DT 29761 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29761

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29761

Hints and tips by pommers

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hola from a sunny Los Alacázares where we’ve been trying to evade the crazy heat of this August. Still, it got up to 38°C last Sunday so it’s not been much of a relief.  However, we did get to see “La Vuelta a España” flash by last Saturday as they came through LA on stage 8. It doesn’t last very long but with all the cars, motor bikes and two helicopters for the TV coverage not to mention the riders themselves it’s a great spectacle, and the speed of the guys is impressive.

The crossword today is the usual Monday fare but perhaps leaning towards more cryptic definitions the usual.  There’s a few anagrams and a couple of gimmes so I don’t think many of you will have to resort to these hints. Anyway they’re here if you do need some help.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Theft of tin at church (6)
SNATCH:  The chemical symbol for tin, the AT from the clue and an abbreviation of church, not CE but the other one.

4a           Head of Equity therefore has journalists in for coffee (8)
ESPRESSO:  Start with an E (head of Equity) and a word meaning therefore and insert (in) a generic term for journalists or newspapers.

10a         Change bodice hard to be ignored (5)
ALTER:  A type of woman’s bodice with the H(ard) removed (to be ignored).

11a         Romantic film — overtly so fanciful (4,5)
LOVE STORY:  Anagram (fanciful) of OVERTLY SO.

12a         Direction-finder‘s  range (7)
COMPASS:  Double definition.

13a         Overwhelming disaster as taxi reversed left into river (7)
DEBACLE:  Reverse another word for a taxi, add an L(eft) and insert it all into (into) the river which enters the sea at Chester.  There’s also two of these in Scotland and, I think, one in Ireland.

14a         Female employee must be expecting to get this (9,5)
MATERNITY LEAVE:  Cryptic definition. Change the word expecting to read “pregnant” and the answer becomes obvious.

17a         How chess players play each other at every level? (6-3-5)
ACROSS THE BOARD:  The relative seating positions of two chess opponents is also a phrase meaning at every level.  I suppose this could be viewed as a double definition.

21a         Table includes league side initially made up of celebrities (3-4)
ALL STAR:  Take the table at the front of a church and insert (includes) an L and an S (League Side initially).

23a         College dance, one round end of April (7)
BALLIOL:  Start with a dance and follow with the letter that looks like one, the round letter and an L (end of ApriL).

24a         Nothing written about leg cut, second-to-none (9)
NONPAREIL:  A word for nothing or zero is placed around (written about) the other name for the leg side in cricket and a word meaning cut or shave.

25a         Flash Gordon’s original material (5)
GLINT: G (Gordon’s original) followed by some material often used for dressing cuts.  You didn’t think I could resist this did you . . .


26a         Series of notes calling for an answer (8)
RINGTONE:  Cryptic definition of one of the noises made by your mobile phone.  This clue wouldn’t have been possible back in the days before smartphone when phones just used to bleep.

27a         Brief film, western, shown inside (6)
LAWYER:  “Brief” is a slang term for this chap.  Start with a film, of moisture perhaps, and insert (shown inside) a W(estern).


1d           Succeeded having deployed her mace? I have no idea (6,2)
SEARCH ME:  S(ucceeded) followed by an anagram (deployed) of HER MACE.

2d           A copper climbing around top of tower to aim loaded weapon (9)
AUTOMATIC:   Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once . . . A (from the clue) and a reversal (climbing in a down clue) of the chemical symbol for copper are placed around (around) an anagram (loaded, as in drunk) of a T (top of Tower) with the TO AIM from the clue.

3d           Pirate‘s reportedly crude manner (7)
CORSAIR: The first syllable sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning crude and the second is a word for a manner.  Bit of a chestnut but I still like it.

5d           Rescued, thanks to caller? (5,2,3,4)
SAVED BY THE BELL:  Cryptic definition.

6d           Causing laughter, stripper at last able to be seen topless (7)
RISIBLE:  R (strippeR at last) followed by a word meaning able to be seen or in sight without its first letter (topless).

7d           Endless criticism involving old philosopher (5)
STOIC:  Remove the last letter from a slang term for criticism and insert (involving) an O(ld) to get a member of the ancient Greek school of philosophy founded by a chap called Zeno of Citium.

8d           Element of cunning required with female lacking information (6)
OXYGEN:  A word for cunning with the F(emale) removed (lacking) and then one of the usual words for information.

9d           Under pressure, a girl cuts nose badly — one may be required to operate (7,7)
PLASTIC SURGEON:  This chap may indeed be required to operate if the girl’s nose is cut badly enough. He’s an anagram (badly) of A GIRL CUTS NOSE placed after (under in a down clue) a P(ressure).

15d         Likelihood of six having talent? (9)
VIABILITY:  The Roman numeral for six followed by a word for talent.

16d         Devotee I party with afterwards (8)
IDOLATER:  I (from the clue) followed by the usual party and then a word meaning afterwards.

18d         Refugee found in exposed shed (7)
OUTCAST:  A word for exposed followed by a word for shed or discard.

19d         Peculiar oblong American sausage (7)
BOLOGNA:  Anagram (peculiar) of OBLONG followed by A(merican).

20d         Queen and king under British flag (6)
BANNER:  The Stuart queen and the letter for king placed after (under in a down clue) a B(ritish).

22d         Stroke new material (5)
LINEN: A pen stroke followed by N(ew).

Favourite today was 14a with 9d and 6d on the podium.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:       CAINE     +     TOWED     =     CANE TOAD

Bottom line:    DINER     +     SOARS     =     DINOSAURS

66 comments on “DT 29761

  1. Fairly gentle. I did need your hints to explain 24a. I came up with the answer because of the second to none part but completely missed the cricket side and cut references. Thank you. **/*** No particular favourite. Thanks to all.

  2. I thought this was great, largely quite gentle but with a sting in the tail in the form of 24a, which took me almost as long as the rest of the puzzle put together.
    I liked lots, but my top two are the beautifully constructed 6&8d.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers for the fun in the sun

  3. 2.5*/4*. All the usual Monday fun, although I did find that the SW corner needed a bit more teasing out than normal.

    Given 18 months or so of enforced online chess, 17a really should say “how chess players would like to play each other…” :wink:

    I can’t disagree with pommers podium choices: 14a, 6d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

    1. I ran into a friend at a fete yesterday who is a very avid chess player and he was saying that there is a lot of cheating by chess players on Zoom. Have you come across that?

      1. I’m afraid cheating is rife online. The main online tournament organisers carry out a lot of checks and have some sophisticated ways of detecting cheating, but sadly it’s impossible to eliminate it entirely.

        I don’t particularly enjoy the isolation of playing online and can’t wait to get back to 17a.

  4. This was entertaining if over too quickly (1*/4*) and I particularly enjoyed the cryptic definitions , my favourite clue being 14a. I quite liked the misdirection in clues such as27a too and it was nice to,see the lego style clue of a word rarely seen today out side of Jane Austen in 27a. Thanks to Pommers for the hints and to Campbell for a thoroughly enjoyable solve.

  5. Shortlived, painless solving today but fun while it lasted. Can’t believe in this day and age 26a was my last to fall. Fav 14a. Had to look up Quickie top pun. Thank you Mysteron and pommers..

  6. Maybe I was just on the right wavelength as I found this one a breeze even by Monday standards. The 4 long ‘uns went straight in & it was all over in a fraction over * time though I did have to confirm the sausage. Quite grateful for an easy ride after yesterday’s toil with Dada. 8d & 27a were the ones that stood out for me. The Monday 670 Cryptic is certainly a far sterner test.
    The sun has just popped out in Harpenden after a dull & miserable morning so hopefully it stays that way for golf this afternoon.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers.

    1. 670 was a good puzzle, more mid-weekish than Campbell gives us on Monday backpagers.

      Always impressed that Campbell provides not just the weekly backpager and quickie, but, I understand, the online prize puzzle as well.

      1. I’d say that 670 is more midweek Toughie-ish–who knew what Ahab wanted?! Well, actually, I once did; besides, I could think only of Melville’s Ahab. I did manage to finish it but only because of Googling galore.

        1. I’m amazed with your boundless knowledge that you didn’t know about the vineyard. I look up to you to know everything! It’s probably one of those bits of useless information that sticks in your mind regardless of its origins of learning.

  7. An elegant, straightforward and very enjoyable puzzle to start the week. Of many fine clues, I liked 14a the best.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and to pommers.

  8. This is a very Mondayish puzzle. Just right to start the week and loaded towards newer solvers who should have their confidence raised. Just 24 across giving a slight moment of uncertainty. Thanks to Campbell for the gentle exercise. (Can’t say I’ve ever come across 7 down in the quickie before and I’ve supped a few in my time). Thanks to pommers for the review. Well most of it anyway

    1. MP you obviously haven’t supped many in Germany, particularly the Munich Oktoberfest! 🍻

      1. I was eleven years old when I went through Germany on a train to Denmark. Never been back since

        1. You should try it Miffy, the Germans like their beer as much if not more than we do, and there’s a great variety of ales to try. You could also give them lessons on how to pour it😁.

  9. A nice gentle start to the crossword week, always appreciated.
    14a was my stand-out favourite with 23&25a taking silver and bronze.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review – don’t envy you those temperatures!

  10. Fairly gentle, ideal starter to the solving week. The long answers almost jumping out gave a solid foothold with, as others have said, 24a holding out longest. It pushed me into ** difficulty with **** fun factor.
    14a was my COTD.
    Thank you to Campbell and pommers.

  11. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: 1.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 17a, and 5d – and the winner is 17a.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  12. A very pleasant start to the crossword week. Finished in a flash, it seemed, with 14a, 24a, and 8d my standouts. Thanks to pommers and Campbell. * / ***

  13. Like others I stalled on 24a for a little while making this a pleasant **/*** start to the week. The sun is out in Plymouth so off for a walk round the Hoe with a few glasses of Pinot en route. Thanks to pommers and Campbell.

  14. I thought that this was a tad more difficult than the usual Monday puzzle and most enjoyable ,sound cluing all round. going for a 2.5*/4*
    Favourite 8d followed by 27a.
    Thanks to our setter and Pommers for his pics

  15. I can’t say that 24a is in my common vocabulary, so it didn’t spring instantly to mind. 14a and 26a were my favourites. Thank you setter and Pommers. The sun has just appeared in Buckinghamshire. Long may it last. We might even have a trip to Windsor this afternoon. Failing that, I will go into the kitchen and bake, and leave my mother-in-law to read the new book I’ve just bought her. Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall. I think that she’ll enjoy it. She has a great sense of humour.

  16. A most enjoyable start to the week with only 24a keeping me from an unaided finish. Some great clues such as 1a, 21a and 16d but my COTD is 14a.

    Grateful thank to Campbell for the puzzle and to pommers for the hints.

  17. Monday with Campbell and pommers is always a treat so many thanks to both for keeping up the good work.

    13, 14, and 17a each get honourable mentions among many lovely clues. Got 24a but admit I don’t know how it is pronounced. Any hints will be very welcome.

      1. Both Collins pronunciations are wrong going by the French origin but possibly OK in USA!

  18. As everyone has said, a nice easy shoe in to the week. I guessed 24a straight away from ‘second to none’ pure Jane Austen/ Heyer so any other reference escaped me. (Kinder than yesterday which I tackled late after going out to lunch and still have not cracked 4d) 14a was very funny and I liked the misdirection of 27a. 26a was the last to fall. It was one of those days when we’d finished the crossword before we had finished lunch, so turned to the quickie which seemed more of a challenge! The weather here cold and dull – very autumnal. Thanks to Pommers and the setter.

    1. I got 24a immediately too, DG, must be the diet of Austen and Heyer in our younger days!

        1. Does anyone else remember parents or, in my case, aunties providing hundreds and thousands sandwiches? Yes, hundreds and thousands sprinkled between two slices of bread and butter! Seems like a different era, before low-sugar and low-fat had been invented.

  19. Enjoyable and fairly quick for me except for the obscure 24a, which is word I’ve never heard of and expect it only comes up in crosswords, I shall endeavour to erase it from my memory as it sounds French. I hasten to add I have nothing against the French I just find their language very convoluted. Thanks to all👍

    1. I think the French warship Nonpareil was captured by Nelson and renamed Nonsuch. Henry VIII built most of a palace in Nonsuch Park, south London, but died before it was finished. Supposed to rival Versailles; queen Elizabeth pulled it down and built something else with it

      1. The park is still there though, I believe. No idea about the warship but anything is possible.

  20. Can’t add much to what has been said above: a lovely, all too brief, Monday puzzle from Campbell. Plenty to like, nothing esoteric or to dislike.

    HMs to 1a, 13a, 14a, 3d, 9d, and COTD to 26a.

    1* / 3.5*. Many thanks indeed to Campbell and to Pommers

    The online Cryptic 670 was a really good challenge which I inadvertently tackled before this one, causing me to think “gosh, Campbell’s made Monday a bit stiffer this time!” until I realised what had happened. Took me a while to get Captain Ahab out of my mind, a red herring Campbell no doubt intended most solvers to be delayed by. Lots of great clues in that grid, too.

  21. Took a while to get going but went in fairly well after that BUT I understood less than half of the wordplay getting the answers from the definition and looking likely words. Much too cryptic for my taste.
    Thx for the hints

  22. Really enjoyed this start to the week, with 3 nice long answers giving a great foothold. Like others, I stalled for a while in SW corner, with 26a being LI. The word was in the back of my mind, but never can spell it. Thanks to setter and pommers.

  23. So pleased 24a caused problems for some bloggers, makes me feel less alone! Thank you Campbell and Pommers

  24. Great fun. As ever, I started with down clues, bottom up and sailed through this with only 26a giving pause for thought. An enjoyable * / *** start to the week.

  25. Nice start to the week sailed along nicely but foundered in the SW for a while 😳 hence ***/*** Favourites 26 & 27a 👍 Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell. Must away the 🌞 has come out 😎

  26. A nice way to start the week with this enjoyable puzzle 1.5*/****.
    Candidates for favourites 13a, 17a, 26a, 6d & 8d with winner 26a. 1a made me smile as did 5d.
    23a an unknown word to me, but it is what it had to be when the surrounding clues were done.
    19a …YUCK! Horrible stuff.

    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers

  27. Pleasant Monday challenge but I’m definitely in the “24A was a new word to me” camp!
    Thanks to Campbell for the workout and to Pommers for the blog ‘n hints – great videos!

  28. Like many I solved the clue from the definition and didn’t always understand the wordplay – e.g. 20d and 24a. LOI was 26a which it took a minute or two to realize was a single word. 1.5*/****

  29. This was such a pleasure to solve, I loved it all. Just to be contrary, I only had a problem with 8d and used e-help to solve it, why? We had that word for cunning just the other day, I must be getting senile. I was familiar with 24a and it went straight in. All the long answers were gifts, opening up all the grid nicely.
    Thank you Campbell for the fun, I’m sorry it’s over. Thanks for the hints and pics pommers.

  30. 1/4. Really enjoyable start to the week. 24a my favourite – such an elegant word and rarely seen these days. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers. Golf restarts today after they cleaned up the course after 9 inches of rain yesterday.

  31. Pretty straightforward. My last two in were 18d and 26a. Didn’t have a problem with 24a but I didn’t realise it was French so I probably wouldn’t have got it if I did as I don’t speak French. Favourite was 17a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  32. 2*/4*…..
    liked 8D ” Element of cunning required with female lacking information (6)”

  33. I had no problem with 24a but completely stumped by 26a for which I needed Pommers’ help. Lots of good clues of which My favourites were 1a, 11a, 14a, 7d and 9d. A very enjoyable solve on my flight to Chicago on Thursday evening, taking my son to visit two of the excellent universitIes there. Thanks all and apologies for the late post.

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