DT 29778 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29778 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29778 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Gazza)

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The hard-working Tilsit has been detained in the office once more this morning so I’m providing a few hints to get you started if you’re having problems.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.

Across Clues

1a Vivacity in dancing priest (6)
A straightforward anagram (dancing) of PRIEST.

11a Most ill-advised, if nothing else (9)
Split your answer 5,4 to get ‘most ill-advised’.

12a Contract, massive thing by the sound of it (7)
Contract here is a verb meaning to constrict. The answer sounds like something gigantic.

23a Support in reverse (7)
Double definition, the second a manoeuvre that you may need to carry out if you meet an enormous caravan travelling towards you in one of the very narrow lanes round where I live.

28a Microscopic, quite a few ticks? (6)
For ‘quite a few’ read sixty.

Down Clues

2d Change of mood in jazz-like music? (5)
Double definition, the second a type of easy flowing music played by Glenn Miller (who coincidentally featured the last time I provided the Saturday hints).

5d Under the table, like the ceiling? ()
An informal word for ‘under the table’ or inebriated could also describe the ceiling (and the walls).

7d Chuck quaffing draught is performing a trick (9)
A verb to chuck or throw contains (quaffing) a draught of the gusty sort.

9d Bond money impressing me (6)
Bond here is a verb meaning to join firmly. A monetary unit contains ME.

24d Sleep inside that thing, not suitable (5)
Put a short sleep inside a pronoun identifying ‘that thing’.

The Crossword Club is now open.

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

The Quick Crossword pun: WHISK + KEY + MAC = WHISKY MAC



56 comments on “DT 29778 (Hints)

  1. This was an enjoyable Saturday Prize Puzzle of the customary style, with a faitmr number of straightforward clues (2*/4*). I liked the homiphone at 12a and the double meaning at 23a. My COTD, however, was the well misdirected 13a. Thanks to the compiler for a lightly enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza for stepping into the breach to do the hints.

  2. Nice and gentle, particularly after yesterday’s head scratcher, but enjoyable all the same.
    If I’m parsing 14a correctly shouldn’t it read “I’m to put in” rather than “I am to put in?”
    I rather liked the two quaint phrases in the South along with Gazza’s well illustrated 5d.
    Thanks to the setter and super sub Gazza for the fun.

    1. No I think that is deliberate as I have seen it before. Just makes it slightly harder, but not much.

  3. Tough but finished without the hints. Some nice misdirections and learnt a new word in 14a.
    Surprisingly enjoyable given the degree of difficulty.
    Thx to all

  4. This was certainly one of the more straightforward offerings of the week, which should please many solvers after the relative difficulties expressed yesterday. Nothing too obscure or difficult in this grid. 13 and 19a tied for my top spot this morning.

    Thanks to both our Saturday setter and Gazza.

  5. After the travails of the last couple of days nowt to tax the little grey cells here. Pleasant enough & nicely clued though all done & dusted in short order. The only pitfall for me might have been my inclination to spell the 4th letter of 15d with a different vowel which I always think looks right despite knowing full well that it’s not. Favourite today was the Quickie pun – a must on the golf course on a cold winter’s day.
    Thanks to the setter & Gazza for subbing.
    Ps – A nice Brendan prize puzzle in the Graun & hopefully a NTSPP puzzle that’s a wee bit more challenging

    1. I believe that today’s NTSPP is one of Radler’s so I’m pretty sure that your hope for something more challenging will be fulfilled.

      1. Just seen that – guess it’ll be a case of be careful what you wish for though I did specify wee bit to be fair…

    2. Thanks re 15d, of course, I did the same even though I know better and couldn’t see the “why”.

    3. Not many people realise that 15 down is often mispronounced?
      I’ve lost count of how many mispronounce it!!

  6. I agree with most of the above, a very mild Saturday offering. However, I couldn’t quite parse the first half of 15d.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Gazza.

    1. Enjoyable and pretty straightforward, I always want to put the wrong second Vowel in 15d. Making it a sort of plural 60s skirt instead of a negative which the correct vowel makes it. Does that help? And keep me off the naughty step.

      1. Thanks T5, that explains it. In fact both versions are acceptable but according to the BRB mine was “non-standard”.

        1. I went wrong on the second vowel of 15d too and guess a lot of solvers will do the same. Problem is that it does not affect the answer to any other clues, but it does not fit the word play,

  7. Very straightforward but fun. Three of the four quarters were straight in with not even a working out on the paper. I then spent longer on the NE than the rest put together. I’m out at the moment so cannot recall the numbers although I think 4d was one. Good to parse and finished before my groceries were delivered. It was the exact opposite of yesterday which I did in dribs and drabs and finished the last two this morning. Thank you setter and Gazza for stepping in. Happily I think most will manage without hints today but always good to read.

  8. Good for a newbie to learn some old chestnuts.

    I take it that the woman in the photo has recently returned to the office after getting used to working at home during lockdown?

  9. 2.5*/3.5*. I’m in the same boat as Weekend Wanda – straightforward apart from the NE corner which took a bit of teasing out, and good fun.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for stepping into the hinter’s role today.

  10. Huntsman, I’ve always spelt the fourth letter of 15d with a different vowel. When I submitted this puzzle on the iPad it told me I had one wrong answer. So I googled the word and found that it can be spelt with either vowel. News to me. All plain sailing apart from that. **/*** Favourite 13a. Thanks to all.

    1. I was in the same boat. See responses above. I never queried it at the time but the alternative cannot be the right answer as it does not give us a “negative thing”. Very crafty of the setter.

  11. Lovely puzzle that made up for my miserable performance yesterday. Finished unaided but I only had five after the first pass and my last in, 8d, nearly defeated me until the penny hit the floor. Plenty to like and admire but my absolute favourite and COTD is 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for stepping in for the overworked Tilsit.

  12. Enjoyed this a lot, especially after the last couple of days. I thought I must have the wrong answer for 19a and I couldn’t make a shop out of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th letters! I’ve only just realised what I was doing wrong. Not heard of 14a before. You certainly learn a lot from this wonderful site so thanks to all. Favourites today 12 and 13.

    1. Yes such an easy mistake with a particular letter in two possible places! Like you i had assumed too much. Your comment save me going bit mad!

  13. Hurrah for a straightforward puzzle, with neither oriental dynasties nor Ottoman emperors in sight. Finished unaided. Hurrah again!
    Splendid puzzle – a joy to solve.

    Off to Stamford Bridge to watch our beloved Chelsea take on the Villa.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.


  14. Learned something new when I looked up my answers to 14a & 15d – every day’s a school day!
    Top three here were 11,13&21a.

    Thanks to our setter and to Gazza for stepping into the breach once more.

  15. Very enjoyable and another puzzle that is just about right for a SPP – 2.5*/4*.

    Using my very unreliable setter detector system, I am inclined to say that this is a NY Doorknob production. I don’t think that he has put in an appearance on a Saturday for a while and, mostly based on the Quickie particularly a 13 letter anagram, I think this is he. But I might be/probably am wrong.

    I started with the ‘wrong’ fourth letter in 15d but corrected it before submission. Interestingly, the BRB gives an old-fashioned ‘rap across the knuckles with a ruler’ by describing the incorrect version as ‘non-standard spelling’ of the correct version.

    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 5d, and 24d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to NY Doorknob or the ‘real’ setter and to Gazza.

  16. Straightforward for the SPP I thought – postbag should be full this week.
    Nothing obscure, a pleasant start to the day, which is more than an be said for the early morning weather.
    13a my COTD.
    Thanks to setter (hopeless at identifying but Chalicea?)and Gazza for doing the honours with the hints.

  17. Unlike many bloggers I haven’t struggled with last two days’ puzzles and found today’s similarly quite friendly with just a slight hiccup in NW. 4d seems to have made several recent appearances. Desire in 16d confused me a bit. 5d amused but 13a definitely Fav once weave and altered had been sorted. Thank you Mysteron and particularly Gazza for being there for us once more. Quickie pun – mmm!

  18. Despite never having heard of 14a this was as straightforward as they come. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  19. Finished unaided but did struggle over the weave and the shop until the penny dropped. I read Gazza’s hints to see if I had missed anything, how fortunate we are that people are able to step into the breach! Thanks also to the setter. Another happy week in Crossword land and I had a letter published this week and at the moment the sun is shining. I’m back into the garden to collect hazelnuts. Have a good weekend everyone, and all best wishes to Kath.

    1. Loads of hazelnuts in the hedgerows around us but the farmers have just cut the hedges. All gone!

      1. Oh that’s a pity! What about sloes? I always like to make sloe gin. I spent a very happy hour in the garden gathering nuts, partly because I love them toasted and chopped on my porridge and partly to stop the long tailed grey rats with good publicity from burying them all over the garden then digging up in all the wrong places.

        1. We didn’t have any gin in the house last year but we did have a bottle of whisky……so made sloe whisky instead….delicious! A very nice Christmas toddy, we’ll be doing the same this year!

        2. Plenty of sloes and damsons and these will be gathered and mixed with various spirits and sugar in time for Christmas. 👍

    2. Congratulations on having a letter published, Daisygirl. I missed it the first time round, so have looked it up.

      I’m guessing that ground elder isn’t like ground cinnamon or ground pepper?

  20. I liked 5d. It’s because those finishing the ceiling imbibed a lot and became 5d that the expression came into general usage. I do hope sharing this bit of fascinating information doesn’t put me on the naughty step!

  21. A relatively easy puzzle for today with the odd twist and trick here and there. 2.5*/*** today.
    Favourites include 11a, 27a, 5d, 7d & 18d with winner 18d

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  22. I enjoyed today’s SPP and was surprised to hear that 15d could be spelled otherwise. Over here, any spelling other than the correct one in the grid is considered incorrect by us English teachers. We do live and learn. No particular favourite, just an overall pleasurable outing. Thanks to Gazza and to today’s setter. ** / ***

    1. I agree, didn’t know there’s an alternate spelling. I just thought I was being sloppy, good to know I wasn’t!

  23. Thought it was going to be more tricky than it turned out to be on the first skim through, all falling into place reasonably smoothly.

    A pleasant but unremarkable puzzle. COTD 12a.

    2* / 2*

    Many thanks to the Setter, and to Gazza.

  24. Loved this, so much more friendly than yesterday, all solved by me except for 13a which I had wrong and Gazza hadn’t hinted, fortunately Angellove’s comment set me right. . Sorry Weekend Wanda, I went to the hints a little early to get help, I need to get things done before the tennis starts, I’m a bit late starting today and must get some exercise!
    Thank you setter, I agree, feels like NY Doorknob, loads of fun. Gazza to the rescue again, thanks for that, you’re a star.

  25. Thank goodness for that….I thought I’d lost my crosswording mojo after yesterday’s Zandio and Wednesday’s Jay. This was a delight and reasonably straightforward. Thanks to Gazza for the hints (although not needed today) and to the setter.

  26. What a treat for a Saturday, very much enjoyed. It was a crossword of two halves for me. After a break at the halfway point, the rest went in without problem, with last in being 25a. Thanks to setter and to Gazza for stepping into the breach.

  27. After the last two days that left me in DNF camp, which really rattled me, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Like most of the commenters above I toyed with the vowel in 15d but it had to be what it is to parse the answer. Thank you to Gazza for stepping in to the breach and to our setter. Now for the tennis….

  28. Very enjoyable if straightforward puzzle today.
    Worth doing just for the fantastic misdirection of 13a , my COTD by a country mile.

  29. I only completed about half of this yesterday as I had other distractions, had another look this morning and they all slotted into place. I had the fourth letter of 15d wrong and was wondering where the extra s came from, a quick read through the comments and then a reread of the hint made it all clear. Thanks to all.

  30. Completed unaided, LOI and COTD 8d, which was a PDM while I was making the morning tea. Discovered from DaveG above that I also had the 5th letter of 15d wrong so I suppose it was not quite completed unaided. Some interesting tricky clues and this puzzle was a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks to setter and to Gazza for taking over the hints.

  31. Wearing the dunce’s cap – must do better! Unlike others found this one a bit of a struggle and needed a bit of external help to finish.
    Did like 15d however did think the 4th letter was different.

  32. Only started this yesterday as daughter was taken into hospital late last week. She’s out now and on the mend thankfully. A pleasant challenge although I did get held up in north east corner by having Mocha as my answer to 6d which I was convinced was right! Also found myself losing the spelling bee contest with 15d. COTD for me 5d.

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