DT 29816 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29816

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29816

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  I thought today's puzzle was just excellent. Lots of humour, tight cryptic grammar, smooth surfaces, a topical reference, fairly straightforward general knowledge requirements, and a nod to the compiler's boss. Does that feel familiar? I'd like to see more puzzles like this on a Tuesday, if the puzzles editor can arrange that. 

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    Sharpness wins fight -- heads are knocked off (7)
INSIGHT:  WINS FIGHT minus the initial letters in each word (heads knocked off

5a    Use penny Oscar kept in wallet (7)
PURPOSE:  The single letter for penny and the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Oscar are inserted together in a wallet or bag for carrying money 

9a    Sacrifice in the place of god, mainly (5)
FORGO:  Follow a preposition meaning "in the place of" with all but the last letter (mainly) of GOD 

10a   Learner doctor does one's unfinished jobs (5,4)
LOOSE ENDS:  The letter indicating a learner driver with an anagram (doctor) of DOES ONE'S 

11a   Not just  nuts (10)
UNBALANCED:  A double definition. Nuts as in crazy

the answer is the opposite of this cat's state

12a   One leads in mosque, aiding Muslims (4)
IMAM:  The wordplay tells us to follow the Roman one with the leading letters in MOSQUE AIDING MUSLIMS. The entire clue also serves as the definition making this a fine example of the infrequently seen &lit clue 

14a   False coin son forged -- father may hear about it here (12)
CONFESSIONAL:  An anagram (forged) of FALSE COIN SON 

18a   Stir fast? (6,6)
HUNGER STRIKE:  A very neat cryptic definition. In the cryptic reading of the clue stir is a noun taking its slang interpretation 

21a   Lamb perhaps satisfied penning fourth of essays (4)
MEAT:  Satisfied requirements, for example, containing (penning) the fourth letter of ESSAYS. Perhaps indicates a definition by example

22a   These words could make gent vamoose, possibly, with seconds to go (3,1,4,2)
GET A MOVE ON:  The wordplay tells us that the words of the answer are an anagram (could make …, possibly,) of GENT VAMOOSE minus the single letter for seconds (with seconds to go). The entire clue can serve as the definition 

25a   Romanians touring small country (3,6)
SAN MARINO:  An anagram (touring) of ROMANIANS gives the only country in the world with more cars than people 

occupations of the footballers in the national team

26a   Massage skin regularly each day (5)
KNEAD:  Link together alternate letters (regularly) of SKIN, the abbreviation for each, and the single letter for day 

27a   Turning up with diamonds and ring -- that's sweet (7)
PUDDING:  Combine the reversal (turning) of UP from the clue, the playing card abbreviation for diamonds, and a synonym of ring 

28a   Radical former lover getting married in plane? (7)
EXTREME:  A usual former lover is followed by the genealogical abbreviation for married inserted in what a plane defines by example (indicated by the ?



1d    At home and cross after virus's arrival (6)
INFLUX:  Putting the bits in order, join together the usual short word for at home, a winter virus, and the letter representing a cross 

2d    Reporter's small bed on base (6)
SCRIBE:  Assemble the clothing abbreviation for small, a (US) child's bed, and the letter representing the base of the natural logarithms 

3d    Observer supporting smashing dish (4-6)
GOOD-LOOKER:  Another word for observer comes after (supporting, in a down clue) smashing or great 

4d    Claw from rabbit cut leg (5)
TALON:  Rabbit or chat minus its last letter (cut) with another name for the leg side of a cricket pitch 

5d    Teacher in favour of oil company purchased by father (9)
PROFESSOR:  A preposition meaning "in favour of" is followed by the name of an oil company contained in (purchased by) the abbreviation for a religious father

6d    European cutting socialist's grass (4)
REED:  The single letter for European inserted in (cutting) a colourful synonym of socialist 

7d    Decoration or star, new on top of tree (8)
ORNAMENT:  Concatenate OR from the clue, a star or celebrity, the abbreviation for new, and the first letter of (top of) TREE 

8d    Male's been swimming without a costume (8)
ENSEMBLE:  An anagram (swimming) of MALE'S BEEN without A from the clue 

13d   Choose Dickens character, e.g. The Artful Dodger (10)
PICKPOCKET:  Choose or select followed by a character from Dickens' Great Expectations. The e.g. indicates that the definition is by example 

15d   Encouraging shot -- golfer isn't losing length (9)
FOSTERING:  An anagram (shot) of GOLFER ISN'T minus the single letter for length  (losing length) 

16d   Seal of approval consequently keeping medic excited (6,2)
THUMBS UP:  A synonym of consequently containing (keeping) one of the usual abbreviations for a doctor or medic is followed by excited or high 

17d   German writer embraced by French one finally squeezed without hands (8)
UNMANNED:  A German writer (Nobel Prize for Literature, 1929) is contained by (embraced by) one in French and that is all followed by the final letter of SQUEEZED 

19d   Worship continually in Religious Education (6)
REVERE:  A synonym of continually inserted in the abbreviation for Religious Education 

20d   Nervous about my boss, for example, getting upset (2,4)
ON EDGE:  Cement together a short word meaning about or regarding, the abbreviation for the setter's boss, and the reversal (getting upset, in a down clue) of the Latin abbreviation for "for example" 

23d   Superior to Raab, overrules Houses (5)
ABOVE:  The letter sequence formed by the third and fourth words hides ( … houses) the answer 

24d   African country miles north of a large island (4)
MALI:  The single letter for miles comes before (north of, in a down clue) A from the clue, the clothing abbreviation for large, and the map abbreviation for island 


Thanks muchly to today’s setter. Standout clues for me included 12a, 18a, 26a, 8d, 20d, and 23d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  SEE + SIR + PENCE = SEA SERPENTS

95 comments on “DT 29816

  1. I found today’s puzzle most satisfying and enjoyable with plenty of head scratching required. I did not know the German writer at 17d but the answer was gettable from the clue. I had plenty of ticks on the paper such as 1a, 18a and 1d but my COTD is 28a for the surface reading and the “doh” moment when the penny dropped.

    Many thanks to the setter for a great accompaniment to the morning coffee and grateful thanks to Mr. K. for the hints and pusscats.

    1. I wasn’t as enthusiastic as Mr K about this puzzle. There were several clues that I couldn’t parse and it took me a long time to disentangle the meaning in some of the other clues (3.5*/1*). Horses for courses, I suppose. Thanks to Mr K for the hibts and to rhe compiler

    2. Well done Steve for another honourable mention! Try and get the top slot next time. Delighted the ‘potato’ clue got clue of the week

      1. Thank you, Manders. I had top spot in the weekly competition once and I reckon that will be it now! :grin:

        I’m struggling with “cheesemonger”. :scratch:

    3. I assume that these honourable mentions are in the online telegraph not the paper version, or am I just not seeing them?

      1. They are in the Telegraph Puzzles Newsletter which Chris Lancaster sends out, by email, every Monday. It includes a clue-writing contest. Last week’s was to clue ‘industry’; in yesterday’s Steve was given an honourable mention for his entry — as were Gazza and KiwiColin (and probably others I didn’t notice) for theirs.

        You can subscribe to it on the Telegraph website.

      2. I think you have to join the (free) weekly puzzles newsletter Daisygirl which is by email and usually includes interesting and well researched preambles by our esteemed editor. The clue writing competition is brilliant … wonder how many entries Chris gets each week

        1. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve filled in my details but the newsletter never arrives. It would be nice if it did but life will go on without it

  2. Very enjoyable, witty, clever and quirky.
    I can forgive the dated definition in 3d as the rest of it was so good.
    I particularly liked 10a for the surface, the amusing 27a, along with the topical 1d. 8d also appealed for its misdirection within a perfect surface read, though I suspect it may be a chestnut.
    Many thanks to the setter (I have a sneaky feeling it may be NY Doorknob) for a top puzzle and Mr K for a likewise review.

  3. All over far too quickly for me, too. A waste of the topping up of bathwater, really!

    Three down clues remained unparsed, 7d, 13d & 17d, (insert generic GK whine here) but my COTD was my last in, 28a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

        1. I enjoyed this – well clued and (mostly) gettable. I don’t mind a bit of GK – good if you know it and satisfying if you can work out the answer then check the required GK. Probably also a good idea to keeping on adding a few new bits of knowledge to replace those that seem to be disappearing rapidly into the ether!

  4. When I started solving this fun and entertaining puzzle I thought it might be the work of our esteemed editor. Having completed it I am not now so sure. Anyway, whoever was responsible should please take a bow as it was thoroughly enjoyable, first clue to last. 22a and 13d came close to the top of my podium, but that position goes to 8a, chestnut or not.

    Thanks setter, and of course to Mr K for his usual comprehensive review.

      1. Hi, YS. There’s nothing like 8d in my database of almost 900,000 cryptic clues. So I’d say it’s original.

  5. Funny old world, I found this much easier than yesterday’s offering as I was obviously on the right wave length. COTD 13d – I don’t expect the Woke brigade will like 3d much but hopefully we don’t have such persons on this wonderful site. Come to think of it they probably think Big Dave is a sexist title, hee hee. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the pics.

    1. I agree, it’s a strange old world, one man’s meat is another’s poison.
      I enjoyed yesterday’s but today’s was a real head scratcher and I needed hints for the nw corner. So, because I couldn’t complete it without hints, it’s a 4*/2* for me.
      Thanks to the setter and Mr K

    2. I’m going to disagree with you there, Manders: not just because I found this a little trickier than yesterday’s, but also because I hope that those who are woke† are as welcome on this site as everybody else. We all love crosswords, and it’s a lovely community here. There’s no particular reason we should have anything else in common, so on non-crosswordy matters surely we should embrace differences and be welcoming to all?

      For instance, I don’t like the taste of alcoholic drinks and I’m hoping that HS2 will go ahead and free up capacity to improve local train services around Yorkshire — but I certainly wouldn’t want this site to be without Miffypops!

      † “alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice”, according to the OED.

      1. I’m rather with you on this, Smylers. As it happens, although I have individual thoughts and feelings on just about all subjects under the sun, I rather feel I would be falling into the category of ‘woke’ if pressed for an overall description.

        1. I do agree that crosswords appeal to all different people which is lovely. What I find truly depressing is every day now reading that my history, my culture, my beliefs being totally trashed, people being ‘cancelled’, peopled being ‘trolled’ – I think we are in a very sad place just now.

          1. I tend to agree with you Manders. I’d like to think that I’ve always been aware of other people’s sensitivities, beliefs and cultures and accorded them the same respect as my own. I don’t much care for having it rammed down my neck at every moment that this group or that group is in some way superior to everything that doesn’t matter to them and that we should all be “woke” to their ideas.

          2. I agree, Manders. If history is cancelled how can we hope to learn from it? (Not that we ever do).

          3. Totally agree Manders. It makes me feel very lucky to be a member of my generation, having lived a life without a lot of the nonsense spouted these days. I’m glad I had my youth when so much was to be enjoyed, rather than trashed or cancelled as you say.

      2. I wouldn’t hold your breath on capacity being improved on local train services, they will just cut the number of trains or carriages. I think you are right that we are all allowed our own opinions, but dare I say that SOME of the woke brigade are not very forgiving of opinions which do not match theirs, and I might add the same applies to some of the non woke brigade. And all I’ve written has nothing to do with crosswords 🥴.

          1. And actually quite unintelligent: the inability to view history in perspective and to embrace different views sympathetically.

  6. A nice puzzle for a Tuesday. Both the tree and the rabbit feature in today’s Toughie. Thanks to both the setter and Mr Kitty

  7. The writer who won the Nobel prize for literature had a brother who was also a famous writer. The Blue Angel (starring Marlene Dietrich) was based on one of the brother’s novels.

  8. Ummm, not what i was expecting on a Tuesday.
    Once i got tuned in all fell into place with some parsing problems nicely explained by reviewer.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  9. Tackled from S to N, I was briefly delayed by (the very dated) 3d and kicked myself afterwards for not seeing it sooner, but otherwise found this puzzle very gentle and and an amusing Tuesday morning coffee challenge while it lasted. COTD to 1a, with 10a, 28a and 8d runners-up.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to Setter and to Mr K

    1. Hi Mustafa.

      Does that mean handsome is outdated too?

      (I’ve posted this at the top of the blog which you may not have seen as it was addressed to someone else)

  10. I enjoyed this more than yesterday’s puzzle and finished without needing any help at all. A good set of clues which were very fairly clued and no parsing required.

    I don’t understand why some puzzles reveal themselves while others hide behind veils (often more than seven) until I rip them off by coming here.

    My thanks to Mr K and to the setter for a Tuesday morning treat.

  11. Enjoyed todays puzzle ,some excellent clues,liked the 5d and 17d charades and my favourite,and the stand out clue, was 18a.
    Going for a **/****
    Thanks to Mr K for the pics especially 7d

  12. I thought that this was a sparkling puzzle and enjoyed it a lot.
    My podium consists of 18a, 1d and 13d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for his usual excellent blog.

  13. I too tackled this from bottom to top coming to the north west corner last. **/*** 3d is very dated but never mind. I couldn’t fully understand how I arrived at the answer for 7d so thanks for the hint there. I thought 1a, 1d and 9a were all cleverly constructed clues but my favourite is 13d. Well done (again Steve Cowling) for the hnonourable mention – this is getting to be a habit). Thanks to all.

    1. You’re the third or fourth to comment that 3d is dated, I didn’t, does that mean that I’m hopelessly dated too?

  14. Lovely puzzle – all answers ‘gettable’ as Steve Cowling says way up there. Clever, amusing clues – 14a was my favourite of the day.

    Now to retrieve the bins from where the dustbin fellows have strewn them.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Cure – Acoustic Hits

    Thanks to the excellent setter and The Celebrated Mr. K

  15. Thought this was a refreshing puzzle with some nice touches of humour and a few unusual entries.
    Pick of the bunch for me were 18a plus 8&20d but plenty of others were hot on their heels.

    Thanks to our compiler and to Mr K and his feline army for the review.

  16. I had the grumps when my paper wasn’t here at 7am as usual today. I found out that the delivery had been delayed to our newsagent and they were expecting to get it late morning. When it did arrive, my mood was lifted by a splendid crossword and all is well with the world again.

    My rating is 2*/4* with 18a the best of a very good set of clues.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  17. Well. How odd. Another */*** for me. It was pretty much a write in so I am just having a lucky week I think where all the clues gel. My COTD was the clever 18a. It may be an old timer (no pun intended honest) but I hadn’t come across it before. Thanks MrK and the setter. Sending this on a rather bumpy but good fun Cawsand Ferry with the sun just coming out. Glorious.

  18. I thought this puzzle was very good indeed. Just my cup of tea. My only problem was not knowing the German author.
    Well, not knowing him until I saw the hint from Mr K , then it all came together.
    I particularly liked 18a and 28a.

    Thanks to Mr K….Great pictures as usual….and to the setter.

    Definitely raining here today….looks to be on for the day.

  19. I struggled slightly more than I was expecting for a Tuesday, but mostly that was my own stupidity: I got stuck in the top-left, used Mr K’s hint for 1a, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried that: I’d spent so long trying to think of synonyms for “wins” and “fight” to knock their heads off, but never thought of just using those words themselves — d’oh!

    My favourite was 27a (sweet diamonds and ring), and my favourite non-food-related clue was 5d (oil company purchased by father).

    I couldn’t recall either Miss Haversham’s cousin’s name or the German writer’s, but was happy to be re-acquainted with both of them by solving their clues in other ways. They (and the oily lot from 5d) seem like perfectly reasonable general knowledge to me, and I’d enjoy crosswords less if setters were restricted to avoid such terms.

  20. Straightforward in the North then South presented a bit more of a challenge however altogether it was a pleasant workout with no serious hiccups. Failed to parse 4d and 20d. Fav was 1d. Thank you Messrs. Ron and K.

  21. Fully agree with our reviewer. I thought this one a real gem. A quick grid completion but parsing them took me to just over ** time with my only doubt the ea abbreviation for each, which I don’t think I’ve come across before. Like others 18a was my favourite but big ticks for a number of others – 1,11,21&28a plus 1,5,13,16&17d. Death in Venice is the only thing I’ve ever read by the German scribbler & I much preferred the film. The clever 13d immediately brought to mind Alec Guinness in David Lean’s never bettered adaptation.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K for the review & pics.
    Ps Had a brief look at the Toughie & could make neither head nor tail of it so I hope it was just wax that that the nurse syringed out of my shell likes…

    1. I agree with your comment on Death in Venice–for once, a great book is topped by an even greater film, which is then eclipsed (for me) by Benjamin Britten’s powerful opera. Bogarde in the DIV was never better, and Guinness in GE just wins your heart. Lean’s masterpiece for me.

  22. Altogether satisfying and quite delightful. I went SE to NW, striking a diagonal along the way, with some splendid clues along the path northwards, especially 17d, 13d, and 18a. I recently read and highly recommend Colm Toibin’s exhaustive and very moving study of the German Nobel Laureate (the novel is called The Magician); his The Magic Mountain is one of all-time favourite books. And thanks to Smylers for that all-inclusive welcome, at Post #5. One of the best Tuesday puzzles in a long while, I thought. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. 2.5* / 4.5*

    Three shy on today’s Toughie but a wonderful workout.

      1. I did read a review of the Colm Toibin Bio and have added it to the list. I recall reading Buddenbrooks many moons ago and really enjoying it.

  23. Enjoyed that.
    Good anagrams at 10a & 14a
    Spent too much time searching for an anagram at 7d – good use of the word ‘new’ to misdirect 🙃
    Also spent too much time in NW corner because I have aways spelled 9a with an ‘e’ in the middle

  24. I too enjoyed this although I got stuck on 3D as I was looking for food. 1,14 and 18a got a Daisygirl star as did 2 and 13d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K with his cats. Talking of the woke brigade, I wonder what remarks were passed over the breakfast table at the man on page 3 of the Telegraph with his face glued to the road…….. Had a call from my grandson last night to say they had not been able to go off on their ‘mini moon’ as the bride (a deputy head teacher) had tested positive for COVID. Slight panic all round as DD2 is going off to Cornwall next week with a large group of friends to celebrate her 60th belatedly, and George and I have to visit the dentist this week. However, we both did a test this morning which was clear so fingers crossed. Incidentally the honeymoon hotel would not refund the money, about £800!

    1. I would have a word with the telegraph money guru, Sally Hamilton. Now she is the Telegraph’s consumer champion, fighting your money battles and holding companies to account. Contact her: sallysolves@telegraph.co.uk
      she often manages to shame companies to do the right thing.

      1. Thank you, I’ll pass that on to William. It was only four days in the Cotswolds but they were excited because there was a spa bath!!!

  25. Reasonably Tricky Tuesday for me. but a coffee break and a quick stab at sweeping up the leaves allowed the brain enough of a respite to complete this. Lots of satisfying solves of which 28a gets the nod from me.
    I had a few problems in the NW too. SCOTIA at 2d seemed to fit ( small cot and the whole is the moulding around the base of things ) but getting 9 and 11a forced the rethink. With 13d I tried to work Pickwick in there until I remembered Great Expectations. I wouldn’t disagree with Robert’s film suggestions but maybe add Bogarde’s Spanish Gardener to the queue.
    Despite half filling the green wheelie bin with leaves a whole new lot has replaced them ☹ I think I will give up trying until the trees are bare.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter 20a seems to suggest that the setter has a boss who is the editor so maybe this is a CL offering

      1. I was working for the producer of The Servant and Dirk Bogarde was in and out of the office. I was not allowed to read the script as I was considered too innocent. I probably was.

  26. I found this enjoyable but quite difficult needing help with 2 😳 ***/*** My favourites were 14 & 27a 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the Setter

  27. Can’t say I was real fan of this puzzle. Too much GK needed as well as obscure specifics (as in 17d for example). ****/** for me today. 12a a new unknown word either and not in my GK base.
    Favourite candidates were 10a, 22a, 3d & 13d with no real winner.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

    1. I parsed 12a as the first letter of the last four words which I think (thought) was more straightforward.

      1. Hello, Manders. Since leads in does not equal “I” a “first letter of the last four words” interpretation of the wordplay does not work. The “I” has to come from the one.

        1. Thanks for the explanation Mr K. I’m often amazed when I get an answer via a completely obscure route.

  28. First one I’ve completed unaided for a few days. A **/**** for me, got held up by thinking of cot in 2d and putting prison in18a, last in was 21a. The hints made a nice read except for the picture for 8d ,yuck, why do they want to do that 🤷‍♂️.( please, no answers to that question). Thanks to all.

      1. Thanks got the explanation Mr K. I will organise a whip round to buy them bathing suits for next year.

  29. Great.
    My revenge on Monday’s ***
    So, */****
    Excellent all round solve, elegantly clued.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K.

  30. 3/4. Enjoyable but not particularly easy – which I like. Difficult to choose a favourite from a packed podium. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  31. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle, not least because I only needed two hints to finish. Chuckled as the 11a picture as our cat Basil was very fond of such precarious places. NW corner took the longest to complete, and 1d held out until the second coffee. 17d was the last in, GK letting me down. Hopefully I will remember him. Big thank you to the setter. This puzzle was perfect for me. And thanks to Mr K for helping me finish.

  32. I agree, Mr.K, pure joy! I solved and loved it all, not easy but fun, until the NW corner where I had three left and was well and truly stuck. I went in for a hint to 2d and that broke the logjam. Natch, having sworn that the tree in 28a would never catch me again, it did, took ages to suss that. There’s so much to like, the Artful Dodger stood out, as did 22a as I solved it so rapidly!
    I had a stab at the Quickie, a total failure. Why do I find it so hard to find a word to go with another word without getting a clue?
    Thank you to whomsoever set this, a kindly soul, and thanks for the hints and tips, primarily for cat pics, to Mr. K.

  33. On my own on finding this very difficult. Must be a wavelength issue.

    Only completed around half and then lost interest.

    Thanks to all.

  34. Hadn’t heard of the German writer or the Dickens character but got them all the same. NW was last in but I don’t know why. Favourite was the very clever 18a. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  35. I whizzed through this superb crossword in 1* time- must have been a wavelength thing, so please Mr Puzzles editor can we have more by this setter?
    COTD for me was the rather splendid 22a.

  36. I was in the straightforward camp too – apart from 2d/11a which took an order of magnitude longer to solve than the rest of the puzzle!!

  37. Generally quite straightforward with some intriguing clues BUT stumbled a bit with 3d and couldn’t parse 4d (I must try to remember these cricketing terms….)

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