DT 29856 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29856 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29856 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Greetings from a damp and dreary Warrington where the weather really doesn’t know what to do. Thanks to Senf for covering last Saturday while I was having to work. It’s still pretty hectic and I’m now nursing a dose of cellulitis, but hey ho!

And once again, we have our lovely lady setter on duty with a friendly puzzle that was pleasant with my porridge this morning.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

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.


4    Shook with cold three times as much around start of March (8)
We start with the word for multiplying three times around the first letter of March.

8    Last goal not oddly hurried (6)
A word for a goal or aim takes the even (not oddly) letters of HURRIED.

12    Main computer network in roof space (8)
The name for one of the world’s great waterways (that sort of ‘main’) is found by taking the name for a roof space in your home and adding the abbreviation for a type of computer network.

16    World’s response when Conservative comes to fore (8)
One of the trickier ones. A biblical-type name for the world is found by taking a word for a response and moving the C (Conservative) from the middle of the word to the start (comes to fore).

19    Ride with team travelling the Circle Line (8)
Nice clue. An anagram of RIDE and TEAM gives you a line found in a circle.

21    Cut into pieces parasitic insects inside coat of seed (6)
The name of horrible insects goes inside the outer letters (coat) of the word SEED.

23    Natural ability of a quiet little bird you’d picked up (8)
A word for someone’s innate ability is found by solving a Word Sum. Take A + the musical abbreviation for quiet + the name of a small bird + a three letter homophone of you’d.

26    Workers keep score using brainpower (8)
Something meaning workers, plus a word meaning to keep score.


1    Insignificant people in dissenting cliques (7)
A slang type word for insignificant people or lowlife is found by taking IN and adding the word for a group of dissenters.

2    A lake in alpine country or a distant one (9)
A, plus the abbreviation for lake goes inside the name of a European country to get somewhere farther and much in today’s sporting news.

5    Fellow losing head over electronic band’s recording (8)
The word for a fellow loses its first letter (to help, it’s a G) add an abbreviation for electronic and a type of band.

14    Intermittently encounter nitwit; truly gutless lightweight (9)
The alternate letters of two words from the clue, plus the outer letters of TRULY.

15    Toy’s success with daughter followed by grind (8)
Something meaning success, plus a letter that means daughter and add a word meaning grind.

17    To ease burden, consider having change of leader (7)
Take something that means consider and change its first letter to get the answer.

22    Royal entourage overheard in conversation (5)
The people who look after Her Maj can be a homophone for something meaning overheard.

As usual, remember to play nicely and don’t reveal answers. The naughty step beckons for those who do and there’s no Christmas cake with Lancashire cheese (mmmm) for you.

How did you find it? As easy as pie, or tough as stale stollen? Let us know, but no direct answering please.

Thanks to our lovely lady and I hope to see you next week.

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.


Music today is celebrating the life of Mike Nesmith, whom we lost this week. And is something you may never have heard of before. It’s rather beautiful.


and from his post-Monkee career:


58 comments on “DT 29856 (Hints)

  1. Welcome back and thanks to Tilsit for all your hard work over the year.

    I found this very much at the easier end of the setting spectrum, but as is usually the case with Chalicea, the whole puzzle was a delight to solve.19a was my favourite with its very smooth surface reading.

    Thanks to both Tilsit and Chalicea.

  2. Very well constructed clues. 4d gets my vote.
    Thanks setter and Tilsit, whose efforts I will read later.

  3. A good puzzle for beginners and occasional solvers with the setter in a benevolent mood.
    I’m guessing 22d may elicit a few comments. Runaway favourite for me 24a.
    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit

  4. Unlike Tilsit and YS, I didn’t find this puzzle that easy and it toook me as long to complete it as the very fine Sylvanus one yesterday (3*/2*). I thought 16 a was the best of the clues and couldnt fathom1d without looking it up online, whereupon it still took me a few minutes ro understand why. Thanksto Tilsit in damp and dreary Warrington from me in wet and wintry Wantage (not asparkling walk today). Thanks too to the compiler.

  5. A terrific puzzle that I found most enjoyable. However, I’m not sure I have 1d correct. The answer I have fits the parsing but not the definition. I am also not too sure where “vegetables” come into 9a so I will have to await the review to sort these out. I have stars by many clues such as 16a and 15d but my favourite clue today is 12a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the entertainment and grateful thanks to Tilsit for the hints.

    Having read that bird flu can be spread by dirty bird feeders, I went out and bought a second set so the ones in use can be cleaned. They will be alternated in future.

    Dull and cold in the Welsh Marches.

    1. Steve
      – Look up your answer to 1d in Collins online – definition 3.
      – 9a : you need a short word meaning to “cut vegetation”. Nothing to do with vegetables.

      1. Thanks, RD. I couldn’t understand that at all, no wonder, I had a totally wrong answer. That makes sense!

  6. Short and sweet cruciverbal fun beginning with glide through South followed by a little more challenge in the North. I suppose 25a are occupations! Haven’t come across 1d in reference to people and toy is not first thing to come to mind for 15d. Thank you Chalicea and Tilsit (missed your usual musical interlude but do hope you are soon restored to full health).

  7. 1*/3.5*. This was light and good fun, making a very pleasant start to the crosswording weekend.

    22d was my favourite with 19a in close contention.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

    1. RD. Re less/fewer (from yesterday), which I’ve had trouble with for decades, I’ve been doing a bit of research (I’m not disputing anything). Intriguingly, in the Chambers Thesaurus (and the online version) the primary synonym listed for Less is: FEWER! Then, immediately below (in the book) is a text panel explaining in detail that using less/fewer as synonyms is NOT correct English and the two don’t mean the same thing! No wonder confusion abounds, especially with supermarket signs saying: 10 ITEMS OR LESS.

  8. First pass induced a sense of panic but considered thought gradually winkled out the answers. Very well constructed puzzle.
    My only small gripe was 16a which didn’t really work. My favs were 23a, 4a and def 2d.
    Thx to all esp to the setter and the DT for providing a Saturday crossword that was within the scope of most solvers and also fulfilled my wish of yesterday in that I understood all the answers!
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, you have made my day – no my week. The first time you commented on one of mine, I think you gave it just one star. Today’s score has delighted me – maybe you are just becoming a more gentle critic!

  9. A very pleasant SPP with one or two clues/answers that gave pause for thought such as 1d – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 4a, 25a, and 26a – and the winner is 25a.

    Thanks to the Floughie Lady and Tilsit.

  10. Didn’t have this pegged as a ‘lovely lady’ production but it does make sense that it would be one of hers.
    Tops for me were 19&25a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit for the Saturday club.

  11. Lovely crossword today. I always enjoy Chalicea’s puzzles.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit. Hope you feel a lot better soon. Cellulitis is ghastly.

  12. On the benign side but, nevertheless, enjoyable and satisfying to solve.
    Last in 1d which, I thought, quite clever.
    Many thanks Chalicea and Tilsit for the review.

  13. Thanks both.
    Light crossword today, perfect tonic for waking up and tuning into Test Match Special.
    Brendan in the Graun is very good.

  14. No complaints at all although I can see where Angelov is coming from regarding 15d. **/*** Favourite 12a. Thanks to all.

  15. Lovely puzzle today, many thanks to our setter and hinter. And Tilsit, so sorry to hear about your cellulitis – I’ve started getting a bout of it every time I have a mosquito bite. Very unpleasant, hope it clears up soon.

  16. I just loved this Chalicea gem, especially the wit and cleverness of 16a, 19a, & 12a. And so much else. I needed this last night after an all-day ownership of my bathroom. Don’t ask. Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea. 1.5* / 5*

    A 230-mile-long massive tornado swept through four upper Southern states last night, wreaking terrible devastation in Kentucky with scores of lives lost.

    1. I’ve just read about the tornado on the BBC, Robert. It sounds horrendous. All the poor souls who lost their lives or their homes just before Christmas will need a great community effort tohelp them. Im glad you are unscathed.

    2. I feel so sorry for all those people, and the loss of life was almost 100. Tornadoes are so scary, they can be forecast in general but not like hurricanes.

  17. So sorry, Robert about the tornado and Tilsit for the cellulitis – many thanks for doing the time-consuming blogs despite being off-colour. We are under feet of snow (just in from the ski slopes where it took them two hours to get the lifts operating and we stood at the departure gates in driving snow at minus 4). Many thanks for all the appreciative comments – as I have said before, they add to the joy of setting.

  18. I have just solved the Saturday puzzle on Falcon’s National Post Blog. The last across clue was:

    Blow cover for a club party with beer (11)

    Any ideas? Answer, which is in the BRB, here SOCKDOLAGER

        1. I love words, especially strange ones as they are more interesting, so this one was lurking in the memory, although I did double check the meaning

        2. I’m not sure what the “cover for a” bit is doing, but it’s familiar as a word that expanded from a jocular term for the last verse of a hymn (metathesis and the Oxford -er to blame there!).

          1. The first four letters of the answer correspond to ‘cover for a club’ in the word play, but ‘club’ on its own might also provide them.

            1. Senf. To me, this is one of those clues where it’s not “less (i.e. brevity) is more” but “more is more”. Meaning that the clue (both the surface and word-play) is improved because it’s longer than it might have been. More solvers would realise that blow = sock (as in hit) than would know that (the more cryptic) “cover for a club” = sock. With just “club” the clue would be easier and the surface would be a little iffy also. I’m guessing you’ll reply if you disagree, but it would also be interesting to hear if you agree.

          2. I would say that “Blow cover” is the somewhat iffy definition, “for a” is a link and the rest of the clue is a word-play charade leading to the answer (split 4,2,5).

            1. Well Falcon, and I, would say that you are incorrect. In his blog, he shows ‘Blow’ as the definition which is a good fit with the answer. ‘Cover for a club’ gives the first 4 letter element of the 3 part charade.

              One thing I have noticed in solving Falcon’s Saturday puzzles is that the cluing is not as always as good as I find in the DT puzzles.

              1. Senf (and Falcon). I realised I was incorrect just after I pressed POST. I then I sent a request to delete it and assumed it had been erased (until now). Obviously not! A while later, something else occurred to me and I was going to comment about that but it was getting late so I didn’t bother. I will post it now below your comment at 3.57pm, above.

  19. No problems today for a change😁. A real delight, nothing stretchy or tenuous. I thought the toy in 15d had another name, only associated it with the larger item, but obviously I am wrong again. Thanks to all.

  20. 2 weeks running in the slot if I’m not mistaken for the floughie lady. Another light delight that would have been all over in a shade over * time had it not been for a brain freeze with 5d which took me to nearly ** time to twig. Like Steve I wasn’t entirely convinced at first that I had 1d correct as it wasn’t a definition synonym that would have immediately occurred to me. Lots to like – 12&16a along with 4&22d the ticks on my page.
    Thanks to Chalicea & Tilsit.

  21. Lovely puzzle today, maybe a tad harder than recent Saturdays but none the worse for that.
    I did like the long 4d but 24a gets my vote today even though when I filled it online it showed an error in spelling for which I blame Messrs Theakston and their beer.
    Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea.

  22. On first read through this puzzle I saw absolutely nothing to get me going. Then on next read through. I managed to get a couple of answers that made sense. Read in the blog it was likely Chalicea so I tried to get my mind on her wavelength and very quickly after I completed the right side with one answer in the left side. SW was last to fall. 2.5*/**** for me today.
    Clues I liked included 4a, 9a, 13a, 19a, 26a & 15d … can’t pick a winner as all were good.
    Good fun for Saturday.

    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit

  23. I did like this. 4d took me longer than it should, COTD was 10a,
    Good wishes to all those under the weather either physical and meteorological!

  24. All fairly clued apart from 1d. The word play means the answer has to be what it is. However I can’t see how it works, so I’m leaving it as dnf!
    Thanks to all.

  25. I too had my doubts about 1d – a tenuous synonym in my experience. Struggled too with 5d’s synonym but the parsing worked perfectly. Otherwise, Chalicea, thank you for a fun and doable puzzle. **/****

  26. I love Chalicea’s puzzles, though I thought today’s was trickier than usual, 1d took ages to work out. I also had a problem with 9a, though heavens knows why! My fave was 4d, it also helped a lot, I did like 12a too.
    Thanks Chalicea for the fun and Tilsit for help with a couple. Get better soon.

  27. Chalicea always provides a treat, and this one was no exception. I didn’t finish at the first sitting though, as a few answers stubbornly held out. But a second coffee helped, and then it was all over. COTD 4d. I did have 16a marked down in the margins for a while, before I was confident enough to ink it on. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit. Sorry about the cellulitis. Take care with that, and hope you have been able to see a doctor about that, as it can be quite nasty.

  28. I’m with BusyLizzie – a 2 coffee solve and lots of fun along the way. Thank you Chalicea. And Tilsit, try an animal doctor if you can’t find the real thing.

  29. What an enjoyable crossword. Many thanks to Tilsit for the hints and I hope you feel better soon and to Chalicea for a great crossword which I did struggle with initially but now feeling so pleased with myself for completing on my own. Something I haven’t done for a long time. I hope that you’re enjoying the snow and have good skiing. All sounds wildly exciting to me.

  30. Not able to sit down to this light and fun puzzle until today: amusing, satisfying, and a good warm-up for later crosswords.

    0.5* / 3*

    Thank you Chalicea & Tilsit

  31. Festive Greetings Puzzlers,
    I have a couple of questions regarding the Daily Telegraph Cryptic Crossword.
    Where are the names of winners published? I think they are due to be published on Monday 20th December 2021 from reading the notes with the crossword, but I know not where.
    1) Is there a list of previous winners online?
    2) Is the name of the previous winner published on the crossword page or another page in the physical paper?

    Many Thanks for answers to these questions and Much Gratitude to Big Dave and his persistent assistants..
    Bob B. (95yo Jazz Musician, Arranger, Tutor and Big Band Leader.)

  32. Took me a while to get started with this one but once brain started working it was fine. Hope I got 18a correct

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