DT 29744 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29744

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29744

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  I found much to like in today's fine puzzle, so I have bumped the enjoyment rating up to a star above average. There's nothing obscure or convoluted in the clueing, with most of the challenge coming from excellent misdirection and skilfully disguised definitions. I would very much like to know who created a puzzle this entertaining. So if our compiler is reading, perhaps they could post a comment below? 

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    Typical Conservative I caught following girl (7)
CLASSIC:  Link together the single letter for Conservative, another word for girl, I from the clue, and the cricket abbreviation for caught 

5a    Finish cooking mice for native (7)
ENDEMIC:  Finish or complete with an anagram (cooking) of MICE 

9a    Boss first to leave plant (5)
ASTER:  A lord or owner or boss minus his first letter (first to leave

10a   Crossword compiler might need this work out -- one's dumpy (9)
PSEUDONYM:  An anagram (work out) of ONE'S DUMPY. Perhaps today's compiler could reveal their 10a?

Paul is an example of a 10a

11a   Get rid of loads here? (10)
SCRAPHEAPS:  A cryptic definition of places where loads of useless stuff might end up 

12a   Melody, a flipping melody (4)
ARIA:  A from the clue with the reversal (flipping) of a melody or tune 

14a   Foolish doctor loved clinic outside Spain (3-9)
ILL-CONCEIVED:  An anagram (doctor) of LOVED CLINIC containing (outside) the IVR code for Spain 

18a   At sea, turn and row boat, catching one fish (7,5)
RAINBOW TROUT:  An anagram (at sea) of TURN ROW BOAT containing (catching) the Roman one. In the middle of solving this puzzle I dashed down to the end of my road with a camera to take the photo below just after a thunderstorm had passed through   

21a   The woman had to abandon hut (4)
SHED:  A contraction meaning "the woman had" 

22a   One classification including artist, regularly annoying (10)
IRRITATING:  The Roman one is followed by a classification or assessment containing (including) alternate letters (regularly) of ARTIST 

25a   Soldier on exercises runs hard (9)
PERSEVERE:  Assemble the usual abbreviated exercises, the cricket abbreviation for runs, and hard or strict 

26a   1970s music, say, is constant in party (5)
DISCO:  IS from the clue and the letter representing a mathematical constant are inserted together in a usual synonym of party 

27a   Source of songs, perhaps -- river birds (7)
DEEJAYS:  A river in NE Scotland or in Wales with some boldly coloured birds of the crow family 

The bird in question

28a   Demonstrate capturing fine badger (7)
PROVOKE:  Demonstrate or verify containing (capturing) fine or reasonable 



1d    Vulgar programme on the radio (6)
COARSE:  A homophone (on the radio) of a programme or syllabus 

2d    Climbing volunteers wear out clothing (6)
ATTIRE:  The reversal (climbing, in a down clue) of some usual volunteer soldiers is followed by a verb meaning "wear out" 

3d    Uniform and suit -- everything's taken off here (5,5)
STRIP CLUBS:  A football player's uniform with one of the suits in a pack of cards 

4d    Fuzz on bottom of the brush (5)
COPSE:  The slang meaning of fuzz followed by the last letter of (bottom of) THE 

5d    Surprise  drink in the morning (3-6)
EYE-OPENER:  A double definition. According to all the major dictionaries except the BRB, the second is informal US usage, although I've never encountered it here

6d    Blokes dismissing European failures (4)
DUDS:  An informal (American) word for blokes or men minus the single letter for European (dismissing European)

7d    Move gran around tree (8)
MANGROVE:  An anagram (around) of MOVE GRAN 

8d    Give orders to ordinary Royal Marine (8)
COMMANDO:  A verb meaning "give orders to" with the single letter for ordinary

Sharon Stone went 8d in "Basic Instinct"

13d   Energy to stand and make an exit (3-2-3-2)
GET-UP-AND-GO:  Join together "to stand", AND from the clue, and "make an exit"

15d   Colleagues -- excellent people -- swallowing old whiskey (2-7)
CO-WORKERS:  An informal (British) word for some excellent people containing (swallowing) both the single letter for old and the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by whiskey 

16d   Temporary accommodation cold and wild -- father departs (8)
CRASHPAD:  Concatenate the single letter for cold, wild or lacking in caution, an informal word for father, and the single letter timetable abbreviation for departs 

17d   Long street missing both ends, where one may find cones (4,4)
PINE TREE:  Ache or long with STREET missing both end characters 

19d   France is protecting a company's disaster (6)
FIASCO:  The IVR code for France with IS from the clue containing (protecting) A from the clue, all followed by an abbreviation for company 

20d   Fail to notice some hanger-on giving up (6)
IGNORE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (some … up, in a down clue) of the remainder of the clue 

23d   Freeze pleasant drink, removing lids (3,2)
ICE UP:  Synonyms of pleasant and drink, both minus their first letters (removing lids

24d   Fine time to arrive for food! (4)
FETA:  The pencil abbreviation for fine with an abbreviation for the time you expect to arrive 


Thank you setter!  On my list of highly enjoyable clues today are 10a, 12a, 21a, 25a, 28a, 3d, and 4d. I also thought that the quick pun was great. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  SON + EON + SHARE = SONNY & CHER

108 comments on “DT 29744

  1. I didn’t think I was going to finish this because I had very few solved after the first pass. In fact, I didn’t finish unaided. I needed the electrons for 27a. I knew the first part of the answer but simply could not get the second part. Maybe that is because I never use the full word preferring instead to use the initials. I hesitated to put down the answer to 3d for quite a while because the clue seemed to indicate a singular answer was required.

    There were plenty of great clues such as 10a, 11a and 19d but my COTD is 5d.

    Many thanks to the setter for a great puzzle and to Mr. K. for the hints. Fabulous picture illustrating 18a.

    1. I see another honourable mention for you Steve in this clue writing malarkey. Did you today’s letters? Simon Olley’s contribution to the how to encourage jab uptake among the youngsters debate made me chuckle.

      1. Yes, I did see that, Huntsman. The dog obviously worked out that the last time he went to the vet he lost something!

            1. The clue is referring to “suit”, and that (card) suit is clubs. That’s the (only) point I’m making.

      1. My point, Bertie was that the clue stated “here”, which indicates one venue. I merely thought that “in these places” would have been better. However, what do I know? 🤣🤣🤣

  2. Another single word failure for me today. 27a is not a proper word. Bah humbug.

    I couldn’t fully parse 21a but COTD has to be 4d. The Quickie pun deserves an honourable mention, too.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  3. An enjoyable **/**** with just three thought provoking clues to delay – 11a where I wrote in scrapyards until the cross checkers revealed that to be wrong, and 16d my COTD and the interlocking 27a which I found oddly illusive. Thanks to Mr K and whoever the setter was.

  4. Very enjoyable whilst it lasted. 27a was my favourite. The toughie is also very approachable today. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter.

    1. I also liked the rather spendid 5d, which reminded me of the following quote:

      “I hadn’t the heart to touch my breakfast. I told Jeeves to drink it himself.”

      P.G. Wodehouse

  5. I found this quite astonishing really. I only managed to fill in one when I first looked at it. But slowly, slowly catchy monkey, it started to fall into place. I did manage to finish unaided but 27a was my last in and was a bit of a guess. Anyway 5 stars for enjoyment from me and thanks to the setter (please reveal yourself) and Mr K.

  6. I thought this was just how a puzzle should be, very enjoyable with any difficulty coming simply from clever wordplay, of which there was plenty. Only very slight complaint the dated synonym for the police in 4d, though the clue was great.
    SW corner the last to fall and it provides the majority of my ticks, 25a plus17&24d with the other going to the excellent 12a
    Many thanks to the setter and and to Mr K for the top notch all round entertainment.

    1. Just reading the review. The Australian equivalent to the second definition of an alcoholic drink in the morning at 5d is the rather amusing “heart starter”

      1. Again on reading the review I have to disagree with Mr K re 21a, it’s surely a triple definition?

        1. Stephen, I believe Mr K has got it right with his interpretation of Wordplay (“the woman had”) & Double Definition (“abandon” & “hut”). I don’t think “the woman had” can be a definition.

              1. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t the clue just be ‘Abandon hut’? What value does the ‘The woman had to’ bit add? (I get that it also means shed).

                1. Yes, “Abandon hut” would also work as a clue. All clues containing more than two definitions, like today’s 21a along with triple and higher order definitions, could be shortened to leave legal wordplay. One reason for the compiler to not do that is because the extra words can make the clue more challenging. For example, while 21a as written might turn out to be definition//wordplay or wordplay//definition, it’s immediately clear that “Abandon hut” can only be a double definition (or a rare &lit).

                  1. Fair enough. The additional words did make what would have been an easy clue (slightly) trickier.

          1. Yes RD, I agree too. It’s wordplay plus DD. We had the same thing the other week with 18d in NTSPP 598 – that one was DD plus wordplay.

  7. A mixed bag of a puzzle with a lot of difficulty (3*/3*). There were some magnificently wily clues of which my favourites were 11a and 25a and some good anagrams suchas 14a. However, I wasn’t so keen on 4d (I thought it was a small stand of coppiced trees) or the slangy 16d. I wasn’t sure that a 27a was actually the actual source of songs either. It was certainly a challenge. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to the compiler.

  8. 2*/4*. Very enjoyable except for 27a which is a “word” I loathe with a passion. What’s wrong with DJ? (Yes, I know it wouldn’t fit in 27a :wink: ). I’ve never heard of 16d which was my last one in.

    With lots of great clues to pick from, 25a was my favourite for its very clever definition.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  9. Terrific entertainment this morning despite misgivings over 27a. Unfortunately it is one of those words coming into common usage whether we like it or not. Language always evolves, just not always in an acceptable way for we purists. That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and am happy to join the fans of 25a.

    Thanks to both Misters involved.

  10. Somewhat more tricky and less enjoyable than usual for a Tuesday puzzle – 3.5*/2.5*.

    A bit of a Hmm on 4d – I don’t particularly like that slang term for the ‘boys in blue.’

    I agree with Stephen L that 21a is a triple definition.

    As for 27a, based on what Mr Lancaster wrote in yesterday’s Puzzles Newsletter, it’s in the BRB so it’s legitimate (just like the 4d word I Hmm’d on).

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 25a, and 13d – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. S, 21a. But isn’t using “The woman had” to trigger the answer “Shed” an example of word-play?

    2. Here’s my thinking on 21a. The three parts of the clue lead to SHE’D, SHED, and SHED. SHE’D and SHED do not have any definitions in common – they are separate entries in the dictionary. So it can’t be a triple definition.

      Both SHE’D and SHED match the enumeration under the current DT convention that apostrophes are omitted in enumeration, and for that reason a clue like “The woman had a hut” wouldn’t work because in that case it’s not clear whether “the woman had” is wordplay or definition. The addition of “abandon” to the clue resolves that ambiguity. The only possible interpretation then is SHED as definition (twice) and SHE’D from the wordplay becoming SHED when entered in the grid.

        1. Mr K is an excellent reviewer. If you ask a pertinent technical question you usually get a proper, detailed answer from him. And that is very useful when confusion abounds, as it does in this instance. Especially because this site was set up to help/inform novices, less experienced and young solvers, etc.

            1. All reviewers on here are excellent – each in their own individual way. And they all get the utmost, and equal, praise from me – for sure.

  11. A slow start but fine as I tuned in, excellent cluing throughout and a **/**** for me,
    Stephen has a point over 21a, last in was 27a,needed the checking letters-think I’ve heard of 16d -is it an americanism? No stand out favourite, liked the surface of 11a and the concise 28a.
    Best quickie pun for a while.Thanks to Mr K and our setter for the entertainment.

  12. I totally agree with Mr K’s assessment: outstanding entertainment today. (Especially Sharon Stone, one of my favourite actresses.) At one point, the entire east side was filled in but almost none of the west, and I thought I was a gone goose. But I soldiered on and the pennies began to drop, most happily in the SW corner, where the real brilliance lies. I don’t mind 27a at all; it’s been around these parts forever. Top picks: 25a, 16d, and 27a. Thanks to Mr K and to today’s classy setter. *** / ****

    Really nice Toughie today.

    1. If you haven’t seen it Robert try to catch a 1994 Mark Rydell film called Intersection starring Richard Gere & with Sharon Stone cast against type. Did you look at yesterday’s Rookie Corner puzzle ? The 10 word god knows how many letters anagram right up your strasse

      1. Thank you, Huntsman, for steering me to the Rookie Corner, not one I usually attempt. One of my favourite poems–not only to read but also to teach–is ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, with which the poem in the puzzle must be read in conjunction. It took me a while to sort it all out, but I finally did, though I didn’t know the racecourse or the architectural projection. Over here, it’s not ‘the old lie’ but the Big Lie that’s killing us. I’ll try to find the Rydell film. Many thanks.

  13. Splendid puzzle. I was held up around Devon and Cornwall due to the splendid misdirection with 17d; the unusual use of the word at 27a; and my slowness of uptake with 24d, which embarrassingly, was the last one in.

    All completed with the accompaniment of toast and orange juice with no bits. It is beyond comprehension why anyone would wish to partake of a drink with ‘things’ swimming around in it. A drink should sail down the throat like the nectar, the ambrosia, of the gods. One should not have to risk a coughing fit due to the introduction of ‘bits’. Imagine musing to oneself, “Hmmm… I fancy a lovely cup of coffee…” and then adding tiny shards of marble into the cup.
    “I say, barman! May I have a gin and tonic? And while you’re about it, would you sprinkle some small pebbles into the glass to make it interesting?”
    Such behaviour would surely end with one being arrested and put before the magistrates with the certainty that it would conclude with a period in an institution.
    Why then, would anyone put themselves through the terrible ordeal of imbibing orange juice with bits of ‘stuff’ clinging to the inside of one’s gob on the way down? You are all bonkers.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Beatles – Revolver

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr K.

    1. I could show a ticket I own to a Beatles concert from 1963 but as I didn’t attend the show I don’t consider that it counts.

    2. My last one was in was 24d too. Otherwise I thought it was a good challenge. As for orange juice I hate it so no problems with the “bits”. Thankyou Mr K and setter.

    3. Oh thank you Terence. After a lovely rant like that I know I am forgiven for needling you. I will try very hard not to do it again and respect your (strange) preference.
      Although I have to say that likening little innocent pieces of orange flesh to pebbles is a bit harsh. I’m off to Addenbrookes this afternoon and afterwards will drop into Waitrose and buy two bottles of my preferred beverage. Friends?

    4. Yes, let’s introduce an embargo on orange juice discussions. Incidentally, my favourite hot beverage is a nice mug of hot chocolate with a liberal sprinkling of carpet tacks.

      1. A mug of hot chocolate MUST be accompanied by a McVities Digestive Biscuit. Yum yum.

            1. Quite right, DG. In any case, if you dunked you’d get bits in your drink and we know what Terence would have to say about that!

              1. As well as leaving the biscuit in too long so most of it drops into the drink ☹️

    5. I can’t resist mentioning to Terence that, over here in the American South, our ambrosia usually has bits of coconut in it, but since I don’t like coconut, my mother always made a special batch of it without those bits–little strips, actually. And I prefer my OJ with lots of ‘pulp’. Guess I’m just bonkers.

  14. A laboured solve for me with this one largely due to a deal of head scratching over 16d&27a as well as, though to a lesser extent, 2d&9a. I thought 28a a somewhat tenuous synonym though no doubt it’s correct & can’t say I’ve heard of 5d referred to as a morning drink but will henceforth refer to my first cuppa as such. Fully agree that it was an excellent puzzle with a host of worthy podium contenders. Picks for me were 18,25&27a plus 4,5,17&24d. Top of the pops today however was surely the excellent Quickie pun – when the penny finally dropped I thought ah I’ve got you babe but it sure took a long time.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K – interesting choice of pic for 8d.

          1. That’s very funny, Jane. I think that we watch it all over again every time it’s shown on TV.

            1. Many years ago when my son was a teenager we left him babysitting his young cousins who were asleep. He was given popcorn and “groundhog day”. When we got back, he’d nearly finished the film and my sister in law suggested we all watch it. So she restarted it at the beginning again!!! I don’t think my son ever felt like watching it again!

  15. A very good puzzle, completed in full before the hints appeared.
    Favourite clue was 11a which works as a double synonym ( ‘ gets rid of’ and ‘loads’ ) as well as a stand alone cryptic definition.
    Only parsing difficulty was 5d as I wasn’t aware of the drink reference. I think this clue may have worked well enough without the word ‘drink’

  16. Looks like a more straightforward week than last. Enjoyed today’s with many well constructed clues although I thought 4d was a bit stretched and learnt a new word in 16d. Thx for the hints for explaining the wordplay in 22a although the definition was fine.

  17. Steady solve took me into *** time and happy to give **** for enjoyment. Favourite 25a for misdirecting me to try and get all the variable soldier possibilities onto the several exercise options plus runs to define ‘hard’ (makes sense in my head!) Last one in 16d. Thanks to all.

  18. I’m with Senf on this one, not my favourite Tuesday puzzle but it obviously went down well with other folk including our reviewer.
    I’ve never heard of 5d being used to describe a drink, didn’t care for either 27a or 16d and thought 4d was somewhat stretching the synonym.
    Not to worry, I did smile at 13d and the clever misdirection in 25a.

    Apologies to our setter and thanks to Mr K for his review – well done on getting the 18a photo, they’re not always easy to capture.

  19. A very good puzzle, providing the appropriate combination of chin-scratching, satisfaction and enjoyment. With the exception of 27a (it might be in the BRB, but it’s ghastly. DJs or Disk Jockeys, please, otherwise may I introduce ArrEhSea and NayToe?) and the utterly unfamiliar slang in 16d. Two good clues but poor answers, I felt.

    Otherwise plenty of pleasure to derive from this puzzle, with no specialist GK required, plenty of deceit and red herrings,and a great range of clue types. COTD – 25a.

    2.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to Mr K.

  20. Not the usual Tuesday fare but very enjoyable nevertheless. **** about right for difficulty. Many great clues of which my favourite is 16d but honourable mentions to 10 and 11a, and 3 and 15d.

    Thanks to Mr K for his hints which confirmed most of parsings and to our mystery setter for such an excellent puzzle.

  21. I got off to a bad start by entering ‘sun downer’ as I thought that would be a surprise first thing in the morning. Then 10a threw me and I needed Mr K’s hunts. Really there must be something other than coffee in that cat’s mug – he looks positively zonked out. Otherwise everything eventually fell into place and although the grid looks a bit of a mess I got there. Yesterday I went to a Lady Taverners Lunch at Madingley Hall (so beautiful) and the speaker was Diane Moran, the Green Goddess. Anyone remember her? She seemed hardly to have changed, supple as ever and spoke fluently without a note. We met her afterwards and one of my friends kindly told her I could do the splits but fortunately she didn’t ask me to demonstrate, was just duly impressed!
    Many thanks to setter and MrK.

  22. Mr K, 8d – the photo. Just a technical enquiry. The Zoom function on my laptop is working fine, but how do you introduce some illumination into the procedure? Thank you.

  23. Another very enjoyable if taxing puzzle. 3/4 for me. I really liked 10&27a and 13&16d. 13d was my podium choice as it got me off to a good start. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for his usual amusing hints. Let’s see what Wednesday brings. My two labs have made such a mess of my back lawn over the years so this year I started to reseed and we’re almost there. I wonder how long it will last?

  24. I thought this one was a tad better than the normal Tuesday offering. Very enjoyable while it lasted. Fav: 14a. 2.5*, 3.5*.

  25. Another nice puzzle for Tuesday this week.
    **/**** my rating. Some nice clues including 10a. 14a, 18a, 27a, 4d & 13d with winner 13d and runner up 27a
    Rain predicted for Friday here … and we need it!

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  26. A bit of a curate’s egg as far as enjoyment goes with the N going smoothly but the SW holding out and then after help grating somewhat particularly 16d and 27a. 24a “food” rather broad description. No Fav. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  27. Fell into a few potholes with this one. Always thought 11a was two words, fixated on wrong answer for 14a, and never thought of 27a as an actual word. Otherwise quite enjoyed. Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  28. Another fine offering, defeated by 1d ,which is blindingly obvious really, and 27a. One little point which I am sure I will be corrected on, how can you ignore something if you don’t notice it?. 20d. Thanks to all.

        1. Dave, if it’s any consolation I had the same initial thought and did consult Collins which confirmed the (almost) inevitable…..the setter had got it right!

    1. I had the same thought as you DaveG but on second thoughts perhaps MrK and Bertie have a point.

  29. I’m so cross with myself, I sailed through the east, then solved the NW more slowly, all without any help, and finally came to a dead stop in the SW with three unsolved; y’all know which three! When I got the hints I realised I had a wrong answer with 24d – I had “fare”, now why did I think the time was upside down? Such a lovely puzzle, marred by 16d and 27a, only two so that’s not that bad. I liked lots, I think fave has to be 18a ‘cos of Mr. K’s super pic.
    Thank you setter, we’d like to see you again. Much appreciation to Mr. K for getting me back on track.

  30. Just been told by my consultant that I need to have a liver biopsy. I do not like liver biopsies not because of the biopsy itself but because of having to lie still on a bed for six hours afterwards.

      1. Thanks, Dave but it is just routine. I take my iPad and listen to Audible but after about thirty minutes I start to think “Oh no, another five and a half hours!”

        1. Oh, Steve, that sounds awful! I don’t think I’d be able to manage six hours being still. Good luck and good wishes. When will this happen?

          1. Quite soon, I think, Merusa. My consultant thinks I may be rejecting my transplanted liver. That sounds drastic but it isn’t, really. They want to do the biopsy ASAP so they can check whether or not my body is starting to reject the transplant. If it is, it is merely a matter of adjusting the anti rejection medication.
            I have complete faith in the Liver Unit at the QE Hospital in Birmingham and am not worried at all.
            This is nothing compared to what dear Kath and others are going through.

            1. Oh dear..six hours is a long time.
              Hope it all goes well for you and the time passes more quickly than you fear.

  31. I usually really like Tuesdays but not so much today.
    Needed help for four clues. 😒

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  32. I needed hints to finish 16d and 27a. I don’t think I’d have got them on my own if I’d sat here from now until doomsday. Who knows where my contact lens has disappeared to! It left my finger and seemed to go into my eye but I still can’t see clearly 5 hours later. Small beer compared to other people’s problems. Favourite was 14a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  33. Quite clever and enjoyable but balked at the last jump, 27a. Never seen the word spelled out like this and felt a bit cheated. Wasn’t very happy with 4d either – but ‘brush’ is in the dictionary, albeit about the tenth definition! ***/***

  34. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge which I didn’t complete until this morning, having had a busy day and late evening with friends yesterday. I loved the wordplay and the misdirection but disliked one or two of the answers 27a , 5d, 27a as has been said above.
    Thank you very much setter and Mr K

  35. Mr K

    I can’t believe the photo at 8d went unnoticed/ ignored / uncommented. V funny .

    maybe I can believe it. did nobody say anything?

    1. Hi, banksie. Thanks. Not sure if anyone else noticed. I’m glad you commented because I was starting to wonder if the connection between the pic and the answer was too cryptic.

        1. It made me go back to watch the clip from the film…….quite a scene

          Thanks again Mr K

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