DT 29808 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29808 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29808 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

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Greetings! A very quick blog today as I am on my way into the office to help out as we are short staffed at work.

This arrived two days ago and is the latest edition of an indispensable friend for fans of the black and white grid. Alongside the Chambers Dictionary (the Big Red Book), my two constant solving companions. This history of Mrs Bradford’s magnum opus is well-documented, but she has had to have help from her daughter with this year’s issue.

Back to the puzzle, it’s a pangram and it looks like the work of Cephas.

As usual, play nicely and follow the site rules, the naughty step may be decidedly soggy today and you don’t want a wet bum.

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:


1a Medieval tournament, not old, is fair (4)
We start with the name for a medieval tournament and remove the abbreviation for old.

8a Plainchant in service (8)
The words for something plain and a type of chant when joined give the name of a church service.

9a Right in front of you and me, hard apple (6)
An abbreviation for right, a short word meaning you and me and a word with a huge number of definitions in the Big Red Book (the most of any word), one of which is hard (think custard!). All joined together they give the name of an apple.

13a Toil with same ground that is most fertile (8)
An anagram (ground) of TOIL and SAME gives a gardening term associated with soil.

19a Reportedly eavesdrop in this direction (4,4)
A phrase meaning in this direction is a homophone of a word meaning eavesdrop.

21a Gossip with school facing lows, it’s said (8)
This is in the new Bradford’s. The abbreviation for a school and a homophone for the noises made by cattle (that sort of low).

23a Subtle difference when one’s leaving pest (6)
Take the word for a pest and remove I and S (one’s).

25a Pastime building card-castle (4-6)
An anagram of CARD-CASTLE gives a hobby.

26a Weather when sun god is not out? (4)
A type of weather is made up of the name of the (Egyptian) sun-god, and something that isn’t out.


1d Couple jibe endlessly about average man in the street (3,6)
An anagram of COUPLE and JIB[E], minus the last letter.

2d Number of orders booked many years ago (3,12)
A cryptic definition for something found in a very old book.

5d Hurried round fish, kept it moist (7)
Something meaning hurried goes around a fish with a very distinctive appearance.

6d Judging people’s feelings is what one might be doing getting into bath (7,3,5)
If you were checking to see if the bath contents weren’t too hot or cold, you’d be doing this.

7d Old province of birth (5)
A word meaning ‘of birth’ is the name of an old province of S Africa.

17d Round bit? (3)
Cryptic definition for part of a circle.

18d Be first individual to enter wharf (7)
A word for an individual item goes inside that of a wharf.

20d Not easily disturbed by question and answer in rising river (7)
The abbreviations for question and answer go inside the name of a German river reversed.

21d Young fellow in charge of sound (5)
The name for a young chap and the abbreviation for in charge.

Did you find it smooth as silk, or the roughest hessian? As usual, we’d like to hear your thoughts and I am sure we will have a visit from the setter later.

Remember as usual, to play nicely and avoid being put on the naughty step. I’ll see you next Saturday.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Today’s music is an utterly amazing piece, and one that is perfect for solving a puzzle. I was introduced to this by Scala Radio and is now firmly in my playlist.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD

The Quick Crossword pun: reef+fuel+ling=refuelling

78 comments on “DT 29808 (Hints)

  1. Oh! I must be blind.. the two I cannot get are the two not listed!!! 3d and 10a. Otherwise straight forward today …

    1. Welcome to the blog

      10a – the definition is wicked – ‘strip’ the word nuns and then add a Christmas decoration without the letter in the middle (heartless)
      For 3d you need words meaning ‘green’ and ‘sort’ to get a group of organisms

            1. Thanks CS
              And also thanks to today’s setter and Tilsit.
              It’s not often that I finish Saturday’s cryptic on a Saturday and fully understanding all the parsing unaided has never happened before, so for me this was the right level.

  2. Quite straightforward this morning. I did like 21a which completed my pangram. Thanks to today’s setter and Tilsit.

  3. 1*/3.5*. This pangram was very light but good fun with 2d my favourite long clue and 12a my top short one.

    I thought the answer to 13a was a bit of a contrived word.

    15d made me think of Kath. I do so hope she is doing OK.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the overworked Tilsit.

  4. This was a joy to solve, with wit and wiliness aplenty. 21a is my COTD (a most expressive word), with 20d, 17d, & 24a rounding out the honours for me. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter. ** / ****

    Hot autumn SW winds are expected to push the temperature to almost 90F today on the Carolina Coast, and then a cold front will barrel its way here, dropping us in the low 50s. A/C then heat!

  5. Enjoyable crossword for a bright Saturday morning. I completed the East Coast quite speedily and then took much longer in Gloucestershire and Somerset.

    *Have I missed any news about Daisy (and George) – I’m sure Daisy hasn’t been heard from for at least a week…

    *Chris – fence fixed and lawns mowed. I slept well last night!

    *Jose – great tip re Hannah Hu.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Beatles – Let It Be ‘The Enhanced Album’ (on Spotify)

    Thanks to the setter and the hard-working Tilsit.

    1. I’ve also been wondering about DaisyGirl. Has anyone heard? Hope she and George are all right.

        1. Glad you’re keeping up with the gardening Terence. After trimming the shrubs along my back fence, I trimmed some for my neighbour, who is not well, then swept up and put it all in the garden waste bin. So I slept well too. Today I planted up my patio containers with bulbs, which arrived on Thursday, so I may sleep well again tonight!

        2. Hallo! I am back in Cruciverbal Land after an unwelcome visit to Addenbrookes. Missed you all terribly and so nice to get an email from Crypticsue. I have had a tweak to my blood pressure tablets and a nudge to the cardiology department, waiting since last November. 😕

          1. Welcome back. Hope Addenbrookes took good care of you. I moved back South from Suffolk some 10 years ago but still very much miss the joys of East Anglian living and indeed Addenbrookes/Papworth where my persistent BP/cardiac problems were well looked after and where my late husband had successful open-heart surgery. Very impressed with your home-grown physalis. Do stay well.

            1. No I did not! That is what I am hoping they will do but I still have not seen a cardiologist. Grrr.

  6. Hands up who waded in without reading the question & bunged in the wrong average bod with the same first name at 1d ? Once that was sorted out it was steady if somewhat lethargic progress to a *** time finish. I thought the puzzle maybe a tad trickier than recent SPPs & with some nice clues.10,19&21a plus 1,2&20d would be my picks.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit

  7. I would have thought there was rather more than a straightforward ‘chat’ involved in 21a – ‘chat up’ would seem more likely!
    15d made me smile thinking of Kath but I don’t have any particular favourite to mention.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints and music.

  8. Nice way to end a delightful cruciverbal week. SE corner gave way last. Didn’t realise this was a pangram but then that’s nothing new for me. 21a lows seem to be regularly turning up here. Fav was 19d. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit particularly for the sublime T L de V Requiem Mass which is new to me.

  9. A ‘middle of the road’ SPP for me and, of course, I missed the pangram – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 6d, 18d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to Cephas(?) and Tilsit.

    Caffeine at the ready for the Prolixic NTSPP!

    1. I cannot agree with that after some we have in this week alone. As is so often said it is “wavelength”. As is also often said, such comments can discourage newcomers to the art (or craft).

  10. An enjoyable puzzle and, for once, I spotted the pangram. Mind you, I nearly didn’t because I had a different spelling for one word. Two defeated me and I needed eHelp for them. These were 21a (never knew it meant gossip) and 3d although I wondered why when I saw the answer. My grandmother taught me the pastime at 25a when I was a child.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Me too – thought I had it completed without hints until I read it was a pangram & corrected my spelling! Not experienced enough to spot this myself🙃

  11. I didn’t notice that it’s a pangram but that’s not unusual for me. The answer to 21a is more glad handing than gossip to my mind but the solution is a step by step construction so it’s not hard to work it out. **/*** Favourite 2d with Kath’s clue at 15d a close second. Thanks to all.

  12. Nothing too terrifying in this puzzle, and a pangram to help the solving process. What’s not to like? 2d and 26a are fighting it out for my top spot.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit.

  13. A pretty straightforward but enjoyable SPP (1*/4*). As detailed above I got the wrong bod for 1d before realising that nothing else fit but it’s still a good clue. Like others, 21a fit as a synonym for chat up rather than chat. For once I realised it was a pangram. Late on parade today because I spent the morning sorting out a box full of bulbs and planting them, after completing today’s puzzle. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and the compiler (Cephas?).

  14. As everyone has said, fairly plain sailing except that I was trying to incorporate a well known public school. Pangram alert with 1a and I too thought of lovely Kath at 15d. Came back home to find my first physalis or Chinese Gooseberries in the greenhouse. Such excitement, I have never grown them before, I just need to throw a posh dinner party to use them!
    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for easing me back into solving gently.

    1. Lovely to see you back, DG. Always a concern when regulars are missing.

      Great Chinese gooseberries too……

    2. Glad to hear you are OK as I was worried too. I thought of you when I bought myself that delicious huge crab from Norfolk Larder the other day for £3! Yum yum yum!

      1. Oh don’t. I am SO jealous – I love crab- £3, Cor. I sometimes buy myself a small dressed crab from Waitrose and have it all to myself when George is at Rotary.

    3. Glad you’re back, DG. We have an abundance of physalis in the garden but I am more envious of your chilli peppers!.

    4. I was with you with the well known public school! Leave the posh dinner party until they’ve fixed you!

  15. Good crossword today which I managed alone and unaided with the exception of 21a. I had missed the pangram, but that wouldn’t have helped much anyway as I , like others, associate it with chatting up rather than gossiping.
    However, a quick trip to the electronic gizmo saved me.
    Thanks to the setter and to the ever busy Tilsit

  16. Tried to get a Telegraph today but for some reason they’re all sold out. Haven’t missed the crossword for years so is anybody able to email me one. Thanks in anticipation.

    1. I’m fed up with short supplies. They complain about circulation but the shops can’t sell what they don’t have. I would often give up but stubbornly persist as I’ve paid my subscription.

  17. Great puzzle today and I too was left with 3d and 21a and realising it was a pangram neither word seemed to contain the letter I needed. Then 3d jumped into my head and finally worked out 21a. I associate the word with slightly underhand sort of sucking up rather than gossip. Thanks to all.

    1. By the way, has anyone else using a device to do the crossword, found that more and more they have re-log in to be able to read the paper at all and sometimes have to delete the app and then re-load it. Very frustrating

  18. I slept the sleep of the innocents last night after my booster! My brain a little more cognitively aware, so thankful for a friendly puzzle today. The SE was last to fall, sussing out the pangram was a huge help, particularly with 21a for my missing letter. Fave was 2d but 10a wasn’t far behind.
    Thank you for your kindness setter, if you didn’t know the word you could work it out. Thanks for the hints and tips Tilsit.

    1. Mrs C and I are having our 3rd Covid jab on Wednesday along with Flu and Pneumonia. That cocktail may have a kick!

      1. Mrs LrOK & I get our booster jags (Scots for jab for when it comes up in the backpager) next Saturday, hopefully with the flu as well.

      2. My insurance sent a nurse to my house to give me the ‘flu jag (noted LrOK) a week ago, that was one chore I didn’t have to do.

  19. As usual it being a pangram passed me by, I don’t think it’s any real help anyway, you have to have completed at least 3/4 of the puzzle before you suspect it is one. A pleasant puzzle completed at a steady pace, just needed the hint for 21a, I think I have heard the word but in the very distant past. Like others I was thinking of a famous school. Thanks to all.

    Nice to have DG back amongst us😊

  20. Good Saturday puzzle this week. 2.5*/**** for me today. NW last area completed with 10a & 3d the last two in.
    Candidates for favourites include 19a, 21a, 23a, 2d & 6d with winner 6d.
    26a applies to the weather today, as I eluded to yesterday, here on the west coast of BC.

    Thanks to setter (Cephas??) and Tilsit.

  21. A rather enjoyable puzzle today, which I started later than usual, due to a run to the pharmacy to get our flu jabs. I’m ashamed to say, despite it being an anagram and gardening for 50+ years, that 13a was almost the last in. I had 17d wrong, so that held me up with 21a, and I also persisted in trying to fit the usual famous school in there. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Thank you, Cephas. Your crosswords are just exactly right for me! I finished it with no need for looking up anything and no hints required. I had to think hard of course, but that’s okay!

      Some of the recent Saturday Cryptics (I’m a one-a-week crossworder, although I sometimes do another somewhere along the way) have been what I think are too clever by half! Some of them remain incomplete at the end of the following week

      Pleas do more!!

  22. Very enjoyable puzzle today if not the hardest I have experienced.
    I agree with others re- 13 .
    My C’sOTD were 3a and 12d neither too testing but both raised a smile .
    Thanks to the setter and everyone for their comments.

  23. Straightforward for an SPP although I don’t think Brian would agree with the consensus that it was an enjoyable solve!
    On pangram alert from the start but 21a took a long time to confirm it.
    ** time with *** fun. 25a anybody see any children doing it these days?
    Contrary to the forecast it has been a lovely sunny day up here.
    Thank you Cephas & the ever-busy Tilsit for the hints

    1. How did Mrs. LROK do in the event, was it a marathon? Please keep the sunshine up and running until they get there!

  24. Favourites 23a and 2 6 and 15d. I made a mistake with the first word 19a which held me up. Just realised I’ve not filled 17d in which I can now do with confidence having finally got 21a. I can’t say I enjoyed this enormously but I may have been distracted by having two grandsons to stay. Thanks Cephas and Tilsit the toiler.

  25. M.,
    Nothing so grand as marathons for Daphne these days
    The Parkrun is just a 5K “fun run” organised in parks across the UK and overseas (there are over 1000 run every week in the UK). She has now done well over 300, but because of injuries and advancing arthritis she has, since we moved up here, slowed down quite a bit especially through lockdown. She still runs every week now they have re-started.

  26. Very enjoyable, not too tricky SPP.
    12a and 2d were the LOI. I liked 21a, nice word.
    Thanks both.

  27. 21a has two alternate spellings with no means of deciding which should be used as far as I can tell. As both spellings are US and the word is not of Greek or Latin origin then I can only see there being a 50:50 chance of getting this one right. Any thoughts on that?

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Only one of the spellings works with the third word in the clue, the checking letters and the number of letters in the solution. Chambers says ‘originally US slang’ – I think the word is in wider use now

      1. Now I look closely at Chambers, the pronunciation of the two forms is different, which means there is no ambiguity in which form to choose.

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