DT 29740 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29740


Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29740

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from my home in Barrel. Giovanni has set a rather tough puzzle for our delectation today. I teased this one out bit by bit often relying on words that fit in with the checking letters to complete the grid and working out the whys and wherefores afterwards. Before iPads arrived when solving with a pen I rarely entered the last answer considering it to be a waste of ink. In my pub this regularly led to customers “finishing” the puzzle for me. If it made them happy then so be it


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Require return of label in the middle of muddle (6)
DEMAND: The label that our parents decided we should bear for the rest of our lives is reversed and set In between the middle two letters of the word muddle. What a nice clever clue to set the ball rolling

5a        Fresh alert’s given with ship lacking traditional means of navigation? (8)
STARLESS: An anagram (fresh) of alerts is followed by a two-letter abbreviation for a steamship

9a        Tiresome divas cavorting in a scary film? (8,5)
DISASTER MOVIE: Anagram (cavorting) of TIRESOME DIVAS. Are all divas tiresome? I suppose not

10a      Produce tinkle to interrupt fight (5,3)
BRING OUT: A synonym of the word tinkle (like a bell) sits inside a description of a fight such as a boxing match perhaps

11a      In a flap we had knocked back drink (6)
DEWLAP:  A fold of loose skin hanging from the neck or throat of an animal, especially that present in many cattle may be found by reversing a contraction of the words we had and adding a verb meaning to drink as a cat might from a bowl

12a      It’s the fellow I am scared of, not a young female (6)
HEIFER: Split 2,1,4 begin with a rather dated way way of describing your thoughts about a male that you might be scared of (nobody in the world talks like this). Remove the letter A from this phrase to leave (in farming) a cow that has not borne a calf, or has borne only one calf. I suppose the words ‘a young female’ just about fit the bill

14a      Abiding outside, with sign of something wrong inside and outside (8)
EXTERNAL: Begin with a word meaning abiding. Not merely abiding in the short term but abiding until the end of time and then abiding some more. Put the mark a teacher might use to indicate an incorrect answer inside this word

16a      Groups associated with US general left trapped (8)
CLUSTERS: Our knowledge of American generals is limited to something like two or three. So choose one of these two or three generals (not Lee or Patton). Add the letter that makes things plural and insert the abbreviation for left

19a      Whispering when there’s bad result (6)
RUSTLE: Anagram (bad) of RESULT

21a      Confirm an international match is to be broadcast (6)
ATTEST: Split 2,4 how one might suggest that they were present at an international sporting event

23a      Reporter snares PM on journey (8)
PRESSMAN: Anagram (on journey) of SNARES PM

25a      Tick when something is seen to be correct? (6,2,5)
MOMENT OF TRUTH: The tick here is a brief period of time. The whole clue is a cryptic definition of the exact time that reality is realised

26a      Like tree in plot outside agricultural establishment (8)
BRANCHED: The plot in this clue might be in your garden. It may contain vegetables or roses but in this clue in contains a large farm where cattle or other animals are bred

27a      Look at feature of Yorkshire garden (6)
REGARD: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words feature of 


2d        Back worst runner at ‘Aydock? (7)
ENDORSE: Aydock is how a cockney might pronounce Haydock which is a racecourse somewhere north of Watford Gap. This suggests that the  letter H needs to be removed from the words that are suggested by the clue. The worst runner at Haydock Park would be the end ‘orse or the horse at the end of the pack. I apologise for giving the answer within the hint but hopefully that will help newer solvers to understand the cockney device which indicates the need to drop the letter H

3d        Crime of a king wanting male heir? (5)
ARSON: A straightforward three part charade. Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the Latin abbreviation for Rex or king. Add a male heir or offspring

4d        In conversation daughter is having to use bad language about love (9)
DISCOURSE: The abbreviation for daughter is followed by the word is from the clue. Add an offensive word into which you need to insert the letter that represents the zero or love score in tennis

5d        Pony I kept in sanctuary, having lost its tail (7)
SHELTIE: The letter I sits inside a place giving temporary protection from bad weather or danger minus its last letter

6d        Having members   carrying weapons (5)
ARMED: These members are parts of the body known as limbs. Need I say more?

7d        Energetic folk? They can be shocking (4,5)
LIVE WIRES: A double definition. The second referring to electrical cables and the first referring to energetic and unpredictable people

8d        Man eats irregularly — fellow of note going from bar to bar (7)
SMETANA: Anagram (irregularly) of MAN EATS. The answer is a Czech composer

13d      The female in company dealt with an offshore worker (9)
FISHERMAN:  The feminine pronoun sits inside another name for a company or business concern and is followed by the word an which appears in the clue

15d      One causes hurt, getting soldiers trapped between two hills (9)
TORMENTOR: Two rocky outcrops surround a common term for soldiers

17d      This writer’s restricted by following yesteryear’s bishop (7)
LATIMER: A contraction of the words I am (this writers) sits inside a term meaning in a while or following

18d      Dad’s climbing a lot of trees to find what lies below bark (7)
SAPWOOD: An endearing term for our fathers sis followed by a large area of land covered in trees. Smaller than a forest. Bigger than a copse

20d      Oxford material? (7)
LEATHER: Oxfords here are shoes. The material is what those shoes might normally be made from

22d      Not all cricket enthusiasts observed the last wicket to fall? (5)
TENTH: When all else fails look for a lurker. The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words not all

24d      A Parisian escaping from disabling device is wounded (5)
STUNG: a device 4,3 used to immobilize an attacker without causing serious injury, typically by administering an electric shock needs the second instance of the French word for the removing 


Quickie Pun   Wrist + Hoard = Restored 


81 comments on “DT 29740

  1. A tricky puzzle, which needed a lot of thought before answers started to fall into place (3*/4*). Like MP, I reverse engineered a lot of the parsing, after guessing the answers. There were too many great clues to mention them all but I liked 16a and 17d, both of which needed GK and 18d, a word I’d al.ost forgotten and the cryptic definition in 25a. My COTD was the hilarious 2d. Many thanks to MP for the hints and to Giovanni for an absorbing puzzle.

  2. I’m afraid I have to register a DNF today. 16a and 17d were the culprits. I was desperately trying to think of any bishop called Aftimer.

    Thanks to the setter and MP.

  3. A typical Giovanni puzzle, overall very enjoyable with a couple of obscurities (fairly clued and derivable from wordplay and checkers) thrown in to ruffle the odd feather.
    Slow start, but picked up speed to finish with a flourish.
    I liked several including 16&26a plus 2 (chestnut!)3&4d&7d but gold medal goes to 25a
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for the fun.

  4. I was lucky enough to know the slight GK required for 5d, 8d and 11a so was just able to creep in in ** time for this **** enjoyable production. The amusing 2d was my COTD although I thought 12a a close second. Thanks to Miffypops and to the setter G if it was he for a super puzzle

  5. Agree with Chriscross that this was a tricky puzzle today with a wide variety of excellent clues, particularly the charades,.
    2d brought a smile and I liked the surface of 14a-my favourite with a mention for the misleading 8d.and 12a
    Remembered the 17d bishop from somewhere.
    Going for a ***/****,Thanks to MP for the picks and Giovanni for a well thought out crossword.

  6. A good puzzle but I cannot accept 5d (even though I entered the correct answer). A Sheltie is a breed of dog and not a pony.

      1. I was going to say that a Sheltie is also a dog. A Canadian acquaintance of mine had one. I won’t tell you how she stopped his incessant yapping. We do not want another 9a!

        1. Having lived for a while in Shetland I can definitely say that they do not call their ponies sheltie.

          1. Thank you Ora for the confirmation of what I know from friends who kept and reared Shetland Ponies. The shortest they get abbreviated to is ‘Shetlands’.
            Not for the first time, the (apparently) sainted BRB is wrong.

            1. B. This sounds like another of those regional things where everybody has a different take, depending where they hail from. I have relatives who have owned various horses since the 50s, including Shetland ponies. They, and all others round here, have always called them Shelties. I have also sometimes heard Shetties. This from the SOED, which agrees with the BRB:

              Sheltie, also Shelty:
              1. A Shetlander.
              2. A Shetland pony; now, any small pony.
              3. A Shetland sheepdog.

              Don’t shoot the messenger …

              1. I wouldn’t call a Shetland Islander a Sheltie to their face.

                Just warning you all.

          2. Quite agree. I could see that Sheltie was the required answer, but only knew that as a type of dog. Nothing I found gave it as another name for a Shetland pony.

  7. Not sure why, as it was perfectly clued, but can’t say this one did a great deal for me. Certainly not as much fun as a Thursday Ray T. Fortunately no problems with any of the GK though only knew 5d as a breed of dog & have never heard of the pony abbreviated this way. 25a was my pick also & the 2d old chestnut brought back unhappy memories of a substantial losing wager on a Henry Cecil filly in the Lancashire Oaks many years ago.
    Thanks to Giovanni & MP

  8. I took some time to tease this out. 16a I thought the general was going to be Lee so that held me up. I also thought a sheltie was a breed of dog. Great puzzle though. I hope my new picture appears today of Cley Windmill. For some reason my phone insisted on counting down from 10 before it took the photo and it was very windy. Then I was made to crop it so half the windmill is missing. We shall see what happens when I press post comment! Thanks to Giovani and MP.

      1. It may be only half a windmill but the result is a very pleasing and artistic picture!

    1. I’ve been inside the Cley windmill many years ago. We need to organise a trip to your neck of the woods to stock up on Whin Hill cider from the stables at Wells-Next-the-Sea

  9. How lucky that I have been reading Alison Weir’s novels about Tudor queens so I knew about poor 17d condemned by Bloody Mary. Religion? Who’d have it!
    How unkind of you to torment Andrew Lloyd Webber with the unfortunate movie of his enjoyable stage show. After all, i reckon we’re all living in a 9a don’t you?
    Any news of our poorly contributors?

      1. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately and wondering how she’s doing, particularly on a Thursday. C’mon Kath, get better soon, we all miss you bunches. P

  10. A good puzzle from G, just a tad more difficult than the norm and an enjoyable solve. Fav: 17d, a bit obscure GK but gettable with a little effort. 3.5*, 4*.

      1. Hoofit was last spotted in today’s Fifteensquared blog for the Guardian cryptic by Vlad.

  11. Ouch – that was a tough solve, but I got there in the end. Most enjoyable. Lots of clues to like. 2d was very amusing. My last one in was 11a. I think I’ll make that my favourite.

  12. Great puzzle, plenty of enjoyment, with some head-scratching required which slowed things down to 3* time. Spent ages trying to find a way to parse Ulysses within 16a, until the PD’d, indeed there were a good few PDMs, including 25a. Was looking for irregular letters in 8d rather than an anagram, and so it bugged me that I coud not get ‘met’ (man eat) to sit in “sana” legitimately!

    Super range of clues and delighted to note only 5 (I believe) anagrams in 28 clues. Could have put almost all the down clues on the podium, but to be very slightly more discerning my HMs were 12a, 25a, 7d, 13d and 20d, with COTD shared by 2d and 17d.

    3* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment, and to MP for the review.

  13. Very tricky. Needed Miff’s help to get me going again after coming to a halt at about half way.

    A couple of questions from yesterday along the lines of ‘Who looks after Lola when you are gallivanting out to luncheon?’
    Fear not – she loves her new cat door and this gives her total independence. She always has plenty of food and water (water indoors and outdoors). We are never away for more than a few hours, and there are always family members or lovely neighbours nearby to step in at any time if needed.
    Lola is bombarded with nothing but love.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Barclay James Harvest – Everyone Is Everybody Else.

    Thanks to Giovanni and The Miff.

      1. I bought their eponymous first album in 1970 – no idea where that’s got to. I’ve never forgotten Mocking Bird, a track from their second LP.

    1. When I first heard BJH, I thought it was a new record by The Moody Blues. Imagine my surprise when I heard it was “A Poor Man’s Moody Blues” by Barclay James Harvest.

      1. I’ve just been looking at a list of BJH singles and had to do a severe double take at Brother Thrush – first read it as Brothel Thrush! :-)

        1. *A nasty infection you’d have much difficulty explaining away to whoever was curious.

    2. That’s the big advantage of cat vs dog, you don’t have to stay home to look after them. We love both, but cats are fiercely independent animals and will miss you for sure, they will not give you a guilt trip when you leave and on your return.

    3. Oh, Terence, I opened a can of worms there! My remark about who’s taking care of Lola was a bit tongue in cheek! My cats have always been “as you were” when I’m not here. When I was in hospital Phoebe handled it just fine, but when Sadie went on vacation she went into decline and never recovered. Alas, I lost her, but she was 18 years old. However, I think she would have been fine over the length of a luncheon date!

      1. Don’t worry, Merusa! I knew it was a light-hearted question. I just thought I would answer it anyway!

      2. Didn’t realise that you’d lost Sadie, Merusa, that must have been a really bitter blow. Hopefully you’re able to remember all the good times you had together over those 18 years and shut the tears away in a little corner of your mind.

        1. No, not Sadie, that would have been a disaster. It was Phoebe cat, originally found as a wee kitten in a church 18 years ago. She always slept with me and slept on my bed during the day. She adored Sadie and did well at first when I was in hospital, but the person staying with them here couldn’t do it any more and so Sadie was taken home with a friend. I think it was losing Sadie that sent her into extreme pining mode, she never did recover and died about two days after I came home. I miss her, I only have one cat left who has a PhD in lizard catching.

  14. Terrific fun this morning and if Giovanni is the setter, one of his best. Thank you MP for all the entertaining commentary – 2d as my favourite!

  15. One of those crosswords that started off feeling like it was very tricky but in the end it wasn’t particularly. I see I’m not the only one to think that 5d was more of a dog than a pony

    Thanks to Giovanni (if he) and to MP

  16. A lot going on in there and good fun. Needed all my hints to maintain momentum. Wed / Thurs really are the best puzzle days imo. Came here to find out how my new word for ‘sour cream’ fits into the mix at 8d, but it doesn’t.

  17. I got stuck in the SW and couldn’t find my way clear to leave it until I found an electronic exit. Giovanni always seems to paint me into a corner, alas. But I did enjoy most of the puzzle, with 1a, 2d, 12a, and 25a my favourites. Thanks to MP and Giovanni. **** / ***

  18. Tricky start for us – & got very few on first pass.
    Just wasn’t on the right wavelength today at all. 3*/3*
    All I can say is blame it on the weather – it’s hot & humid her on the Costa Calida today.
    Thanks though to Miffy and Giovanni

  19. This one was tough but I managed all of it except for 16a, which I needed the hint for. I thought I would need more than one hint after only getting two on the first pass – 9a and 24d. The rest fell slowly but it was an enjoyable tussle, nevertheless. I didn’t know 18d but it was quite gettable from the wordplay. My favourite clue and my COTD is 12a, which I thought was a belter of a clue.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to MP for the hints.

    1. I had to refer to MP for 16a and even then had to do a reveal. I’d got it into my head that it should be Ulysses having a feeling that was the Christian name of one of the generals (Grant?) anyway I was way off beam.

      1. I had exactly the same thought, DG and I spent ages trying to spell “Ulysses” differently. Completely forgot about Custer and I’ve read “ Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”. Not that Custer was at Wounded Knee, he was killed at Little Big Horn, but he is mentioned a great deal in the book.

  20. I agree with the general consensus that this was at the harder end of the setting spectrum. It certainly took me far longer than I would normally spend on a back pager, but it was well worth the effort and was a genuine challenge. 12 and 16a share my top spot this afternoon.

    Thanks to The Don and MP.

  21. Found this a rather strange puzzle, particularly 5d for reasons many mentioned above, 9a which I have never seen as a movie classification, and 25a which didn’t seem to perfectly fit the clue. Not sure what it has to do with tick. But then I am never on the same wavelength as Giovanni, so just grateful for how much I did manage without help. Thanks also to Miffypops for providing guidance and inevitable wisdom. It’s Thursday, so thinking of Kath as ever and hoping she is continuing to recover. Hope she does know that we are all rooting for her.

    1. Re 25a
      The tick in this case is a moment (as I’ll be with you in a tick). The setter wants to mislead us into thinking the tick refers to a mark a teacher would give for something that is correct. A very clever clue.

  22. Stone me, this is a tough crossword which is beyond my meagre solving abilities. For me this has not been a good week for back pagers most of which would not have disgraced a Toughie.
    Zero fun.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I’ve now had time to go through the excellent hints. I used to be Giovannis greatest fan but I now absolutely dread his puzzles. Is this a different setter under the same name. His clues used to be so elegant, they are now just unintelligible.
      Please DT no more of these for back pagers, save them for the Toughie.

  23. Definitely a Giovanni at his tough end for me. Still have not finished the SW, but so far 3.5*/**** for me. Favourites include 1a, 21a, 25a, 7d & 5d (I have one but not the pony …) so 5d is the winner today with 25a runner up.
    New word for me in 11a & the answer in 8d unknown to me.
    Will revisit this later in the day and attempt to get the last 5 clues solved

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP for the hints of which I have needed today

  24. I found it difficult too so I was grateful for the hints. Maybe Monday will be an easier week.
    Although I realise that we need a range of difficulties to keep everyone happy. But I always love the challenge. So thankyou everyone.

  25. Oops, way beyond my ken, maybe half or more unsolved. I’ve still got the Monday bonus to do, so I’m not an unhappy camper. Of those I did solve, fave was 2d, but 11a also stood out. I usually do better with Giovanni, just not on wavelength today.
    Thank you sir for your offering, and huge appreciation to M’pops for unravelling that lot.

  26. Enjoyed the bits i could do, but found the bishop, flap, pony, and shoes at the more obscure ( really tough). 1a and 2d were my favourites. Many thanks for clues and answers, and to the setter for the challenge.

  27. Very tough for me too, despite knowing the Bishop and the composer. Total failure on the Sheltie front (see above discussion) and the American General……couldn’t get Ike or Patton or Pershing in anywhere .
    I did, however, rather like 2d having backed a few in my time.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  28. Managed to dredge the ‘obscure’ GK from the cellars and outhouses of my mind palace, so rather pleased to have finished, albeit in **** time. 2d raised a smile, so will select as favourite. Thanks to Giovanni, MP and fellow bloggers.

  29. Way to hard for me, I can’t even see my way into this one. Fortunately I have the Chalicea toughie from earlier in the week. Thanks for the hints MP, I might have a look at the answers later.

  30. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. I thought that this should’ve been a Toughie. In the end it wore me down. Needed the hints for 1,16,25a and 2&8d, and to parse 12&14a. Had never heard of 5&17d, but got them from the wordplay. Favourite was 5a. Was 5* /3* for me.

  31. Well we got there in the end but 16a stumped us. It didn’t help that we got dressing from the avocado dropped on the page. OK with the Bish and I just accepted the Sheltie as what it had to be. 13a needed a bit of working out. Favourites were 12a and 2d of course. Many thanks to Miffypops and to
    Giovanni and love to Kath.

    1. Salad dressing on the crossword is becoming a bit of a thing in your household.
      It tends to be coffee in ours.

  32. Another DNF with 3 defeating me.

    No surprise that I didn’t get 8d, an obscure music person.

    As for 11a, I personally thought this was an awful clue.

    Thanks to all.

  33. Oh dear, Giovanni used to be my favourite setter but this completely floored me and I sadly threw in the towel. Perhaps it was as a result of a day full of stressful medical appointments but I was completely off wavelength. Thanks anyway DG and also MP whose hints I didn’t broach.

  34. I finished this some time ago with help but it was harder than the toughie. I think I’ll leave it there. Thanks to all.

  35. Well glad to see I’m in good company today, as like many others I did not finish, but then again that’s a common occurrence for me😊. Enjoyed the workout and the hints so thanks to all.

    PS. I did know the Sheltie as I’d heard it before, so I’m in the ok camp with that.

  36. Finished the E fairly quickly on the first pass, but the W was very slow and I almost gave up.However finished unaided in the end, although I am going to look at the hints for help with some of the parsing. This was a great selection of clues but perhaps 25a is COTD. Thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment, even though it was hard work, and to MP for the hints which I will now look at.

  37. 4*/4*…..
    liked 9A “Tiresome divas cavorting in a scary film? (8,5)” …..
    also liked the picture in MP’s hint to 6D.

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