DT 29738 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29738

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29738

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone. I expect that today some solvers will, like me, be either dusting off or learning vocabulary used nowadays only in crosswordland. No complaints about that when the wordplay leads cleanly to the answer.

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    Check whether most suitable to go outside (6)
VERIFY:  A synonym of whether contained by (… to go outside) another word for "most suitable" 

4a    Bull and mare playing together in shelter (8)
UMBRELLA:  An anagram (playing together) of BULL MARE 

9a    Agent caught in attack returning to get plaster? (6)
GYPSUM:  A secret agent is inserted in attack intending to get one's valuables, and then that's all reversed (returning

10a   Learned English with crazy dude carrying whip (8)
EDUCATED:  The single letter for English with an anagram (crazy) of DUDE containing a whip with nine tails (that's also a creature with nine lives. I wonder if that's a just a coincidence?) 

12a   Back Moroccan perhaps to find space (4)
ROOM:  The reversal (back) of what a Moroccan defines by example (perhaps

13a   Lighter found in shed (5)
SPILL:  A thin strip of wood or paper for lighting a candle is also a verb that can mean shed 

14a   Actor claims to possess this necklace (4)
TORC:  The first two words of the clue are hiding (to possess) the answer. An interesting article about these necklaces is here 

17a   Northern town: one with a saint in charge of the church? (12)
ECCLESIASTIC:  Concatenate a northern town known for cakes, the Roman one, A from the clue, the abbreviation for saint, and the abbreviation for "in charge" 

20a   Assistant just seen with a couple of workers (9,3)
RIGHTHAND MAN:  Just or fair is followed by two synonyms of worker (I've corrected here the faulty enumeration shown on the Telegraph puzzles site last night) 

23a   A river inland, emptied and dry (4)
ARID:  Link together A from the clue, the map abbreviation for river, and the outer letters of (… emptied) INLAND

24a   Small, inferior track (5)
SPOOR:  The clothing abbreviation for small with inferior or below standard 

25a   Singer making a comeback in Scotland (4)
ALTO:  The answer is hidden reversed in (making a comeback in) the last word of the clue 

28a   Cooked lamb? None for this peer of the realm (8)
NOBLEMAN:  An anagram (cooked) of LAMB NONE 

29a   Reincarnate as a bird and just go! (4,2)
BEAT IT:  The answer split (2, 1, 3) might be read as an instruction to transform into a small songbird 

30a   It's given to deceive people (8)
DONATION:  Deceive or scam is followed by another word for people 

31a   Stewed or pickled? (6)
SOUSED:  A double definition.  Stewed is an informal synonym of the answer, while pickled is equivalent to it both informally and in the kitchen 



1d    Changes involving a good number of digressions (8)
VAGARIES:  Changes or modifies containing (involving) both A from the clue and the single letter for good 

2d    It's a disgrace, salesperson taking fish ... (8)
REPROACH:  A usual contraction for a type of salesperson is followed by a silvery freshwater fish 

3d    ... and poultry, we hear -- shameful! (4)
FOUL:  A homophone (we hear) of another word for poultry 

5d    Place of teaching: here CID holds mole (beaten up) (6,6)
MIDDLE SCHOOL:  An anagram (beaten up) of CID HOLDS MOLE 

6d    Little Richard finding this a strain? (4)
RICK:  A diminutive of Richard 

7d    Beast consuming books and medicinal liquid (6)
LOTION:  A prideful beast containing (consuming) a usual collection of religious books 

8d    Cite evidence to annex university with Church of England (6)
ADDUCE:  Glue together annex or incorporate, the single letter for university, and the abbreviation for the Church of England 

11d   Confused, I pair up thong and Joanna, maybe? (7,5)
UPRIGHT PIANO:  An anagram (confused) of I PAIR UP THONG. As we saw a few weeks ago, Joanna is rhyming slang for pianna 

15d   Material I mend badly (5)
DENIM:  An anagram (badly) of I MEND 

16d   Pal has no right to be such a nasty person (5)
FIEND:  A pal or mate minus the single letter for right (… has no right) 

18d   Rivals set a mule free (8)
EMULATES:  An anagram (free) of SET A MULE 

19d   Extra accepting Oscar for ace? Strange! (8)
UNWONTED:  In extra or left over replace the playing card abbreviation for ace with the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Oscar (accepting Oscar for ace) 

21d   Brown bear eats lady (6)
TANNED:  An informal name for a bear soft toy contains (eats) a female name   

22d   Large ape playing bingo with bottle top (6)
GIBBON:  An anagram (playing) of the first letter (top) of BOTTLE and BINGO 

26d   Touched  cloth (4)
FELT:  A straightforward double definition also seen last Tuesday 

27d   Superman? Give that woman nothing (4)
HERO:  A pronoun for "that woman" is followed by the letter indicating nothing. The ? indicates that the definition is by example 


Thanks to our compiler. My biggest smiles today were for 29a, 30a, and the quick pun. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  HEIR + GHEE + TAR = AIR GUITAR

100 comments on “DT 29738

  1. All in all I thought this a ***/*** test with 17a and 30a being my favourites and 17a just getting COTD. The north west corner proved my slowest and I’m not convinced in 1a that very = most suitable but that’s nit-picking really I suppose. Thanks to Mr K and the setter. Try the Toughie today as I only found that to be a **.

  2. Slightly trickier than the average Tuesday I thought with one or two less than obvious synonyms but enjoyable nevertheless.
    South East was the last to fall but did produce a very nice PDM with 29a…where I thought Mr K may have given us a bit of Michael Jackson featuring the late, great Eddie Van Halen.
    My ticks go to 17,29&30a plus 1&6d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the fun.

        1. I agree about the dancing, Jane. I know I march to a different drummer, but the song is just noise to me … please don’t beat me up!

  3. As usual I’m a day behind with the crossword but I just wanted to pop in and say thank you to whoever it was who mentioned the clue writing competition last week. It had never occurred to me to enter but after the discussion here thought I’d give it a bash. I got an honourable mention! I’m thrilled to bits.
    While I’m here I’d like to say hello to everyone who blogs regularly, I keep abreast albeit late, and thank you to our daily hinters and esteemed compilers.

    1. Well done! Just shows you. That’s at least 4 regulars on this blog who were mentioned this time. Not me, alas :-(

      1. Sorry to hear that, Jose but maybe “underling” will put you in there?

        1. Yes, hopefully. The monthly result, for FREEDOM, should be out next week. By the way, I did answer you comment from late last night earlier today.

          1. So you did, thanks, Jose. I don’t hold out much hope for my attempt at FREEDOM but you never know. Neither do I have any great hopes for my attempt at UNDERLING.

    2. Well done indeed – I have to warn you that it becomes quite addictive! It also gives you far more respect for our compilers who set entire puzzles week after week.

      1. Thank you Jane. I’m completely in awe of anyone who can set our daily puzzle, I’m still thinking about this weeks word, I fear the muse has deserted me already!

    3. Well done – I have a list of 7 blog regulars who made this week’s ‘list’ and there may be more names that I don’t recognise.

      1. Not knowing the proper names, quite rightly, of bloggers makes it impossible to know if anyone has been mentioned. Maybe someone could let us know how many members have made the list? Just a thought.

    4. Well done.
      I signed up but have yet to receive the puzzles bit so can’t give it a go!

      1. You’ve missed this week’s, LROK. The letter comes out on Mondays so your first will be next week.

  4. This was more difficult than most Tuesday puzzles and, like NAS, I was not impressed with the use of very as a synonym for most suitable in 1a. I found a few other over-stretched synonyms in other clues, although a few very clever clues were used like 30a with good misdirection, and 17a. All in all it was a mixed bag in terms of enjoyment (3*/2*) and I felt some clues were rather convoluted. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler for his/her efforts.

    1. Most is being used as an emphasiser, as in: I found the cabaret most/very entertaining.

  5. 2*/3.5*. This was good fun, and would have earned 4* for enjoyment but for 21d. 👎

    29a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. 21d I presume that you objected to the nebulous lady’s name.

      I wonder why you don’t find “Northern town” in 17a equally vague?

      Why just names?

  6. I had to step away for a while, having drawn blanks in the NW and SE at first, but when I returned, the pennies dropped clangingly fast. (Finally decided that ‘very’ works fine in 1a, as in ‘that very thing’= most suitable.) I thought this a much trickier Tuesday offering than our usual fare, and I ended up quite pleased with my slow-brained finish. I really liked 17a, 1a/1d, & 19d. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. **** / ****

    1. Ah! Now I see. The fog has lifted. Le môt juste. Of course…..thank you Robert

      Apologies to the setter for my earlier and probably continuing but hopefully slightly less dimness!

  7. The SE corner stopped me completing today’s grid. Two clues, 19d & 31a were left unfilled. I wouldn’t have got those no matter how much longer I banged my head against the wall.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Well at least it’s not just me Malcolm. Raced through in under ** time other than 19d where the 3rd & 5th letter elude me (assuming I have the first & penultimate correct). Bunged in uncosted in exasperation knowing it was unlikely to be correct. The hint only confirmed what I knew I was looking for but still haven’t got it. Resisting the temptation to hit reveal….

      1. Me too on 19d, I assume it must mean strange, but not a word I would associate with it. I gave up and pressed the reveal button, life’s too short🤪

    2. Me too exactly the same – ripping through until these two clues stopped me in my tracks – worried away at 19d and 21d until I got the second but needed Big Dave for the first which I had never heard of. But very enjoyable altogether.

    3. Struggled with 19d too. Last one in. Resorted to electronic help but couldn’t justify it until I read Mr K’s very much needed hints this evening. Very tricky today I felt. Thank you to all concerned.

      1. All good too apart from 19d. Done this today and wonder if I would have got 19d if I had persisted through the alphabet. I was uncosted too, thinking of an extra in a film being uncasted.

  8. Just right in terms of challenge. East slower going than West. Agree with StephenL and Chriscross re there being one or two questionable synonyms. Last to go in was 30a which, as is often the case, then became my Fav. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  9. A bit of a struggle for me today. ****/** some very good clues and some less so. One of those puzzles where I spent longer working out the why of the answer than the answer itself. I do take your point, Stephen L, about 1a but that and “mug” for attack in 9a raised an eyebrow from me! If I had to pick a favourite, it would be 29a because it made me smile. Thanks to all.

  10. Just the two letters either side of the letter O in 19 down prevented me from finishing today. Even after a trawl through the alphabet I couldn’t see an answer so had to wait until now to see it. Thank you Mr Kitty. Thanks also to today’s setter for a good fun puzzle. A little tip for those of you ever thinking of listening to a Michael Jackson track. Put Prince on your player instead.

  11. Top class entertainment this morning with a smattering of testing clues and a real cracker for my COTD, 29a. Many thanks to both Misters involved in today’s production.

    1. Thanks for your comments everyone. Most of you liked 29A: it was fun for me to write…(sorry for late response; but I’m on my hols this week!)

  12. Very enjoyable, it all came together quite nicely.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  13. Thought this was something of an oddity and it certainly included a few strange surface reads – 5d for example.
    Last to fall here was the 1a/d combo and my ticks went to 17,29&30a.

    Thanks to our setter – would love to know who you are – and thanks to Mr K for the splendid review.

  14. A mildish Tuesday puzzle with good clues providing enjoyment enough. Fav 19d. 2*/3*

    * I walked into our (large) village earlier to do a bit of shopping. Afterwards, I decided to sit on the bench on the corner to rest my foot and watch the world go by for a while. Across the road is a large Chinese restaurant which occupies a double section at the end of a long row of shops, in a prime central position. It has 2 big red signs with gold-coloured lettering. Above the main entrance, on the gable end, the sign reads: G DEN DRAGON. Above the side windows is: OLDEN RAGON. It’s been like that for years! I wonder if their fastidiousness with the signage is reflected by that in their kitchen? I think I’ll give in a miss …

  15. Not quite as much fun as recent Tuesday puzzles and a little more tricky – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 24a, 30a, and 11d – and the winner is 11d. It is not often I pick an anagram as the favourite but 11d caused a big smile.

    Hands up all those who knew that 3a in the Quickie, the middle word of the pun, is ‘clarified butter’ without, like me, having to resort to some form of assistance.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. Yes, I knew the clarified butter, but only from solving crosswords – seen it many times over the years in both cryptic and quick puzzles. A Hindi word, I believe.

    2. Dare I say most of the ladies would know it?! (Just as I do not know what a sprocket is)

      1. Now there you are wrong, I do know what a sprocket is, and for me clarified butter is just that 😊.

        1. I thought it was butter that had been checked to make sure it was real butter 🤔

        1. I believe it is some form of spanner – I have whole set of them collecting dust somewhere.

              1. That’s easy, Merusa – it engages with the thingy that drives the whatsit that propels the doodah!

                1. Aha obviously a lady who knows her stuff, or has heard that 2nd world war song😂

  16. This was trickier than usual for a Tuesday I thought. I was completely stumped by 17a because I was convinced it was a northern town ending in “minster” because it fitted the checkers. I liked 31a but my COTD is 9a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge. Thanks all to Mr. K. for the hints and kitties.

  17. A good challenge of a puzzle today, taken into 2.5* time by a couple of clues in the NW and SE (19d my LOI). Plenty of smiles and thought most of the surfaces were reasonably smooth, with Hon. Mentions to 17a (great red herring), 23a, 1d and 21d (big smile). COTD for me was 29a, by a country mile – laughed out loud when that penny dropped!

    Enjoyment factor significantly reduced by the high number of anagrams: imaginative though some were, at 1 in 4 of the clues I felt they were repetitive and limited the scope for including other clue types.

    2.5* / 2*

    Many thanks to the mystery Setter and to Mr K

  18. DNF despite the hint for 19d & searching for synonyms of strange. Not a word I was familiar with. Another vote for 19a as pick of the bunch with 17&31a on the podium.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.

  19. Very enjoyable workout after a visit to the dentist in Trumpington. I love the cat umbrella, what a hoot! I liked 30a as it was a great piece of misdirection and I spent some time trying to find a backwards singer who made something Scottish – I didn’t spot the lurker. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. Kitty. It is dull and miserable and oh how we need rain. Talking to my friend in Ealing and they had a deluge on Sunday.

  20. Ditto the DNF re 19d otherwise very good challenge. I might have hinted the Jackson song towards one acting stupidly but regarding the massively talented one as Mrs 2P says ‘God gives but he also takes away’, you can’t knock his music.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  21. Exactly the same experience as Robert, except the pennies dropped very slowly & I would only give *** for fun. Needed e help for 19d
    Tough for a Tuesday with, as MK said some words only used in crosswordland.
    COTD was 30a.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  22. Unwonted was a very unsuitable word for 2021 and the puzzle wore the air of trying too hard to be gnomic. A very unsatisfactory Tuesday puzzle.

  23. Bottom half was ok but not so much the tricky top.
    Little fun, no outstanding clues.
    Thx for the hints

  24. On a rare day off, this was finished sitting in the sunshine, despite dire warnings of rain which we’ve yet to receive very much of in South Wales. I needed e-assistance for 19a having stared at it for ages. I knew how to parse it but the right words didn’t come to me.
    Still, I’ve had a lovely day. Mr NJ and I walked into town, risking aforementioned rain, for a cup of coffee. We ended up visiting shops, which still seem such a novelty, and stayed so long we needed an ice cream to walk back home.
    Thank you to setter and Mr K.

  25. 19d my last one in and was a complete guess as I have never heard of the word. Not particularly enjoyable puzzle today but my mind was on the Art Society Committee Meeting this morning followed by lunch. My pulled pork with salad was in such a horrid sweet sauce I left most of it. Hey ho. Heard at the meeting that Galton Blackiston of Morston Hall has left his long suffering wife so I guess they will lose their Michelin Stars. Rather shocked and will probably stuff up our AS Christmas Lunch which we hold there.

    1. I have a long suffering wife. I’m not leaving her though. It would take far too long to train up a new one

      1. Do you recognise my picture MP? I will eventually change it to our iconic windmill but Its on a video on my phone and I don’t know how to extract just one photo so I will have to go and take another. I hope St Sharon doesn’t see your unkind comment!!

        1. Yes I recognise your photo. I think my comment is the kindest that I could say as it reflects the efforts made by both parties to make a perfect partnership.

          1. A sign outside our home (given by a friend) reads ‘A beautiful lady and a grumpy old man live here’! I’m frequently asked which one am I? Cheek! Agree, partnership is the name of the game😀

  26. I enjoyed this, very doable except for the SE corner where I had two unsolved, the infamous 19d and “be a tit”. There was a lot that amused, 30a tickled and so did 31a, but fave was 17a, totally off piste but all I could think of was “what time is it, Eccles?”
    I’d like to know who this setter is, hope she pops her head up and let’s us know. Thanks for helping me to complete this Mr. K, I thought it was a super offering.

  27. Having spent three weeks watching the Tour de France highlights, my first thought for the quickie pun was the Colombian rider Sergio Higuita – it just about works!

  28. Another DNF , but enjoyed the ones I could do. No complaints from me about the setters, as far as I’m concerned they are all geniuses to churn out these puzzles week after week👏👏. Thanks also to Mr K for explaining the ones I couldn’t fathom.

  29. I must have been on wavelength today, as I found this easier (not easy) than usual for a Tuesday. Only had problems with 14a and 19d, and did waste time looking for a 12 letter town ending in minster for 17a. Had to leave for dental cleaning and finished when I got back. COTD goes to 29a just for the smile it raised. Oh dear, she advised I need a replacement cantilever bridge, which is not surprising as the existing one was installed in 1987. Let’s just say the cost is significantly more now, even with some help from insurance. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  30. Found this a very though Tuesday puzzle. Currently struggling in the NW so at the present DNF. Will revisit later. Given that, my rating today *****/***
    Clues solved that I like are 23a, 29a, 31a
    New or very obscure words, (as stated in the blog), included 14a, 24a, 8d & 19d and likely more in the unsolved area.
    Not a favourite puzzle for me.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  31. Trickier than the toughie but I got there so I’m happy. Favourite was 17a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  32. I got destroyed in this one. The middle was fine and i git the long ones straight away but even on the anagrams i struggled to get going. Thanks for the clues, and answers, lots in here i would not have got in a million years. Much garder than recent tuesdays for me. Never mind will go again tomorrow!😎

  33. 19d completely defeated me, so thanks to Mr. K for the help. Other than that this was doable and enjoyable*** so thanks to setter. COTD 17a – that Northern town was not a piece of cake!

  34. Surprised by many of these comments as 19d is a very familiar word to me. Edward Thomas’s Adlestrop contains a version of it for a start. I struggled to fill the top left as ‘very’ did not spring to mind. Liked 30a. Charity giving will never be the same! Hope these comments don’t make me a 29a!

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