DT 29817 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29817

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29817

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

A bit of extra challenge to put this together. Colin, who usually does all the technical stuff, has had another eye injection a few hours ago and so has very limited blurry vision for a while. However we will cope and beg forgiveness for any glitches.

All the usual Wednesday puzzle fun, with some tricky clues in the bottom half which took us into 3 star time.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Avoid fish and fowl when young (8)
DUCKLING : Avoid or dodge and then a fish of the cod family.

5a     Spots king wearing glasses (6)
SPECKS : The chess abbreviation for king is enclosed by an informal word for glasses.

9a     Experienced remotely, as one caught amongst several (9)
VICARIOUS : The Roman numeral one and C(aught) are inside a word meaning several or diverse.

11a     Returning as soon as possible — about time for some food! (5)
PASTA : The acronym for ‘as soon as possible’ is reversed and includes T(ime).

12a     Shires may give these votes against broadcast (6)
NEIGHS : A homophone (broadcast) of a word for votes against.

13a     An amount of freedom in a temporary master (8)
DOMINATE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

15a     Put under the sea instead, after a redesign (13)
ANAESTHETISED : An anagram (after a redesign) of THE SEA INSTEAD.

18a     Logs of charges for entry (9-4)
BATTERING-RAMS : A cryptic definition for devices used in storming a castle.

22a     People privy to information may have guts to cross Republican (8)
INSIDERS : An informal word for internal organs contains R(epublican).

23a     Lay into a girl coming back about one! (6)
ASSAIL : ‘A’ from the clue, then the reversal of a word for a girl contains the Roman numeral one.

26a     Surrender love for capital (5)
QUITO : Surrender or give up and the tennis score love.

27a     Get rid of English and gunners lay down the law heartlessly (9)
ERADICATE : E(nglish) and Royal Artillery are followed by a word meaning ‘lay down the law’ with its central letter removed.

28a     Young flier given new age restriction (6)
EAGLET : An anagram (new) of AGE and then a legal restriction.

29a     Laughs cruelly seeing German taken in by wrong signs (8)
SNIGGERS : An anagram (wrong) of SIGNS contains a three letter abbreviation for German.


1d     Naive don recollected a rocky time in past (8)
DEVONIAN : An anagram (recollected) of NAIVE DON.

2d     Prickly types caught first part of play (5)
CACTI : The cricket abbreviation for ‘caught’, then a 3,1 first part of a theatrical play.

3d     Staggers seeing decoys outside church (7)
LURCHES : Decoys or enticements contain Ch(urch).

4d     Lacking the go-ahead for recess? (4)
NOOK : The answer split 2,2 can mean lacking the go-ahead.

6d     Pius etc must keep holy symbols of remembrance (7)
POPPIES : Pius etc (could include Benedict or Innocent or other examples), contains a two letter word for holy or sanctimonious.

7d     She may have a prediction about employing a second hospital doctor (9)
CASSANDRA : One of the two letter abbreviations for ‘about’ encloses ‘A’ from the clue, S(econd), the short form for a type of hospital, and the title of address for a doctor.

8d     Turnover, including source of cash, and balance (6)
SCALES : Turnover or transactions for a shop contains the first letter (source) of cash.

10d     This criminal pinches low energy drink (8)
SMOOTHIE : An anagram (criminal) of THIS contains low as a bovine noise and finally, E(nergy).

14d     Crooked toes here may be stretched! (8)
SHOETREE : An all-in-one clue where the wordplay is an anagram (crooked) of TOES HERE.

16d     Lying in wait for a doctor in a hurry, lacking resistance (9)
AMBUSHING : ‘A’ from the clue and a doctor’s qualification, then a word meaning ‘in a hurry’ loses its R(esistance).

17d     Note changes showing hymn-books (8)
PSALTERS : A note at the end of a letter and then a synonym for changes.

19d     Little rod used for pond-life? (7)
TADPOLE : A three letter word for a small amount and then a rod that might hold up a tent.

20d     Bird shot with catapult? (7)
GOSLING : A shot or turn and then another word for a catapult.

21d     Author is questioned about adult (6)
RISQUE : A lurker, hiding in the clue. (It took us a while to spot this one.)

24d     Conscious of fighting within hospital department (5)
AWARE : Serious fighting is inside a hospital department.

25d     Seek approval from women kept by lover (4)
FAWN : A lover or devotee contains W(omen).

We enjoyed finding the three little avians in this puzzle.

Quickie Pun     writers    +     reign    =    right as rain

75 comments on “DT 29817

  1. An enjoyable Wednesday crossword which I did wonder whether it had been set with our bird-loving Kiwis in mind

    Lots to enjoy but no particular favourites

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks – hope the eye blurring doesn’t take too long to clear

  2. Very enjoyable. This felt like it could have been a collaborative effort from Jay and The Don (what a team!)
    Slightly trickier than the average Wednesday with some nice aha moments.
    Thought the question mark at 4d was certainly needed and was surprised to see the abbreviation for caught coming up twice but small quibbles. Of course I liked 1d and I thought the lurkers were well disguised, I liked the homophone at 12a too but I’ve awarded top spot to 9a, with a nod to the pun.
    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks, especially for confirming my interpretation of 7d.

  3. I am also in the very enjoyable camp. It took me longer to solve than The Toughie today. Looking through now I cannot understand how I took so long. Thanks to the 2Ks (everything looks ok to me) and to Jay for the puzzle. Little Amal is on show in Coventry this afternoon so that is where I will be later

    1. Clue in today’s Indy
      While arsing around, cuddles Sharon? (7)

      No prizes for guessing who sprang to mind…

  4. Oh, this was a real doozy, as we used to say in the midst of excellence and splendour in my university days. It took me a while to sort through all of the wonders: so much to enjoy, so many podia to fill, but I’ll keep it simple and just cram one together: 7d, 18a, 17d, & 20d. Honourable mentions to 4d & 25d, both of which made me laugh. Many thanks to the Kiwis for the excellent illustrations and to Jay for the total pleasure. *** / *****

  5. 2*/4.5*. This was light and great fun. I had no particular favourite – all the clues were high class, as was the Quickie pun.

    I always thought 14d was (4,4) which is what Collins says too, but Chambers gives (8). Mrs RD has more than enough shoes in the wardrobe so perish the thought of them growing on trees too.

    Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Ks. Hope Colin’s vision improves quickly.

  6. I agree that this was enjoyable, but not happy with two of the definitions: 8d. balance; 21d. adult. I think they stretch the definition of synonym. IMHO.

    1. Vince, I think both those definitions are fine. A balance is a device used for weighing, as are scales. Adult humour = risqué humour.

      1. Yes, RD, I settled on the answers based on what you say, but I still think they are a bit of a stretch. I tried electronic thesauruses ( is that the correct plural?), but neither of these came up.

        1. Hello Vince. I’ve done a bit of digging and Collins Online Dictionary lists (below) the required synonyms for 8d and 21d. The BRB gives two correct plurals: thesauruses or thesauri:

          4 (noun) in the sense of scales
          a weighing device
          an apothecary’s balance

          in the sense of blue
          blue movies
          Synonyms: smutty,dirty,naughty,obscene,indecent,vulgar,lewd,risqué,X-rated (informal),bawdy,near the knuckle (informal)

    2. Vince
      Working in laboratories all our “scales” were “balances”.
      When we closed the laboratory I bought an old Sartorious blance complete with calibrated weights etc that I had used. It drew many comments like “What nice scales”.

  7. The brain may not have recovered from an unequal late night struggle with yesterday’s Robyn Toughie. I found this distinctly tricky though probably made much harder work of it than I ought to have. 9a takes top spot for me ahead of 18a & 10d. Must say I was quite surprised to see 14d as one word rather than two & equally surprised to spell 15a correctly at the first attempt.
    Many thanks to the setter (Jay?) & 2Ks – hoping Colin’s vision restored soon.
    Ps Stick Insect’s Toughie is mercifully far gentler than yesterday’s brain mangler though I’m 1 shy of a finish.

      1. I often think with difficult words like 15a I will hold off bunging in a guess until the checkers come to the rescue. Thats what I did with 15a – “I know I am going to doubt my spelling but once the checkers go in it should become clearer”

        1. If ‘th’ is an issue, then this could do the trick:

          AnAESTHEtics are used in THE A&Es (AES) of hospitals.

  8. Nicely clued throughout and agree with the 2K’s ***/****.-thanks for the pics.
    Took a while to parse 21d until I saw the light.
    Favourite was 18a for the imaginative surface.
    Tricky Quickie -excellent pun-all in all a spot on start to the day, just the Toughie left!

  9. Loved this puzzle despite 17d which I had to look up on Google. Most clues were clever and elegant and my favourites were 1a and 18a both ‘smilers’. I think I must have been on the right wavelength for a change as I didn’t find it too difficult.
    Thx to all

    1. Given your deep joy over all things religious, I’m confident that I can add to your knowledge. My 12 year old granddaughter was doing her R.E. homework this morning. Except it’s now called religious and philosophy education. I was fascinated to discover that veganism is apparently now classed as a religion. We had to have bacon sandwiches for lunch to get over that one.

      1. That is interesting Greta – surely veganism is just a life choice but it seems to have become much more than that recently – apparently we’ve all got to go vegan to save the planet now! I’ve been vegetarian (not vegan) out of personal preference for most of my life but I wouldn’t dream of trying to convert my family or friends to my ways.

        1. I couldn’t believe it either and wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t seen it in her text book in black and white, lol. Eat what you like, wear what you like and worship what you like – all fair enough. I suppose as religions go this hasn’t caused a war yet so has something going for it in that respect.

          1. Greta, it doesn’t surprise me. My daughter has shared with us some of the extreme “stuff” our teenage grandson is being taught, and made to read, in high school over here. A lot of it takes your breath away.

      2. Just goes to reinforce my belief that organised religion is the basis of most of the evil in the world today.

        1. I am a believer but when confronted at my front door by people pushing their particular brand of religion I usually got rid of them by reminding them that most wars and tragedies are caused by differing religious views.

        2. It’s not religions that cause evil, Brian, it is man’s bigotry, intolerance, self-righteousness and belligerence. Most religions teach people to love and care for others, and and I can’t see how you can argue with that as a philosophy. It is the perversion of religions, and the self-righteous belief that “I am right and you are wrong” that causes the trouble. If religions didn’t exist, men would be fighting for a thousand other reasons. It’s in their nature.

  10. That was a lot of fun. Even if it took far too long for the penny to drop in 12a. I wrote “nays” in the border, but persisted in looking for the wrong sorts of shires. Parishes, counties, states etc etc. I even new that “broadcast” meant that the answer would sound like “nays”. I’ll blame it on the fact that I’d just come back from the dentist and the brain was addled. I initially put “eliminate” into 27a because of the checking letters, and because I was just being lazy in parsing the clue. Serves me right. Thank you Jay for a fun puzzle, and to the 1k today. I wish Colin well.

  11. Absolutely loved this one, and feeling very proud of myself for completing it.

    I thought 13A, 15A, 18A, 8D & 10D were excellent. It took me ages to see 13A though.

    Only clue that raised an eyebrow was 17D as I don’t believe these books have anything to do with singing.

    Many thanks to the setter and all those on this site. I only started doing the cryptic crossword earlier this year and everything I have learned came from here.

    1. My quibble with 17d was that they contain psalms, not hymns, but they are sung. However, I think that’s a bit picky on my part.

  12. Those lurkers were well disguised. 21d wasn’t helped by my putting in the Egyptian capital at 26a without thinking it through and then realising I was in the wrong continent. ***/**** Lots of birds today of which 1a was my favourite. All good fun, thanks to all.

  13. I sympathise with Colin’s eye problems as I suspect I have an overdue date with the optometrists too. 6d nearly beat me today and I initially read the clue as PLUS etc and thought that cuplets might be a holy symbol like the holy grail. When I had enough checkers to see the answer I reverse engineer it to see that I was looking for a particularly pious pope. I also had a long list of letters that filled the lights on 25d and took forever to see the right answer.
    Lots of baby animals today (three birds an immature frog and a ruminant) but I will pick 7d as my favourite today.
    Thanks to 2K’s and setter.
    Time to do battle with the toughie (after another caffeine injection)

  14. Jay on absolutely top form this morning with some sparkling clues. I found it pretty straightforward apart from the NW quadrant where my final six answers took as long as the rest of the puzzle. 20d just edges the vote for favourite.

    My thanks to the three birds, and get well soon Colin.

    1. Just realised that with Jay and two Kiwis in the chair, has our setter composed a crossword just for our blogging team?

  15. A tricky puzzle with complicated clues, which took me slightly longer than usual (2.5*/2.5*). I made slow progress until I stopped trying to work out the word-play and resorted to guesswork and reverse engineering. There were some good clues, with great misdirection, such as the anagram at 15a and the homophone at 12a, whilst 2d appealed because I collect them. However, 14d wasn’t so hot, not only because of the controversy over the number of words but the fact that it stretches the shoe rather than being stretched. Thank you to the Kiwis for help with parsing a few clues and to the compiler.

      1. It certainly didn’t read that way from my point of view.it read as if the shoe tree was the item being stretched to me.

  16. Very enjoyable and full of good clues 😃 ***/**** Favourites 1a, 12a & 18a 🤗 TUVM to Jay and to the 2xKs for their beautifully illustrated blog, sorry to read about Colin’s eye, hope it is soon better

  17. Chris, just above me, has said much of what I felt. It was tricky but great fun to unravel.

    I didn’t help myself by misreading 6d as Plus etc (I print the puzzles from the website) but it did eventually become clear!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: England v Bangladesh in the Twenty/20 World Cup. Bangladesh struggling at 99/8 as I post this.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks with best wishes to Colin.

  18. Brilliant.
    Got the grey matter working hard there – loads of great clues with 18a being my favourite.
    Only beaten by 21d where I didn’t look for the lurker until after I read the hints

  19. This took me into **** time, with the SW holding out far longer than it should.

    Am I the only one who thinks that 17d is most certainly not a hymn-book? 17d is taken from the 150 poems in the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament, and has fixed content. (Shortest is 117 and longest is 119 as any small chorister can tell you). Anyone can make up a collection of songs and call it a hymn-book.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Ks.

    1. No, MalcolmR, you are not alone re 17d. It can be said that a psalm is an ancient form of hymn but to a church musician a psalter and a hymn-book are definitely not the same thing.

      1. I too would not equate a hymn book with 17d. It is a book of psalms. However I believe that synonym has been used in clues before, so it immediately came to mind, although I tutted to myself.

  20. Pic of 6d when they were at Woodhorn Colliery
    Mama Bee’s dad worked there and now it is a great little museum of mining

    1. I drove past the colliery last week visiting relatives in Northumberland. My mum once had an art exhibition in the nearby church, St Mary’s, Woodhorn. My husband and I were driving around reminiscing our childhood.

      1. Mama Bee was born and bred in Ashington and grew up 3 streets over from the Charlton brothers.
        Her mother was married (twice) in St Mary’s. I do like to look at the Pitman Painters in the museum as often as possible. Mama Bee reminisces about getting the train to Newbiggin and having Ice Cream at Bertorelli’s,

        1. I went to Ashington Grammar School, but it turned comprehensive when I was in the V1th form. Bertorelli’s in Newbiggin brings back memories of Ice Cream Sundaes and Banana Splits, smothered in tinned fruit salad. I loved them as a child, though they wouldn’t be my thing now.

    1. The first three words of the clue are ‘about’ or ’round the outside of’ the hidden word

  21. So much depth to this one, loved 12a and 4d and learned something from the 2Ks explanation of the holy part of 6d – thank you Jay for an entertaining afternoon!!!

  22. Lovely crossword and a good brain stretch on a blustery Wednesday in the Peaks. Jay is one of my favourite setters – must be a wavelength thing – so every clue is a joy. My last one in was 10d with a great penny drop moment so I’ll nominate that for my favourite. Many thanks to Jay and to the 2Kiwis – I hope Colin’s eye recovers very soon.

  23. Found this a harder offering for a Wednesday this week. ***/*** for me. Top finished first with the SW the last to surrender. Favourites include 1a, 15a, 29a, 10d & 17d with winner 15a for the misdirection. Like 29a as it made me laugh.
    Lots to like in this one even though it took a lot of teasing to get there.

    Thanks to the 3 birds

  24. What a difference a day makes. Actually what a difference a wavelength makes. Yesterday I was spot on. Today I am clearly on a different planet. I seem to recall finishing last Wednesday’s without difficulty, but no such luck for me today. Will put aside for later.

    1. Update. Finally finished, but not without help. Even Peter (former choir boy and altar boy) had to dig deep for 17d, and agrees with Merusa that they are not actually hymn books. Like some others I also had problems with 8d = balance. In the meantime I decided to have a quick look at today’s Toughie. Surprise, I actually found it easier than today’s cryptic and did much better on my own. Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis.

  25. Completed this early morning before driving over to Llandudno to meet a friend for lunch. Forecast had promised blue skies and a fair amount of sunshine for N. Wales, as it turned out the rain was coming down in a deluge and visibility was virtually nil.
    Got hoodwinked by two clues – 18a where my brain homed in on totally different ‘logs’ and 8d where poor eyesight and or lack of concentration saw ‘plus’ rather than ‘pious’ (dead tree version). No other problems once those were sorted out.
    19a made me smile so takes the honours today.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks – hope Colin’s injection soon pays dividends. The thought of having an injection in an eye makes my toes curl!

  26. We seem to manged to avoid any glitches after all.
    My vision is much less blurry now but it still has a couple of big black spheres floating around which is rather disconcerting. Haven’t had these with previous injections so hope they won’t last too long.
    Nice to see that most others enjoyed the puzzle as much as we did.

    1. Hope it settles down soon Colin. I’ve experienced the floating blobs after the vireous humour in my eyes collapsed after both of my cataract ops. It soon faded, thank goodness.

  27. Late on parade today because of a visit to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Brum. On the way back, a road was closed and the satnav refused to take me anywhere other than the motorway. Needless to say, there were hold ups galore. Anyway, the puzzle was most enjoyable with only 21d defeating me. I see that it was a very well disguised lurker. My COTD is 18a because it had me running all round the Wrekin before the penny dropped.

    Grateful thanks to Jay(?)and to the one Kiwi – I hope Colin’s eye is better soon. In the manner of Admiral Nelson “I see no glitches!” :smile:

  28. Excellent crossword today, though I did find it hard.
    Had to resort to the hints for 4d just could not see it at all.
    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis. Hope Colin’s eye is better by now.

  29. Very tricky today, but I did get to the finishing line bar one due to an incorrect answer. I had 28a wrong, I put cygnet with “net” the restriction, this meant I failed at 21d. Lots of goodies, fave was 12a but 18a amused.
    Thank you Jay for the mental workout and 2Kiwis for unravelling a lot. Did we ever find out who set yesterday’s gem? Hope Colin’s eye problem gets fixed soon. Dare I add that I hope Her Majesty soon recovers.

  30. That was “two sitting” tough for me but what a pleasurable time it was. Never really got on wavelength which is very much Par for a Jay course.
    LOI was the lurker 13a and I thought 21d was brilliant.
    However for the groan after the penny drop moment 18a gets COTD.
    Thanks to Jay and 1.5 Ks hope Colin’s eye soon returns to normal (well improved normal).

      1. M,
        I hope you (and the menagerie, especially Sadie) are well
        No not today (contrary to the forecast) in fact it was lovely late this afternoon for Biggles’ walk. Would have been nice in the sitooterie (with some background heating mind).

        1. Godson said it was raining when they arrived. He grew up in the Highlands, went to school in Edinburgh, so he must be used to it!

  31. I’m often not on Jay’s wavelength but today was the exception. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I’m going to break with my normal practice and pick a podium 15a because I could spell it, 18a because I got it and 1d because I knew it. Many thanks to Jay and 2K’s.

  32. Busy day with Zooming French and a Budget post mortem interspersed with ATP Tennis from Vienna so cruciverbal activity had to be fitted in around all that. I was slow off the mark and have to admit to drawing blanks on 13a and 8d. South went in first. 1d new one on me. Favs 1a and 4d. I also liked 17d parsing although IMHO solution not accurate. Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis. Hope all goes well for Colin post eye procedure.

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