DT 29786 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29786

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29786

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I'm busy making slides for a program review on Thursday, so less time than usual was available to search for amusing pictures to illustrate clues or answers. Which is a shame because this nice puzzle deserves great pictures. It feels to me like the work of our friend X-Type. 

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    Pass Yuri notes on vacation, scrambled, to reach me? (7,3)
RUSSIAN SPY:  The wordplay is an anagram (scrambled) of PASS YURI and the outer letters (on vacation) of NOTES. The entire clue can serve as the definition

6a    Types of protection from backing dodgy scheme (4)
MACS:  the reversal (backing) of a dodgy scheme 

9a    Officer journalist managed (5)
COPED:  And informal word for an officer of the law with the usual abbreviation for journalist or editor 

10a   Landmark developing slime, note (9)
MILESTONE:  An anagram (developing) of SLIME NOTE 

12a   Seizing the moment, redeployed troops with Putin in charge (13)
OPPORTUNISTIC:  An anagram (redeployed) of TROOPS PUTIN followed by the abbreviation for in charge

14a   Peacekeepers having time and particular approach to sort things out (8)
UNTANGLE:  Link together the abbreviation for a peacekeeping organisation, the physics symbol for time, and a particular approach or viewpoint 

15a   On the radio, ongoing saga that's produced by farmers (6)
CEREAL:  A homophone (on the radio) of an ongoing saga that could be presented on the radio or on TV 

17a   Bussed -- only just made contact (6)
KISSED:  A double definition.  Something that snooker balls can do is also described archaically by bussed

19a   Creatures go to river, sick with arsenic (8)
GORILLAS:  Assemble GO from the clue,  the map abbreviation for river, sick or unwell, and the chemical symbol for arsenic

21a   Plan European run, following light aircraft's journey? (7,6)
CHARTER FLIGHT:  Join together a plan or diagram, the single letter for European, the cricket abbreviation for runs, the single letter for following, and LIGHT from the clue 

24a   Everything is about some girl: Lily? (9)
AMARYLLIS:  Wrap a synonym of everything and IS from the clue about a girl's name 

25a   Passport, maybe, on British island, showing particular expression (5)
IDIOM:  What a passport defines by example (maybe) with the abbreviation for an island in the Irish Sea 

26a   Rather dull  chap (4)
MATT:  Dull in appearance is also a male name 

27a   Fruit obtained from eco-friendly measures (not universal) (10)
GREENGAGES:  A colour signifying eco-friendly is followed by some measuring instruments minus the abbreviation for universal (not universal)



1d    Right cold stuff: sort of 15 (4)
RICE:  The single letter for right with some cold watery stuff. The answer is an example of the answer to 15a 

2d    Stand and drink strong wine (7)
SUPPORT:  Follow a synonym of drink with a fortified wine

3d    Denny piled ten awkwardly, without assistance (13)
INDEPENDENTLY:  An anagram (awkwardly) of DENNY PILED TEN 

4d    Items found on a face, miners taking ages left inside (8)
NUMERALS:  An abbreviation for an organisation of miners is followed by a synonym of ages containing the single letter for left (left inside

5d    Type of 1 Down, first of all planted in Latin America: Uruguay (5)
PILAU:  The initial letters (first of all … ) of the remaining words in the clue 

7d    Follower getting a job with the French (7)
APOSTLE:  Put together A from the clue, another word for job, and "the" in French 

8d    Maybe autocue not working -- unable to talk (10)
SPEECHLESS:  A whimsical description of how someone at a lectern might end up if the autocue isn't working is also a word that means unable to talk or lost for words

11d   Singing in pelt: awfully exciting! (5-8)
SPINE-TINGLING:  An anagram (awfully) of SINGING IN PELT 

13d   Fortunate spell -- brought on by this? (5,5)
LUCKY CHARM:  The wordplay is a synonym of fortunate followed by a spell or enchantment. The whole clue can serve as the definition 

16d   Dignity of knight with zero honour, last to capitulate (8)
NOBLESSE:  Chain together the chess abbreviation for knight, the letter that looks like zero, a verb meaning give honour or glory, and the last letter to CAPITULATE 

18d   Two creatures together that might stop leaks (7)
SEALANT:  A sea-going mammal and a worker insect 

20d   Permitting  the renting of properties (7)
LETTING:  A straightforward double definition 

22d   One in charge  giving good measure? (5)
RULER:  A word for a person in charge is also a device that measures length

23d   Member within is showing wicked things (4)
IMPS:  The abbreviation for a Member of Parliament is placed within IS from the clue 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clues for me included 1a, 2d, 4d, 8d, and 13d. Which ones did you like best?


66 comments on “DT 29786

  1. I did not need to look beyond 1a for my favourite clue this morning. The whole grid was a pleasure to solve, with nothing obscure or too difficult. Great fun.

    Thanks to X-Type, if it is indeed one of yours, and to Mr K for another comprehensive review.

    1. Yes, it is I – X-Type! One small correction to Mr K’s otherwise excellent review…the anagram indicator in 11dn is “awfully” and the definition is “exciting”…Thanks for your comments so far, everyone – but as usual, it seems that I can’t please everybody: some liked it, some weren’t overly enthusiastic (I suppose you’re either on my wavelength or you’re not: but no matter). BTW: the inclusion of the word “light” in 21ac was not being lazy – it was part of the (as I thought, witty?) construction of the clue, thus making it read as “light aircraft”…Hey Ho! See you next month.

      1. Thank you X- type for a wizard puzzle! My proudest moment was parsing 24a correctly I see from MrK as I am hopeless on horticulture and I thought your best clue was 4d although I too enjoyed 1a which did take me into ** time. A very nice Tuesday *** puzzle. Writing this on the Cawsand ferry on yet another Indian Summer Devon day.

      2. Thanks for commenting, X-Type, and thanks for a fun puzzle to solve and to blog. I’ve fixed the typo in 11d.

        1. So totally with you on that comment- made me laugh out loud. Thank you Merusa and Mr K whose definitions I needed for a few clues. Also thanks to X-Type.

  2. To be honest this didn’t do a lot for me, just seemed to lack a bit of sparkle and misdirection. Wasn’t keen on 24a but did like the clever 1a and 13d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  3. This was a curate’s egg of a puzzle. I enjoyed the anagrams and was grateful for them because they allowed me to obtain a lot of the checkers. Some of the more difficult clues were cryptic definitions, in which I was reduced to guesswork and reverse engineering to work out the parsing. it was a 2.5* for difficuly and just a 3* for enjoyment because of the quality of the anagrams. Thank you to Mt K for the hints and to the compiler.

  4. Light and gentle, nothing taxing and so all pretty straightforward. I dislike cross-referenced clues at the best of times (though admittedly there are no best of times when it comes to cross-referenced clues) and groaned on seeing the links between 15a, 1d and 5d.

    However despite starting in an irritable mood I enjoyed the puzzle, with the exception of 21a which I felt was below par for this set of clues – including light in the clue felt a bit lazy. Hon Mentions to 8d and 15a, COTD to 24a.


    Thank you to the setter & to Mr K for the review.

  5. Not my scene – too many anagrams. Abbreviations like 6a a bit mundane. 16d fun to work out. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  6. An enjoyable straight forward solve and a **/*** as per Mr K-great cat pics to boot!’I wondered what the definition in 1a could be described as, well thought out Mr K!
    Liked the wordplay of 21a, favourites was 24a -show me the way to it as the song goes!
    Runner up 25a for brevity.
    Top draw Quickie Pun.Thanks setter for the ride.

  7. Like CC I thought this a curate’s egg with some good clues (1a, 24a &16d) and some I didn’t like (21a & 8d). Mostly a pretty straightforward solve though, ** difficulty & fun factor.
    16d is my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & Mr K. Although you may have been pushed for time no one can complain as to the quantity of cats / kittens today!

    1. Your experiences with Hermes made me smile. I have no idea what the point of their “bots” is. As you say, useless. More often than not, I get an email to say my parcel has been delivered when they haven’t been anywhere near my house! Occasionally, it will turn up a couple of days later unannounced. Sometimes it disappears for ever. Always a lottery. The couriers get paid per delivery so they often make it up.

      1. Greta,
        “Smile” is not a word I associate with Hermes.
        Answer to “Sent by Hermes (4)” is “lost” as far as we are concerned.

  8. Just started. I hope to be on the Island in 25a this time next week but not sure whether it can properly be called British.

  9. Took a bit of unravelling for me but it was fun doing so and I finished unaided. Like others I found some clues a bit iffy but these were counterbalanced with really good clues such as 19a. 20d was so obvious I didn’t see it for ages because I spent too long searching for complications. Just goes to show the KISS principle works! COTD for me is 24a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thanks also to Mr K for the hints and all the kitties. Great!

  10. Loved the blog Mr K, no reduction in quality detectable to me. Also enjoyed the puzzle. Just right amount of difficulty for me and I found it quite upbeat. Thankyous to X-Type and to Mr K for doing this despite being short of time. I couldn’t understand 17a but now I do.

  11. For some reason I struggled to get on the right wavelength today although the clues were not difficult. Just one of those days.
    No standout clues but not keen on 6a, bit clumsy imho.
    Perhaps best thought of as an OK crossword at least for me.
    Thx to all

    1. PS never heard of the termed Bussed (17a) before although it is in the BRB. Is this a crossword thing that is new to me?

      1. I’m pretty sure it crops up in Shakespeare, Brian. I couldn’t tell you where but I expect CC or CS can.

  12. Another very enjoyable typically Tuesday puzzle – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 27a, 4d, and 8d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to X-Type and Mr K.

  13. I’m not a fan of cross referenced clues either but at least these were clear enough. I didn’t know the chemical symbol for arsenic so the answer now makes sense. Thanks Mr.K. I suppose I could have looked it up but It takes away any enjoyment to sit and work these puzzles out with a reference book to hand. 21a didn’t really work for me. I liked 11d and 27a but my favourite today is 24a. Thanks to all.

  14. Enjoyed the puzzle. Finished in good time but had to check Google for 24a
    I cannot see the definition in 1a. the wordplay and checkers brought the answer but apart from the name, Yuri, helping with the first word I can’t see why the answer relates to the clue.

  15. Whoosh then lingering for too long over 16d until the penny dropped.
    Very satisfying throughout.
    Loved the lengthy anagrams and their crafty indicators.
    So, **/*****
    Many thanks, X-Type and Mr.K

  16. After fighting all morning with, to me, a particularly difficult Toughie, the simplicity of this was a joy.
    I suppose I should return to the fray and have another go at the Toughie but I’ll finish my pink gin and tonic first!

  17. Terrific puzzle, in my opinion (though I note the mixed reviews above). Solved unaided which is always a highlight for me.
    No in depth knowledge of the Greek pantheon required. No Turkic dynasties.

    I do wish the M25 protesters would take up a more satisfying pursuit (like the Telegraph crosswords) rather than selfishly causing misery to half of the south of England.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Canteloube – Chants d’Auvergne.

    Thanks to X-Type and The Celebrated Mr. K.

    1. Love your choice of music – fave Bailero, bliss!
      I knew you’d love this puzzle, note my mpost above. Sorry about including you in the silly sector!

    2. I agree re the silly people sitting on the M25. I would be so frustrated if I was held up by them on the motorway. But I’d be even more frustrated with the police who just aren’t policing, aren’t arresting them immediately for obstruction.

  18. Took a bit longer than yesterday and did not give as much pleasure. Once I had the first letter 17a had to be what it is but did not know the term. Mostly swiftly in save for 1a and 4d. I don’t know why 4d took me so long. Nearly resorted to the hint for 1a but resisted and got there in the end. OK Yuri is a Russian name but how to get to the spy I don’t know. Is the compiler ‘me’ a Russian spy. Favourites 14a and 13and 18d. Just wondering if we have any residents of the Island at 25a amongst our members. I’m just going through the formalities to be let in! Thanks X Type and Mr K.

  19. I cannot see the little darlings sitting down to do a crossword Terence – not enough conflict involved. Nice thought though. Nice crossword, swiftly completed, off now to Book Group where we shall discuss our health, the Archers, the latest books and I’ll tell them I have just read the most charming little book The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. Translated from the French it is a delightful read. Thanks to setter and Mr K and the cats.

    1. Hello, Radical. I try to use UK English here, but since the sponsor is US and the money comes in dollars the review is definitely concerned with a research program.

  20. Went out to meet a friend for lunch before the review was available but I did solve this one quite quickly over breakfast. Only pause came when the checkers I had in place for 4d led me to ‘nostrils’ which didn’t seem quite right! Fortunately, I didn’t fill it in until 1a fell.
    Favourite was the succinct 7d with a nod to the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to X-Type and to Mr K whose ‘hurried’ reviews are every bit as good as any others that we get!

  21. I rather breezed through this very fine puzzle after labouring mightily over the Toughie last night. Despite the demurrals of a few, I enjoy cross-referenced grids; it must be because the NYT and LAT setters have so conditioned me. 1a gets my nod as the COTD, and I also liked 24a and 8d. Thanks to Mr K and X-Type. 1.5* / 3*

    Autumn is coming in tomorrow to a rain-soaked Carolina coast. We are almost 10 inches over the annual norm here in Charleston.

    1. It hasn’t stopped raining here in Tennessee for several days. I was chatting last week with my Mum, rather smugly pointing out that the weather is much drier, warmer and generally more cheerful than London here….maybe not.

      As far as the puzzle is concerned, nothing too tricky and an enjoyable solve.

      Thanks to Mr K and X-Type

    2. I bet you had no problem with 2A!
      We have had no rain since April, and that’s my excuse for it being my last one in.

  22. An excellent Tuesday puzzle. **/**** Thanks to X-type and Mr K whose illustrations never fail to amuse.

  23. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle and quite a few clues made me smile once I’d solved them. Difficult to choose a favourite as I liked all of them but I’ll plump for 11d. As a general comment, doing these crosswords has helped keep me (relatively) sane through these unnerving last 18 months or so.
    Many thanks to X-Type and to Mr K.

  24. Very enjoyable. Thanks to setter and Mr K and I’m sure his pictures pleased the cat lovers. Perfect for a sunny day – out cycling all day – returning to a steady and amused solve. Agree about 1a too.

  25. Very nice crossword 😃 **/**** Favourites, there were so many, were 24 & 25 across and 18d 🤗 Thanks to Mr K and to X-Type

  26. Loved it, perfect puzzle for me, all completed without help, not even a spell check. Hard to choose a fave, maybe a tossup between 19a and 24a.
    Thanks X-Type, you’ve got a fan here, and to Mr. K for my cat fix, such a bunch of cuties!

  27. Late start on this one today. Took a while to get going with top half easier than bottom for me. **/****
    Some nice clues with favourites 6a, 21a, 24a, 25a &11d with winners tied … 6a & 25a
    Only clue I question is 26a as the answer as it stands needs to have an ‘e’ at the end to fit the clue … but then again it is in the BRB so it is just the way I spell it
    Just my two ‘penneth worth.

    Thanks to X-Type and Mr K

  28. Solved on my way into London this morning and good fun whilst it lasted. One of the definitions in 17a was new to me. Thanks to X-Type and Mr K.

  29. I was in a bad mood over breakfast as my paper hadn’t been delivered this morning. I then left to play cricket and hoped to return to find my paper, but it’s still not here!

    Could some kind soul please email me a pdf copy of today’s back-pager so I can tackle it this evening?

      1. Thanks very much, Gazza, and also to Senf. Both your emails arrived within minutes of each other.

        Now I have something to do in the bath!

  30. Another very enjoyable puzzle. I did put in the wrong items in 4d but soon realized my mistake, and thought 1a was rather odd. Had to smile at 26a. Thanks to X -type and Mr K for brightening a very wet, hot wind humid day here in South Florida.

  31. Thanks X-Type & Mr K. The west side went in quickly (for me). But I needed help with some of the East side. I found the idea of bless in 16d being an honour hard to understand.

  32. Perfectly straightforward apart from the three in the NE, which took a while. I too was drawn towards nostrils but obviously couldn’t parse it, 10a put paid to that idea. Never heard of the first definition of 17a, I have now, and didn’t know that 24a was a lily but I’m no gardener. Favourite was 8d, my last in. Thanks to X-Type and Mr. K. My phone has just ‘blinked’ yet again so I suspect a reboot required. Yep!

  33. Thanks setter, very enjoyable, light and well clued.
    Nothing stood out particularly, but I did enjoy 24a, beautiful flowers.
    Thanks both.

  34. 1.5*/3.5*. That didn’t take long but I enjoyed it a lot apart from the vague girl in 24a.

    Nice to see the generally brief cluing, and 7d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to X-Type and to Mr K.

  35. Yes, great puzzle – only slight hiccup was 17a, as like Brian I didn’t know the word….otherwise plain sailing but good fun all the way through

  36. Found this a lot more difficult than yesterday’s, took me into *** time. 1a had to be what it was but still can’t see the connection. Bussed to me means transport and nothing fitted so I googled it, never heard it used in that way before. 15a also slowed me down as I was trying to think of names of sagas🙄. 11d was the last one in, realised it was an anagram but nothing came to mind until I started to read the hint then the penny dropped. Enjoyed the challenge and the hints so thanks to all.

  37. Very enjoyable. The last three words of 1a clue left me scratching my head even though the answer was clear. 16d was my COTD. Lots to like: 4d a lovely clue and 11d is a great word in its own right. Thank you to X-Type and to Mr K for the notes and kittens. 1.5*/3.5*

    1. Strange that 1a divided opinions so much. Those that understood the “&Lit” type of construction of the clue got it and enjoyed it: those that don’t know how “&Lit” works, struggled to understand where the definition was…. For those not aware of this cluing style – see various textbooks, including Don Manley’s work. It means that the whole clue is “literally” the definition as well as the breakdown of the clue’s construction. So, reading the whole thing as one long definition should lead to the subject of the clue – ie, the “Foreign Agent” [I won’t give the answer here, in case some solvers are late to it and don’t want a “spoiler”.] Hope that helps?

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