DT 29776 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29776

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29776

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from Miffypops Mansions where Saint Sharon is packing for our 10 day jaunt to Cornwall. I’m keeping out of her way as is usual. Today’s puzzle from Giovanni shouldn’t cause too many problems. The answers can all be teased from the wordplay or the definitions especially once a few checking letters are in place. There are an abundance of easy anagrams to let you in and a few soldiers to keep you safe. Light refreshment is provided but you will have to be patient as it doesn’t appear until the end


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        One’s charged for transport (8,3)
ELECTRIC CAR:  A very old form of transport that is making a forced comeback. A vehicle that needs to be plugged in to the mains and charged with power before use

7a        Noble fellow with female relation by river (7)
GRANDEE:  A shortened form of the name for your Mum or Dads mother is followed by a regular crosswordland river

8a        Went round rubbish deposited by an old rocker (7)
ROTATED: A three-letter type of rubbish (spoken perhaps) is followed by the letter A and a 1950s youth

10a      Surprises in a street when meeting dogs with no lead (8)
ASTOUNDS: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation for street and the plural of dogs used for hunting minus their first letter

11a      People living nearby  their pubs? (6)
LOCALS:  Frequenters of the bar nearest to their residence are also members of the same neighbourhood

13a      Nail in food (4)
TACK: A double definition which should not pose any problems

14a      ‘Orrible situation returning — flier gets round it — that brings relief (10)
ALLEVIATOR:  The ‘orrible situation is the opposite of heaven minus the letter H. A pilot or airman surrounds this

16a      Change regular pattern of succession with any number dropping out (10)
ALTERATION: What can I add to this clue? Remove a letter than can represent any number in a mathematical sense from a word meaning a regular pattern of succession (as it says in the clue) or the repeated occurrence of two things in turn. Much easier to solve from the definition and a few checking letters

18a      Home west of California? His home’s way south of there! (4)
INCA: A two-letter word meaning at home is followed by the first two letters of the word California. The two letters on the left or west side of the word

21a      Deal only half done — is America involved in neglect? (6)
DISUSE: Half of the letters from the word deal have the word IS from the clue and the initials for the United States inserted

22a      Pearl has shed tears in front of banker (8)
TREASURE: An anagram (shed) of TEARS sits before a banker or river

24a      Second victory against England finally? The French cheat! (7)
SWINDLE: Do as the clue instructs for an easy solve. The abbreviation for second. A three-letter victory. The final letter of the word England. The French word for the

25a      Rite man devised in religious tower (7)
MINARET: Anagram (devised) of RITE MAN

26a      Water supply needed by land near building — large increase (11)
GROUNDSWELL: A plural synonym of the word land is followed by a natural source of water


1d        What could be laciest piece of stretchy material (7)
ELASTIC: Anagram (what could be) of LACIEST

2d        Headless chaps, almost totally sloshed — a feature of American sport (3,3)
END RUN: Two single letter removals are required here. Remove the first letter from some fellows, chaps, blokes, or geezers and the last letter from the state these blokes might be in after sinking a few bevvies to help them through the endless tedium that passes for sport in the USA

3d        It enables one to get an angle on the situation (10)
THEODOLITE:  A cryptic definition of a surveying instrument with a rotating telescope for measuring horizontal and vertical angles. I was once asked to help with a survey and spent three hours holding an orange and white pole on a building site in the pouring rain while a chap looked through one of these

4d        Small container brought up in morning (4)
INRO: An ornamental box with compartments for items such as seals and medicines, worn suspended from a girdle as part of traditional Japanese dress can be found hidden (in) and reversed (brought up) within the words of the clue

5d        Sort of Christian jazz fan about to embrace non-Christian festival (8)
CATHOLIC: A hip dude and jazz fan plus the single letter abbreviation of the Latin word Circa (about) sit around a Hindu spring festival celebrated in February or March in honour of Krishna

6d        Soldiers with land vehicle — soldiers to leave, pull back (7)
RETRACT: There are two lots of soldiers in this clue. They are the Royal Engineers and the other ranks. The Royal engineers get stuck in right at the beginning and the other ranks are taken away from a farm vehicle. Maybe they are taken away so the Royal engineers can mend it

7d        Big beasts somehow adapting as necessary originally (5,6)
GIANT PANDAS: An anagram (somehow) of ADAPTING AS also involves the first letter of the word necessary

9d        Smart maiden worked out way to decrease international danger maybe? (11)
DISARMAMENT: Anagram (worked out) of SMART MAIDENS

12d      Certain plays made morals uncertain (10)
MELODRAMAS:  Anagram (uncertain) of MADE MORALS

15d      Military post is set up in troubled period (8)
PRESIDIO:  The reverse (set up) of the word IS from the clue sits inside an anagram (troubled) of PERIOD

17d      Volunteers, smart, needed for sampling wine? (7)
TASTING: The volunteers of the Territorial Army are followed by a synonym of the word smart. Smart as on might after a slap. Note the plural in the word volunteers

19d      ‘Nervy’, tense inside, sitting on the fence? (7)
NEUTRAL:  A word meaning relating to a nerve or the nervous system needs the abbreviation for tense inserting

20d      Snack — hopeless ultimately for giving to famous body-builder? (6)
SARNIE: The last letter of the word hopeless is followed by a little known body builder who has had some success playing silly roles in silly films not watched by people like me

23d      Foreign city seen in October/November (4)
BERN: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words seen in




69 comments on “DT 29776

  1. Another DNF for me, I’ve not been doing too well recently. 

2d, 4d and 5d were bung-ins, I didn’t know the foreign elements. I couldn’t quite parse 16a. 

20d and 22a needed electrons. My Mother would kill me for saying 20d “It’s a sandie!” And I simply missed the anagram indicator in 22a, even though I had guessed the banker correctly.

Many thanks to the setter and MP.

  2. Another crossword where the top was friendlier than the bottom, but the whole finished in a good time for a Giovanni. I wonder whether anyone else had a breakfast discussion about the famous body-builder Charles Atlas before realising that we were looking for someone ‘younger’

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP – enjoy Cornwall

    1. He was the first one to come to mind. The advertisements for his method of training used to appear in newspapers, when I was a child.

    2. No breakfast discussion, but as I raised my mug of coffee I pondered briefly whether it could be Mr Atlas, at which point the answer struck me. “Younger” is indeed relative … I suspect he is older than many contributors to this blog!

        1. Ha! Rather before my time (says I in whipper-snapper mode), but the etymology is similar – the G is an abbreviation and in full is a name I first coined what seems a liftetime ago, when Terry Wogan was still cheering up people in the morning and correspondents adopted all sorts of aliases.

          I particularly recall Mick Sturbs, who was key to the quite superbly filthy and funny Janet & John stories Terry would read out.

          1. I really miss the Janet and John stories. Painfully hilarious! With ZB in charge of that show now, I say reluctantly that I miss CE. Who’d have thought it. TW was the best though

    3. By the time I got to that, I’d already solved 25a so never thought of him. He featured in all the comics at that time!

  3. I enjoyed this (2.5*/4*) . It was mostly straightforward with a few brain burners in the SE corner that made it take a bit longer. I thought
    the sneaky 16a was well misdirected and 14s well put together leg type clue but the crypticc definition in 3d was my COTD. It’s a long time since I used one of those. Thank you to MP for taking time out of his holday preparations to do the hints and have a great time in Cornwall. I have many happy memories of holidays there. Thank you to the compiler too for a fine puzzle.

  4. Struggled at first and needed online help for a couple. 4d added an new word to my vocabulary. 20d easy to get but fun. Particularly liked 8a, 14a and 19d.

    Thanks for the hints and to the setter.

  5. Solid, reliable, Thursday fare, over all too soon. 14a and 21a very topical I felt (although probably reading far too much into it!), both joined by 12d on the podium, while I smiled broadly at 24a, my COTD.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to MP.

  6. Bit of a mixed bag for me with a slightly dated feel to it.
    I needed electronic help to get 3d, I just didn’t know it and couldn’t tease it out from the checkers, most disappointing.
    I thought 1a was very weak but I did like 18&26a plus the clever 19d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and MP for brightening a dull morning here on the South West coast.

  7. Nothing too tricky and anything that was awkward was very gettable through the wordplay. 5d was one such clue and proved to be my favourite. I, too, fell into the Charles Atlas trap before realising which bodybuilder our setter was referring to.

    Many thanks to The Don and MP.

  8. Agtee with CS, as usual , that the top half was ‘ friendlier’ than the bottom.
    Some tricky cluing, last in was 15d, the parsing was obvious but I have never heard of the Spanish Garrison before!
    Liked 14a, not a very common word, I too remembered Mr Atlas, I think that he once held the Mister Universe title.
    Favourite was 16a for its surface followed by 7d.
    Thanks to MP for the pics and setter for the enjoyment-going for a ***/****

  9. Contrarily I found the NE the trickiest part of this ***/*** puzzle. I agree the anagrams were pretty straightforward and needed Miffypops to comprehend my solution to 7d. I smiled at 20d which gets my COTD. With thanks to the setter and the said hinter.

  10. Difficult in places but fairly clued so it was a joy to complete. I had never heard of 15d but it could be nothing else given the wordplay. The same goes for 2d, which was another term unknown to me. My COTD is 14a simply because it held me up for ages.

    I can’t remember the last time I finished a Thursday puzzle unaided but this one obliged.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge. Thanks also to MP for the hints and “intro” video.

  11. Another tough day for me and needed e help for 4d which I had not come across & missed the contained letters in morning. Also took ages to get there, my mind seems to be in crawl this week. Hopefully not permanently.
    Nothing really appealed so no COTD.
    Thanks to setter and a Promotional Award to MP for the BD “staff” video. Great to put faces to some of the names for those of us who don’t, or can’t attend get-togethers. Thanks to you all for making the site what it is.

  12. Well for me our reviewer’s assurance that today’s puzzle shouldn’t cause too many problems was about as accurate as his Monday observation that we rarely get a proper Toughie on a Tuesday – we then promptly got Serpent’s head scratcher. I struggled through this one at a very pedestrian pace to within 2 of an unaided finish (3d & 14a) & then lost patience & revealed the checker. Only then did I immediately recall the optical thingummybob & then clock what synonym I was dropping my H off with the other one. 4d was also new to me, can’t say I’ve come across 13a in relation to food before so & the Hindu festival at 5d all required Mr G for post solve confirmation. On the plus side at least Mr Atlas didn’t muddy the waters. 7d was my favourite.
    Thanks to Giovanni & to Miffs – loved the BD clip & hoping you have a great holiday in lovely Cornwall.

  13. I found this reasonably straightforward for a Giovanni. He normally holds me up with a few that require teasing out or assistance from the blog.
    I’d not heard of 3d or 4d but they can be worked out from the clues. A number of COTDs to select from so I will pick 8a and 26a but 7a made me smile and it’s a word I particularly like!
    Thanks to Giovanni and MP….enjoy your break!!

  14. Always pleased to find it is a Giovanni day and so it is another red-letter day. 13a threw me as wanted to use different vowel for the food but that’s no good for nail. Hope the ghastly 20d doesn’t become a dictionary word! 4d not in my home-madeThesaurus. Thanks to my German and French blood am always unsure about 20d spelling but actually incline towards the 5-letter version. 1a is certainly topical but it still didn’t occur to me immediately as I was looking for wrong kind of charge – crafty bum steer! Thank you lots Giovanni and MP – bon voyage to Cornwall – St. Mawes? I gather Cornish Tourist Board is encouraging holidaymakers to the North – Bude, etc. to try and cut down on crowds in the South.

      1. Where are you staying in St M? My husband would normally be down for the Falmouth Working Boat championships but other things intervene this year. I’ll send you the poster. Photo below. Look out for no11 with three blue chevrons on right of the poster. It is the one he sails.

          1. I know exactly where you are – Riviera Lane. Lovely! You will just need St Sharon to hoist you up after a night at the pub!

  15. (sigh) Some people may enjoy crosswords requiring obscure general knowledge (hello and good day to you, 4d and 15d!). However, I do not complain (much).
    Yes, I considered Charles Atlas, the chap who had sand kicked in his mush before transforming himself by purchasing some rather scary looking exercise thingummybob, before realising that we were looking for the other bloke.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Richard Einhorn – Voices Of Light <- lovely, really moving.

    Thanks to Giovanni, the Mighty Miff, and a big Thursday greeting to The Lovely Kath

  16. How is 3d cryptic? Luddite me wants to know. I’m having the strangest week with the puzzles. Have successfully solved the last two Toughies all on my own (today’s Beam is a model of succinct brilliance) but the last two cryptics have caused me much angst. I do remember seeing 3d once in a puzzle but the clue hardly seems to justify its place in a cryptic. Well, anyway, I just didn’t know it, nor did my very mechanically gifted partner who, when asked what a 3d is, just shrugged. With electronic help, I did manage to finish but am not happy about it. Thanks to MP (enjoy your holiday!) and Giovanni. *****/**

    1. 3d is cryptic because it is a cryptic/obscure/unconventional, but indirectly accurate, way of describing the answer – a way you’d only find in a crossword clue. Also, the clue could conceivably be describing something else that isn’t the answer to cause further confusion/puzzlement – maybe an instruction manual or something? That’s how I see it. But then, I’m the guy who thought (albeit transiently) that Glastonbury Tor was in Devon!

      1. The item in 3d is used in surveying, Robert. The idea is to set up 3 points in the corners of a triangle and measure the distance between two of them. By measuring angles between the points and using trigonometry, the framework for a simple map or plan can be drawn. Hence the angles in the clue making a plan of the situation in the geographicall sense.

      1. I think what escaped me was the idea as heard in the expression “I need to get an angle on that”–an expression probably more widely heard in the UK than in the US?–in order to understand a situation better. Am I close? Can someone confirm that the ‘other meaning’ is what makes 3d cryptic? Apologies for my obtuseness, but I could have sat here until Doomsday and never have figured out what the answer is since I’d never heard of or seen the blooming device before!!! Not so GK if one has never been so apprised of the thing. Anyway, I hope never to hear of it again.

        1. Am I right that surveyors no longer use them? I thought I read somewhere that they now use drones or some such thing.

        2. Robert – yes you’ve hit the nail on the head. That is what makes it cryptic. For instance we would use “getting an angle on the situation” as something journalists do, rather than the literal meaning. I wondered how you would get on with 20d as the slang for that particular snack may not be used in other corners of the globe.

          1. I learned 20d, WW, from doing these cryptics–some time ago–and despite my many sojourns in the UK had never heard that particular bit of slang. And thank you for confirming what I was so very late in twigging. So kind of you to do so!

  17. May I join LTOK in thanking you for the promotional piece at the beginning – very nice. Also spent far too long watching the baby panda! And a delightful puzzle, nice anagrams which I enjoy and answers which just had to be even if you didn’t know the – like 15d. Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops- I envy you your break in glorious Cornwall- our special place is Porth-en-all’s which, because Charles Dance was also a regular, was used for the filming of Ladies in Lavender. Have fun.

    1. Not wishing to turn this into The Panda Show blog DG MP’s video prompted a Google which came up with the 2021 version:

      Not as long but more 7d participating.

    2. Loved “Ladies in Lavender”, have the DVD here, must watch again. As for Charles Dance, I just swooned …

  18. Enjoyable and relatively straightforward apart from two new words for me at 4d and 15d. But 4d had to be what it had to be, and 15d well, I had all the right letters and unlike Eric Morecombe, I managed to get them in the right order!
    I couldn’t pick a particular favourite today
    I don’t think today’s Toughie is any more difficult, if anyone’s interested.

  19. Great puzzle despite never hearing of a couple of the words. Enjoyed the video at the beginning and like DG above spent far too long looking at the panda video and then ran it again for David to see. Thankfully both our Covid tests have come back negative. Have a good holiday MP. Saint Sharon sounds a bit like me – all David has to do is drive the car to the station/airport/Chunnel – everything booked in advance, must be lovely to have a wife – mind you I get to choose the country/accommodation, etc. and I’ve come up with some very obscure places in my time inter alia Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Ethiopia, Libya, all in better times.

  20. Smooth solve once I managed to block Atlas from my mind, but assumed wrongly that 13a was ‘tuck’ (as in a school sweet shop and pinning something down). Very enjoyable thank you Don and MP ( take loads of puzzles for those traffic jams!)

  21. All completed but for 4d and 14a, which for me on a Thursday puzzle is amazing, good job it isn’t a RayT or it would be a different story. Did not find it easy **** ,but enjoyed the challenge . That’s some bbq they’re having in your hint for 25a🥴. Thanks to all.

  22. A nice one from G, quite straightforward by his standards and about average difficultly for a back-pager. Generally good clues and an enjoyable solve. Favourite: 5d 3*, 4*.

  23. As always Giovanni is obsessed with religious subjects. Not one for me. Very objectionable.

    1. One swallow does not a summer make, and neither do two religious references make an obsession.

  24. 4/3. A lot of reverse engineering required to parse my bung-ins. Didn’t finish without help as well. Spent a lot of time with Charles Atlas before some checkers forced a rethink. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  25. A little late this morning due to some delightful socialising, so I’m going to get in the pool before the monsoon starts, I’ll read the comments later, just forgive me if I repeat stuff.
    I usually find Giovanni very difficult, today’s was a pleasant surprise, not easy, just doable and needing hints for a few. There were quite a few anagram gimmes, a great help, e.g., 12d and 25a. I thought 3d was just a straight definition. Our friends at 18a are back again, we only had them a short time ago. New words for me at 4d and 15d. The NW went in so quickly, I was lulled into complacency, fave was 7d.
    Thanks Giovanni, and loved the video M’pops, thank you, the lovely Kath looks so happy there.

  26. Found this hard to get going then the top half was suddenly done. The bottom was decidedly trickier so ***/*** for me today.
    Several new words for me in 3d & 4d
    Favourites today 7a, 8a, 10a, 14a & 20d with 14a winner with 20d a close runner up.

    Thanks to Giovanni and MP

  27. Thanks to Giovanni and to Miffypops for the review and hints. The most difficult puzzle I’ve ever seen. Hadn’t heard of hardly any of it. Completely impenetrable for me. Roll on next week.

  28. A couple of learning points in the downs but clear clues got me there. I enjoyed this, 14a was my favourite but not on first reading it. Thanks to the setter and MP.

  29. After breakfast out, a good walk, followed by a refreshing swim, I was really looking forward to tackling today’s crossword. Oh dear, couldn’t even get close to wavelength. Found a lot of the clues stretched and always dislike use of words such as 4d, which most people will never have come across. My own fault for missing that it was a lurker, but I still wouldn’t have got it. Surely 18a requires an n on the end, if you’re saying “he’s”? And the 20d bodybuilder, well I’ve never seen his name shortened like that, unless it is a different person completely. And yes, I also thought of Charles Atlas and his ads from my youth. Thanks MP, and enjoy the Cornish break.

  30. Completed alone and unaided but it took me ages. And I couldn’t parse quite a few.
    Not keen on 2d, 4d or 5d as they required knowledge of foreign words or expressions.
    Not my favourite puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  31. I’ll get the negative stuff out of the way first. I had to Google 2d, the festival in 5d, 14a and 15d as I’d never heard of them. I had the right answers just never heard of them. Hey ho! Every day’s a school day. Apart from that pretty straightforward and enjoyable. Favourite was 10a. My ‘ounds have leads of the slip variety and, even though it’s a legal requirement to wear a collar, working dogs are exempt so I don’t think I’ve ever put one on any of them in the last 30 years. Thanks to Giovanni and MP. My phone just ‘blinked’ so I can’t post unless I reboot, here goes.

  32. Completed successfully during the day between two Microsoft Teams interviews. No help needed but I enjoyed the hints after the event and the comments. I did not know 2 or 4d but both doable with the checking letters. I guessed I was looking for a cryptic answer to 3d – i.e. a mathematical or some other type iof instrument. It appeared from a part of my brain rarely uncovered. 14 and 16a were last ones in and 7a and 5 and 20d favourites. Thanks Giovanni and MP.

  33. My brother once wrote to Charles Atlas saying ‘I’ve paid and done the course. Please send the muscles to the above address’. No reply sadly…

  34. The images often help on the hints but I think a better one could have been found for a religious building than one with smoke and fire in the background suggesting bombing. I doubt if a church would have been shown like that.

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