DT 29791 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29791

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29791

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa, where the brisk weather and the leaves starting to change colour show that autumn has clearly arrived.

As is typical with a Campbell puzzle, I got off to a very quick start but then had a good workout through the middle section before the help provided by checking letters allowed me to pick up the pace toward the end.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Exceptionally good curiosities left (10)
PHENOMENAL — an unusual happening followed by L(eft)

6a   Closely examine small container for storing film (4)
SCAN — S(mall) and a container for film (or many other things)

9a   Talk about European do (5)
CHEAT — talk informally wrapped around E(uropean) giving another term for do or scam

10a   Always heard after goal or try (9)
ENDEAVOUR — a word fragment that sounds like a synonym for always follows a goal or objective

12a   What may cause danger if tossed by first to enter? (7)
GRENADE — an anagram (if tossed) of DANGER followed by the first letter of Enter; this is a semi-all-in-one clue in which the entire clue is a cryptic definition and the wordplay is embedded in it

13a   Concede match (5)
AGREE — double definition

15a   Take back pamphlet produced by Royal Engineers (7)
RETRACT — a pamphlet (often of a religious nature) follows the usual military engineers

16a   Please pay in full (7)
SATISFY — double definition

18a   Titled lady expected endless game (7)
DUCHESS — a word denoting expected with its final letter removed and the game of kings

20a   Intimidate a Parisian with bottle (7)
UNNERVE — a French indefinite article preceding bottle or bravado

21a   On which notes may be written for workforce (5)
STAFF — double definition; the first being where composers would jot down their notes

23a   Witty response from Republican that is passed round office (7)
RIPOSTE — R(epublican) followed by the abbreviated Latin for ‘that is’ enveloping an office or position of employment give a piercing retort

25a   Artist imprisoned by a bitter travelling judge (9)
ARBITRATE — the usual Royal Academician inside the A from the clue and an anagram (travelling) of BITTER

26a   Find expression? Only part of it in list (5)
INDEX — hidden (only part of it) in the first two words in the clue

27a   Information: a small amount brought back (4)
DATA — a reversal of the A from the clue and a colloquial term for a small amount

28a   Year in orchestra — great, on the whole (2,3,5)
BY AND LARGE — Y(ear) in another name for an orchestra followed by great or big


1d   What sounds like full agreement (4)
PACT — this sounds like full to the point of excess (like nightclubs may have been pre-COVID)

2d   Full of beans in Greece, mad about temperature (9)
ENERGETIC — an anagram (mad) of IN GREECE holding T(emperature)

3d   Where playing card displays pips, seemingly? (2,3,4,2,2)
ON THE FACE OF IT — the answer taken literally could describe on which side of a playing card the pips appear

4d   Stylish article written after member appears in film (7)
ELEGANT — append a grammatical article to a body member and place the result in a Spielberg opus

5d   Lecture a daughter over clothes (7)
ADDRESS — link together the A from the clue, D(aughter) and the article of clothing she may be wearing

7d   Group of singers sing endlessly about love (5)
CHOIR — sing like a bird without its final letter containing a nil score in tennis

8d   Guys taking care of blossoming business? (10)
NURSERYMEN — cryptic definition of some professional green thumbs

11d   A tense adult partnership, until now going nowhere (2,1,10)
AT A STANDSTILL — weld together the A from the clue, a grammatical tense, an Adult film classification, a cricket partnership, and an adverb denoting until now or yet

14d   Bishop and I disarmed desperate female holding up a train? (10)
BRIDESMAID — the chess notation for bishop followed by an anagram (desperate) of I DISARMED

17d   Almost certain to provide yield (9)
SURRENDER — a synonym for certain with its final letter removed and a word meaning to provide a service

19d   Like some bacon, variable in quality (7)
STREAKY — double definition

20d   Lots devoured by plump teenager (7)
UMPTEEN — the second lurker today, this one hiding in the final two words of the clue

22d   A British book on Old Testament religious leader (5)
ABBOT — a charade of the A from the clue, B(ritish), B(ook) and the earlier books of the Bible

24d   Rod‘s large cutting tool (4)
AXLE — L(arge) embedded in (cutting) a tool (which just also happens to be a cutting tool)

There are lots of stellar clues today. A couple that appeal to me are 12a and 14d, with the latter being my pick of the litter.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): BRAY + KNEE + AXE = BRAINIACS

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : TAY + BULL + WEAR = TABLEWARE

74 comments on “DT 29791

  1. I took some time with this as I found it not as straight forward as other Monday offerings. I’m not too sure where the desperate female comes into 14d unless all 14s down are considered to be desperate, which is unlikely to me. I also cannot see why the game in 18a is “endless”. Still, there were plenty of good clues to mull over giving the grey matter some exercise, which led to an unaided finish. My COTD is 3d, which gave a great PDM.

    My thanks to Campbell for the challenge and tanks to Falcon for the hints.

      1. Perhaps it was unconsciously done ( and I’m sure desperate is the anagram indicator) but it looks like a double entendre with a nod to the old chestnut, ‘ always the bridesmaid, never the bride”.

  2. I enjoyed this. It came together nicely but required thought in places. 14d was my favourite clue. Thanks to Falcon and today’s setter.

  3. Excellent, by some distance the best Monday puzzle that I can remember.
    I really liked several including the clever 12a and the succinct 16a but top spot goes to the brilliant 10a.
    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the top notch entertainment.

  4. A light Monday delight, both enjoyable and amusing (1*/4*), thos ouzzle is further proof that a decent puzzle doesn’t have to be a brain burner. I enjoyed the charades at 10a and 11d but the saucy nisdirexted anagram at 14d was my COTD because it made me laugh. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle

  5. A nice easy start to the week’s crossword solving – my particular favourite was the desperate female in 14d

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  6. Enjoyable while it lasted, with this as ever very good Campbell week-opener. He really does provide the ideal Monday fare.

    COTD the outstanding 14d – a superb surface read and laugh-out-loud moment. Others near to the podium were 9a, 10a, 1d and 8d.

    1.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Campbell, and to Falcon.

  7. All done & dusted in 1.5* time & thoroughly enjoyable for the short time it lasted. Another vote for 14d as pick of the crop with honourable mentions for 10&12a along with 3&17d.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers

  8. A very gentle introduction to the week, as is the GK today. All completed in ** time.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  9. Enjoyed this a lot and not too difficult. However 1a and 1d held me up for quite a while at the end. Went to a lovely lunch party yesterday and crosswords, and this site in particular, came up. I read out yesterday’s 5d clue from my phone which I thought was just brilliant. When I explained the answer and how to get it I was faced with completely blank expressions – they were incredulous that someone could be so absolutely bonkers as to enjoy untangling such stuff. They are missing out on so much. Thanks to the setter and Falcon

    1. It’s been quite a while since I saw anybody tackling a crossword puzzle. I’m sure solving on tablets and such devices is on the increase and rightly taking the place of actual newspapers but even so the pen and paper brigade are missing from our pubs, our railway carriages and our hotel lobbies. Although I’m told that The Nursery Tavern in Coventry has a crossword corner that meets up in the late afternoon early evening time

      1. I am sure you are right MP and it does grieve me the amount of paper we throw out each week. I wish we could elect not to have certain inserts – I could do without that huge Luxury magazine! But I have to confess to enjoying holding a pen and doodling all round the edges, pick up and put down until the brainwave strikes.

      2. There is nothing so satisfying as filling in the grid with a nice pen ( not pencil) I enjoy my phone and iPad but for a crossword? Never!

  10. A comfortable start to the puzzling week. Nothing too obscure at all. Thanks to Campbell for the workout and Falcon for the review. I feel a batch of piccalilli coming on. I only short of the cauliflower.

  11. Needed the hints for a couple but found this very enjoyable. Favourites were 3d and 10a (very appropriate photo to go with the hint).

    Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  12. A gentle stroll in the main although I did need checkers in place to get 1a and am far more familiar with the alternative spelling of 21a.
    Podium places went to 10,12&28a plus 14d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.
    PS Didn’t know the word used in the top line Quickie pun – it would seem from the BRB entry that I simply didn’t read the required comic!

    1. My music teacher at school was English, fresh out of old Blighty, and she always called it a staff. I think I’ve heard it called a stave but not too sure.

  13. A nice start to the week although I found it a little more difficult to get into than most Mondays 🤔 but the two phrases were a help 😃 ***/**** Favourites 10a & 25a. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell 🤗

  14. I’ll join the majority in choosing 14d as the top clue in this very 4d puzzle. Thoroughly enjoyable and a great start to the week. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. 1.5*/4*

  15. 2*/4* for a lovely start to the week.

    I’m not sure why 6a needs “for storing film”. Wouldn’t it work just as well without?

    I thought of Kath as soon as I saw 10a and I do hope she is making progress. Perhaps seeing the picture in Falcon’s review will lift her spirits.

    Four clues make it onto my podium today: 10a, 12a, 11d & 14d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    1. To remind me of one of the Times Championships when I had to explain to a much younger fellow contestant about film being kept in tins!

    2. RD, 6a. I have to agree that it would be fine without “for storing film” – a bit of familiar GK unnecessarily tagged on to the end of the clue. But, because it is generally germane, probably not “gratuitous padding”.

  16. Solved alone and unaided and could parse all but 11d.
    I am slowly getting better at Campbell’s puzzles, thank goodness, but not yet really there.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  17. Surprised to see *** as I sailed straight through today without pausing. I expect that means I won’t get anywhere with the toughie!

  18. A slower than usual start for a Monday puzzle to the point that I began to wonder if Campbell was taking a day off. But, once I got going there were no significant problems and the multiple Quickie Puns showed that it was our usual Monday setter – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 28a, and 1d – and the winner is 28a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  19. A lovely puzzle from the Master of Monday.

    We went to Lincolnshire for the weekend. It took us six hours to get there – including two hours searching the south of England for a garage with petrol. We were on the point of giving up when H said let’s try one last place – a miracle, they had petrol! Then we sat in a queue for forty-five minutes before we reached the pump. An ‘interesting’ experience.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  20. I thought 12a and 14d were both terrific clues and worthy co-winners of my COTD award. I reckon the ever reliable Campbell took his skills to a new level with this puzzle, and I really enjoyed the whole grid, top to bottom.

    My thanks to the aforementioned and to Falcon. We managed to find some unleaded petrol at the Services near Cirencester on the M4 this morning which made our journey home that much more enjoyable. Three services that we passed on four motorways had no fuel at all, and one was only catering to HGVs. Utter madness.

  21. I had a bit of a slow start then everything fell into place nicely. It took me ages to realise that 20d and 26a were lurkers. 11d and 14d were my favourites. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  22. All completed unaided in two sittings, a puzzle definitely on the Monday end of the spectrum and fortunately on my wavelength.
    Is 8d the name of a sixties band?
    Thanks to the setter and Falcon although hints not required Yay.

  23. I must say we sailed through this, such a pleasure. It was all good. The only thing we didn’t understand was the top quickie pun but I see now that it is to do with comics. Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

  24. This brightened up a miserable wet morning up here. Spot on Monday level with some lovely clues. As always nothing too obscure and all clearly clued.
    Like others enjoyed 14d but knowing that 10a would bring pleasure to Kath it gets my COTD. Best wishes Kath hope your recovery continues.
    Campbell, thanks to you I do like Mondays. Falcon, thank you for the review.

  25. A good start to the (non) work week with the puzzle. 2.5*/****
    Favourites include 9a, 16a, 28a, 1d & 3d with winner 28a. Lots of misdirection in this one and a couple tripped me up for quite a while that pushed me from 2* to 2.5*
    Oh well, was still a good solve on an absolutely miserably wet Sunday night on the ‘Wet’ Coast of BC.
    Nothing else to do!

    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  26. I have to go out so am posting my comment now and will read the other comments later, I usually read all before posting.
    I fairly romped through this, until I only had three in the NW unsolved, due to time constraints I used e-help for 1a and the rest came tumbling down. I hope Kath popped in to see 10a, her fave! My fave was 14d, but 3d, 8d and 11d were worthy of mention.
    Thanks Campbell, I loved it, and thanks Falcon for the hints and pics.

  27. This was a bit of a teaser. I started off badly with the across clues, so switched to the down column and then everything started to flow. Actually was very enjoyable and a treat to do over breakfast. I had a bit of a hmm moment with 6a, because if I do that when reading, I am really not closely examining something. But lots of lovely clues here today. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Commiserations to anyone short of petrol right now. This too shall pass.

    1. Depends on how you look at it, BL. I went for an MRI 6a on Saturday and that was certainly a close examination!

        1. Contronyms, auto-antonyms, or Janus (after the two-faced Roman God) words have been discussed several times over the years on this blog (mostly by me). My favourite is “radiator”.

  28. There seem to have been several reappearances recently in both Cryptic and Quickie – obviously they are coincidences as I presume they’re usually from differing setters but they certainly make for a quicker solve. SE presented a couple of sticky ones which slowed things down. Never heard of the intelligent people in top Quickie pun. Fav podium contains 21a, 3d and 14d in no particular order. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

  29. I have not done the crossword for a few months but started again today wondering if I would be rusty but sailed through this with enjoyment. It is fun to read the blog again. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  30. A very neat and smooth Monday puzzle with 12a as a brilliantly worded clue; thank you Campbell and Falcon

  31. Re 21a – according to the Cambridge Dictionary “staff” is an Americanism. British composers write their notes on a stave.

      1. During 50 or so years singing with choirs of various types, i have heard both stave and 21a used interchangeably. I don’t associate it particularly with American English.

    1. As Wikipedia points out, the plural of both staff and stave is staves. Furthermore, stave is a back-formation from staves.

      From this, one can only conclude that the original British English term was staff which later evolved to become stave.

      This could well be a case of early British settlers bringing the then-current term to America and we are still continuing to use it while Brits have pivoted to using the new term.

      The entries in several dictionaries (as well as comments here on the blog) clearly appear to indicate that both terms are in use in the UK with stave being the predominant one. In America, the dominant (perhaps only) term is staff.

      So, I would say this is not a case of Americans changing the sacred British language but we may, in fact, be preserving it in its “pure” (?) form from the 16th century!!!

    2. The BRB lists both staff (plural staffs or staves) and stave as correct in relation to sheet music, with no reference to any specific American usage. So, the clue is OK.

  32. Definitely well into *** time for me. Not helped by my choosing the wrong word for the small container for far too long.

  33. How odd that everyone has either found this desperate or easy. I thought */** which is a bit lame but I did quite enjoy it. Beat my record for finishing the DT though so very happy. Delayed blog due to yet another ferry trip to Cawsand which was very boisterous! Stiff seas followed by stiff drinks on arrival followed by hailstones on the return journey. What a day. Not too exhausted though to thank Falcon and Campbell though.

    1. Ditto. My fastest ever solve. Always start with the downs from the bottom up. Last in was 1a which fell in with all the checkers.
      Thanks to all.

  34. I made harder work of this than I should have but only with the last two. I was distracted by having a conversation online about a huge blue/grey rabbit I saw in one of my pheasant pens this afternoon, I’ve managed to get it posted on the local chat line, obviously someone’s pet, safe ‘ish’ if it stays in there. Favourite was 10a thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  35. Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review and hints. A nice start to the week, a couple of tricky clues to make you think. I liked 1a, but my favourite was 12a. LOI was 1d. Was 2* / 3* for me.

  36. Staff/Stave

    Thanks for various comments arising from my original post. It is good to explore points like this.

    1. This is a good read. Recommended to all who have an interest in the English language and for those who pretend to be interested

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