conjured up with) of A DREAMER

14a      People  run (4)
RACE: A double definition which I have seen before. Both reasonably easy

16a      Duck on huge lake in city (4)
OSLO: A duck refers to the zero score in cricket. So a letter that looks like a nought is required. Huge refers to a size of an item of clothing. Lake is asking for the abbreviation of Lake. The word on refers to where to place the duck to reveal the answer

18a      Provide group with tuition — something children enjoy (5,3)
TRAIN SET: Begin with a verb meaning to teach a skill over a period of time. Add a group of people or things. The result is a children’s toy which I suspect may also be an expensive plaything of many who read Big Dave’s pages

19a      Military barrier could be made by cadets, OK? (8)
STOCKADE:  Anagram (could be made by) of CADETS OK

20a      One offering high-level protection (6)
ROOFER: A cryptic definition of a person who works on the part of your house that keeps the rain out

21a      Order one sent out for military supplies (8)
ORDNANCE: An authoritative order needs the letter that looks like the number one removing

22a      Pass with low exam grade — fall from high standard? (6)
ELAPSE: Begin with (as a letter) a low exam grade add a word meaning a fall from a high standard or a short failure of concentration. My exam results spelled out the word FUDGE

23a      Hot matters to be dealt with? One can control the heat (10)
THERMOSTAT: Anagram (to be dealt with) of HOT MATTERS

24a      Dirty son with something greasy (4)
SOIL: Begin with the abbreviation for son. Add something greasy, a lubricant perhaps


1d        Sort involved with demo who tells us the end is nigh? (8)
DOOMSTER:  Anagram (involved) of SORT and DEMO

2d        Hint needed in a knotty situation? The opposite (8)
ANTIPODE: Place another word for a hint (you can find it at the top of this page) in between the letter A from the clue and a slight swelling on a plant from which leaves or branches may emerge 

3d        Theatre upset erstwhile actor (9)
PERFORMER: Begin with the reverse (upset) of a type of theatre (Birmingham’s principal theatre perhaps) add a word meaning erstwhile or ex

4d        Trade times never altered in repeat notice (15)

5d        A river once more rising — this one at a border? (7)
NIAGARA: The letter A from the clue is followed by the abbreviation for river. These are followed by a word meaning once more. The whole is reversed (rising) to give the name of a river on the border between The USA and Canada. Will I ever forget the look of disgust on the customs officers face as he opened the unwashed kit of Broadstreet Rugby Club several days after we had played against Lockport and were crossing back into Canada. Priceless.

6d        Officers given hits feel unwell inside (8)
BAILIFFS: Some sharp blows with the fists surround a word meaning unwell, sick or poorly

7d        Spectators seeing six departing vessels (5)
EWERS: Spectators or people watching something need the Roman Numerals for the number  six removing

13d      Pressing after short break to be on the up again (9)
RESURGENT: A word meaning requiring immediate action or attention sits after the reverse of a word meaning a break (from work perhaps) minus its last letter

15d      Pet about to be given a bit of food (8)
CANOODLE: The Latin abbreviation for about is followed by a foodstuff, a long thin strip of pasta or flour paste

16d      Seats of old empire gone with onset of socialism (8)
OTTOMANS: These long seats can be made by adding the initial letter of the word socialism on to a former Turkish empire

17d      Exaggerate the merits of maidens possibly facing ‘orrible situation (8)
OVERSELL:  A cricketing term for the plural of series of six balls from which no runs have been scored (maidens) followed by a horrible situation from which the letter H has been omitted from the beginning of the word as indicated in the clue by the word ‘orrible

18d      Go on to Doncaster bypass maybe and prepare to shoot ahead (4,3)
TAKE AIM: How one might suggest a motorist uses the Doncaster Bypass could also be an instruction to prepare to fire a rifle or shotgun

19d      Yell not acceptable after request for silence (5)
SHOUT:  A word meaning not acceptable (if it’s not in its …) follows a short instruction for silence

Quickie Pun Tack + Tickle = Tactical


66 comments on “DT 29728

  1. This was a most enjoyable puzzle, I managed to finish unaided. I thought it was a strange grid with quite a number of double unches thrown in. I couldn’t get away from “dame” for 1a but it was obviously wrong so I didn’t put it in. Then the answer leapt out at me. I hadn’t heard of the Greek poet at 10a but she was gettable from the parsing. My COTD is 2d with 17d coming a close second.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thanks also to Miffypops for the hints.

  2. A very slow start for me, but momentum soon gathered and I finished at a gallop in ** time.

    2d was my last in but I was unable to parse 21a, so thanks for that explanation. My COTD was 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  3. I was also finished in ** time – just: I struggled for quite a while with 6d wanting to put Billious in because it had ill in it but the penny eventually dropped. My only GK fumble was 1a which I deduced correctly although it’s a new one for me. *** for the fun rating with many clever clues and my COTD although not tricky was 18d which I thought very neat. Many thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

  4. Enjoyable and not too difficult. I hadnt heard of the poet but was easily obtainable from the wordplay and checkers and thought 15d a tad weak but lots of others to like, 3&11a plus 3,5,13&18d foremost amongst them but top spot goes to 17d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the fun in the sun.

  5. 18d was very clever and needed a fair bit of knowledge about trunk roads in South Yorkshire to parse, but it became my favourite after staring at it for a short while. Overall this was a lovely puzzle and very enjoyable to solve. Still awaiting the sun in Shropshire as I type.

    My thanks to our setter and of course MP.

  6. Enjoyed this a lot, some very clever clues. Thanks for explaining 18d which I had put in correctly but had no idea why – quite sneaky. Hurrah Salthouse Stores open again! Wish people would stop banging on about the lovely weather, overcast and cold here, again.

    1. Come up the coast Manders. Lovely & sunny up here.
      Problem is our lack of rainfall. Dornoch burn has all but dried up

  7. No sun in Harpenden either. Had to check on Donny’s transport links & 1a but otherwise problem free after a slowish start. Some nice clues of which 3a&d together with 17d would be my podium picks.
    Thanks to the setter & MP

  8. A very enjoyable puzzle with an interesting variety of clues (2*/4*). I liked the cleverly constructed 3a, 3d, 17d and13d but joint COTD’s were 15d ( I was thinking of the wrong sort of pet and I did laugh when the penny dropped) and the geographical 18d. Many thanks to MP for the hints and to the compiler.

  9. Sound crossword today and good fun, agree with MP on a ***/***-also thanks for the parsing of 21a which eluded me.
    Remembered the poet in 10a from a visit to Lesbos many years ago, there was a double bladed axe involved .
    Favourite had to be 18d,very original, liked the surface of 18a.
    Many thanks to our setter.

  10. Great fun, good challenge, some lovely testing clues. Podium contenders: 11a, 2d, with 17d and 18d sharing COTD.

    2* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the Setter for a great grid (despite all the unches!) and to MP for the review.

  11. Very enjoyable today. Thanks to all . It may be worth noting that the Doncaster bypass is actually the A1(M) giving the second word of the answer.

    1. Thank you. Occasionally I like to leave a little work to be done by those needing a hint. In this case I felt that I had done enough for the answer to be obtained whilst still allowing a penny drop moment as the wordplay fell into place

      1. I had no Doncaster knowledge, but the answer jumped out anyway. As Peter spent a good period of his English working life driving all over England fixing large, corporate computers, he was able to confirm the AIM name for me.

  12. I enjoyed this one very much and finished unaided, though I know nothing about UK bypasses (18d just had to be what it was). The poet figures hugely in Greek literary history and in today’s socio-cultural climate (at least she does over here) and has become a rallying cry for the LGBT cause. Podium awards go out to 2, 15, & 17d. Thanks to the Miff for his review and to Giovanni for the pleasure. ** / ***

    We haven’t heard from Corky in a while, have we? Hope he’s all right. I always associate Thursdays with Kath and hope that she’s progressing well.

    1. Robert
      I made the observation re Corky at the end of last week that has not, to date, resulted in a response. Hopefully he is on holiday, or “taking a sabbatical” assomeone once said.

  13. More delight as the benign cryptic week continues. 15d eluded me but with a little bit of help became my Fav. TVM DG and MP.

  14. Going against the majority above, I struggled with this one. However I remain, stubbornly, at the lower end of ability even though I enjoy the daily challenge very much.

    Strange day yesterday – a funeral, which of course is rarely a joyous occasion; yet it was lovely to see all of the immediate family together. Yin and yang, I guess.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Jayhawks – Tomorrow The Green Grass

    Thanks to the setter and Miffo. Plus – all best wishes to The Lovely Kath.

    1. I struggled too Terence, which makes me think it is a Giovanni, so glad to see I am not alone.

  15. Super puzzle again.
    I wondered what the overseas solvers would make of 17d ( and some UK solvers too). We lived for a year or do in Donny so very familiar with the A1(M). Naturally it was my COTD.
    When we moved there we didn’t know the area at all. We went to see this four bed house that had such a fantastic specification for the price with a big garden. It seemed too good to be true and of course it was. The house was exactly as described and the garden too. However we went to the bottom fence to find the embankment down to the sidings and loading facility for Brodsworth Colliery, a 1 million ton pit! I had taken a post with the NCB but I drew the line at having one of the biggest pits in Yorkshire at the bottom of the garden.
    Thanks to setter and MP. Hopefully the Lions will find the answer to the Boks protecting running lines & catchers. Last night’s ref. being South African seemed to accept the tactic as legitimate

  16. At first pass I thought this one was going to put up quite a fight. Started in the south west corner and worked my way round when it actually came together quite quickly. **/***I liked 6d and 18a but my runaway favourite is 18d. A great clue. Is it Giovanni? I wasn’t so sure. Thanks to all and greetings to Kath.

  17. Amazingly for me on a Thursday, I finished this unaided. Thanks to the setter for a really enjoyable puzzle and to MP for helping with a couple of answers I knew were right but I knew not why!

  18. A puzzle of two halves for me, the left was fine and enjoyable but the right hand side was a bit beyond me even with the hints. 6d for example I would never have got as the term for hits with the fists has probably not been used since 1890!
    I struggle with Giovanni puzzles these days. His always used to be very enjoyable as they were so well clued but this incarnation I find very difficult and not much fun.
    Thx for the much needed hints

    1. Brian, you obviously never read any comics as a lad, that term was used quite a bit. Or is it memory fade🤪

  19. A bit of a tricky puzzle today as this is supposed to be a Giovanni creation today. ***/*** for me today. Three not very common/obscure or unknown words to me today in 1a, 2d, 10a & 11a. That slowed things down considerably. Also found the parsing on some clues worthy of an ‘hmmm’ like 16a, 3d & 17d
    Did like 9a, 12a, 18a, 15d & 18d with winner 18d

    Thanks to setter (Giovanni??) and MP

  20. Well, well, well,well, four enjoyable, solvable puzzles in a row 😳 **/****. Favourites 9 & 18a and 15d 😃 Thanks to MP and to the Setter (Surely not the Don as I managed to complete it 🤔)

  21. A very friendly offering from Giovanni. I only needed a bit of electronic help with 2d, but in retrospect I feel it should be a word I know. Do you ever think you’ve never heard of a word and somehow a niggle at the back of your brain says you have? I didn’t remember that 12a can also be rum. I wondered how often 4d would be used, it seemed a bit strange but it is a word.
    I liked a lot but 15d amused, especially as it took ages for “pet” to sink in.
    Thank you Giovanni for the fun and M’pops for the hints and tips.

      1. And have another one after that! I do miss English ale, somehow “on tap” here is never the same.

        1. I did have another one Merusa and another one. It was so nice sitting in the sun here at Sutton Stop or Hawkesbury Junction that I forgot to go home. Saint Sharon is cooking a late dinner for me. Bless her. Potatoes Carrots Peas and Broad Beans from our garden to go with some Haddock (I think) we bought yesterday.

  22. I got excited when I found the word permanable at 3a. An alternative spelling of a middle English word meaning permanent or enduring which I could just about justify. I am sure the suggested answer is the right one but it made an interesting diversion. Thanks to all

    1. Curiously, my first thought was personable which, at a stretch, would just about work.

  23. The opposite of what Brian said! I used to really struggle with Giovanni but have found the last few alternate Thursdays relatively (all things being relative!) straightforward and very enjoyable. Maybe sitting in the warm Lancashire sunshine helps!?
    I liked 18d once I had parsed it!
    I see Cav has made it over the mountains- will he get win number 35?
    Thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops

  24. Steady if sometimes laboured solve. ***/*** for me. I had the same thoughts about the train set as you Miffypops – certainly not a children’s toy!

  25. Hurray,
    I did get six answers all ‘my ownself’ today.
    For the first time today I really do feel that I might one day will get there!!! Might be a long time but . . .
    Really miss crosswords and everyone on the blog and all of you,
    The crossword is part of the blog just as the other way – even I can remember that, vice – versa. Well, I hope . . .
    This is SOOOO so frustration

    1. How nice that you felt up to commenting today. We all miss you and hope so much that you can contribute regularly again to the blog in the not too distant future.

      1. Good to hear from you, Kath. I’ve seen the frustration first hand in my husband. He does the quick crossword every day and the GK at the weekend. Although four bouts of encephalitis have damaged the part of the brain that governs words and short-term memory, there has still been a lot of improvement. Word searches helped in the early days too. Keep up the good work.

    2. How lovely to “hear” you again Kath.
      Hopefully there is some power in our collective best wishes!

      1. Kath, you are sounding much better. You have made tremendous strides to do part of which is not an easy crossword and to be able to comment too. Definitely moving in the right direction. I can’t wait for another birthday bash!!

    3. So great to hear from you, Kath. Keep up the progress and take good care of yourself. Many regards from this side of the Pond!

    4. KATH! So wonderful to hear from you and to find you so upbeat. You will get there, Kath. Everyone is praying in their own way for your full recovery and return. As you said to me after my nasty chest infection, “ It takes time.” 🌹

    5. Oh, Kath, that is so exciting, you actually solved some and posted on the blog! You’ll be back on full time in two shakes of a duck’s tail. We send love!

    6. So great to hear from you Kath – press on regardless and for sure you will get there.

  26. I enjoyed this. It was not a walk over but doable. I spot Don twice in the top row so could this be a clue to the setter. My last one in was 15d. The poet also took me longer than she should. I had no trouble with 21s as we had factory by that name also known as the gun factory. I knew the meaning of the word with the I included too.The out and out winner for me was 18d and I have also circled 3 and 9a and 5 7 13 and 15d. Thank you Giovanni if we are right and of course the indefatigable MP.

    1. Why, thank you WW. I do regret not seeing you at my pub when you visited on one of the busiest days of the year. Obviously with it being so busy I had staffed up and was having nothing to do with the operational side of things. I think I sat in the same garden as you. Oh well we have retired now and loving it

      1. I know! I must have been shy. I did see who I now know to be St Sharon buzzing around. As at the time I didn’t know your real name I felt silly asking for Miffypops!

  27. Never heard of the spelling of 1a or the poet in 10a but got both. No other problems. If this was Giovanni that’s perhaps the first time I’ve been on wavelength. I really enjoyed this. Lots to like and favourite was 9a as it made me laugh. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  28. Fairly straightforward but great fun for me, though I was totally bypassed by the Doncaster reference and failed to parse 16a properly…

  29. Very late again but I agree that this was most enjoyable – again! A benign week? Thanks to the setter and the Drinker of Beer. Hurrahs for Kath.

  30. I was delighted to have completed this unaided, especially as Miffy had given it a *** rating ( or would that be a Big Dave rating). Just had to check my spelling of the poet was correct. I see others have rated it more of a ** ,but what do they know, I will just ignore them 🤪. Thanks to the setter and MP , I always read the hints just for the amusement provided.

  31. Sorry for this late posting but I just wanted to say well done Kath And hope you solve more and more clues each day until you are back to perfection

  32. Finished unaided with the exception of 2d which I had never heard of. Although I don’t know the Doncaster area, 18d was obvious and made me laugh so it joins 18a as COTD. Fairly difficult but very enjoyable, I have not yet read the comment but gather that Kath is doing well. Glad to hear that, and all very best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. Many thanks to setter and MP.

  33. Wondered if there was a second pun in the quick crossword … 28ac and 29ac “ready meals”? Thanks to setter and hinter for excellent work.

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