DT 29857 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29857

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29857

Hints and tips by Falcon

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are experiencing a day or two of extremely balmy temperatures. You are seeing me for the second week running as I have swapped today’s assignment with pommers. He will be in this spot for the following two weeks.

I would say that today’s puzzle from Campbell is situated toward the easier end of his range and contains a number of clues that one might call ‘old chestnurs’ or perhaps ‘golden oldies’. However, it is still fun to revisit old friends.

I searched in vain for a third Quickie pun —however, I almost invariably fail to find them.

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   Religious person, male, one of two higher in rank (6,8)
MOTHER SUPERIOR — a charade of M(ale), a different member of a pair, and higher in rank

9a   Look angry pointing to blot on the landscape (7)
EYESORE — link together words meaning look (at) and angry

10a   Like tyres found in the undergrowth, son and husband ditched? (7)
RUBBERY — prune the abbreviations for son and husband from the front of another word for undergrowth

11a   College register returned (4)
ETON — reverse (returned) a musical register

12a   Justifiably popular, always? Goodness gracious me (4,1,5)
WELL I NEVER — a four-letter word for justifiably (“XXXX-founded suspicions”), a two-letter word for popular, and a four-letter word for always

14a   Tricky question brought to light in quite a sermon (6)
TEASER — a lurker concealed in the final three words of the clue

15a   Carry weapons to support members (4,4)
BEAR ARMS — a word sum of a word meaning support and some anatomical members

17a   Indicate fielding position elsewhere (5,3)
POINT OUT — a fielding position in cricket and a word meaning elsewhere or away (from home or the office)

18a   Attempt mostly opaque sort of novel like ‘Frankenstein’? (6)
GOTHIC — an attempt or turn in a board game and a word meaning opaque or difficult to see through from which the final letter is removed (mostly)

21a   Battle involving the British? Could it be Salerno? (3,7)
NEW ORLEANS — this battle in the War of 1812 could be used by a setter to clue SALERNO

22a   Huge Greek character losing face (4)
MEGA — remove the initial letter (face) of the last character in the Greek alphabet

24a   Bail out sailor, a pantomime hero (3,4)
ALI BABA — an anagram (out) of BAIL, the abbreviation for a mid-level sailer in the Royal Navy, and the A from the clue

25a   Condiment that may be given a shaking before starter in restaurant? (7)
VINEGAR — an anagram (shaking) of GIVEN A preceding the initial letter of Restaurant

26a   Whiskey taken by big-band leader after grouse dish (4,10)
BEEF WELLINGTON — arranged in the order specified in the clue, a grouse or complaint, the letter represented by Whiskey in NATO alphabet, and an American big band leader


1d   Movie star, with stitch in side, keeled over (3,4)
MAE WEST — place a verb meaning to stitch inside a sports side; then reverse the lot (keeled over)

2d   Who I meant when confused about Italian’s novel (3,5,2,5)
THE WOMAN IN WHITE — an anagram (confused) of the first four words in the clue wrapped around the abbreviation for Italian (the language or the vermouth); the 1859 Wilkie Collins’s novel is one of the earliest examples of detective fiction

3d   Mythological god raised in Tarsus or Ephesus (4)
EROS — a lurker standing on its head (raised in a down clue) in the final three words of the clue

4d   Understand about daughter making one grow furious (3,3)
SEE RED — to understand or grasp, a short Latin word denoting about or concerning, and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

5d   Area with lines laid in dock, 50 side by side (8)
PARALLEL — insert the maths symbol for area and two instances of the textual abbreviation for line inside a verb meaning to dock or cut off; then append the Roman numeral 50

6d   Mug newly married man outside in vestry (6,4)
ROBING ROOM — to mug or separate a victim from their valuables and a newly married man surround the IN from the clue

7d   Merry individual in charge of team of rowers? (3,4,3,5)
ONE OVER THE EIGHT — a 3-letter word for individual, a four-leeter word for ‘in charge of’, and a (3,5) term denoting a team of rowers

8d   Island, source of cough syrup in original form (6)
CYPRUS — the initial letter (source) of Cough, and an anagram (in original form) of SYRUP

13d   Partner improved on fifty per cent (6,4)
BETTER HALF — improved (as in recovered from an illness) and the fraction equivalent to 50% of a whole

16d   Strong wind that’s got up breaks safety device in body of plane (8)
FUSELAGE — reverse (that’s got up in a down clue) a strong wind and insert it in an electrical safety device

17d   Friendly foreign correspondent, perhaps (3,3)
PEN PAL — cryptic definition of someone with whom you might exchange correspondence

19d   Greek cast in series causes annoyance (7)
CHAGRIN — the abbreviation for the Greek language inserted in a linked series

20d   Complain tearfully as name appears in jeans upside-down (6)
SNIVEL — the single-letter abbreviation for name pocketed by a reversal (upside-down) of an American brand of jeans

23d   Clerical dignitary heading off soon (4)
ANON — strip the name of a clerical dignitary of its initial letter

I liked the two fifteen-letter clues; I’ll give the edge to7d for the smile it evoked.


Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : MONARCH + ROAMS = MONOCHROMES

54 comments on “DT 29857

  1. I found this rather quaint but very well constructed puzzle a little trickier than the average Monday. However it all came together nicely in the end though it took me a while to see the reverse anagram at 21a, which I solved from the wordplay and checkers without knowing the definition.
    My standout clues were 9,10&18a plus 19d as it’s a lovely word.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers for the fun.
    Can’t get ” Happiness is a Warm Gun” out of my mind after 1a. Not complaining, it’s a great song.

  2. An enjoyable puzzle to start the week (19d. 21a and26a were the best of the clues, in my book. I take issuewith the synonym for undergrowth in 10a as it usually refers to an area of fairly substantial bushy planst in a garden rather than low-growing ones underneath but I’m sure it’s probably in the BRB. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell for a fine puzzle.

  3. just a quick note before a shopping trip, Crossword fine and easier than some Campbell’s Thanks to Falcon and Campbell.
    Re third pun best I can see is ADD A PAYLOAD towards the bottom.
    TTFN A dash round the shops is Mama Bees’s demand today.

  4. An exceptionally friendly Monday crossword which I enjoyed while it lasted

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  5. I’m thinking this was one for those of us who have come comparatively lately to cruciverbalism (if that is correctly expressed). I could do it, generally understand it and it was great fun – Was 6d a Golden Oldie? I thought it was funny!
    Thank you to the setter and to Falcon whose explanations were all the more appreciated bacause I didn’t need them quite as much as usual.

  6. 1*/3.5* making a light but fun start to the week with 18a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  7. Good fun whilst it lasted. Hadn’t heard of 2d but checkers to the rescue. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  8. 18a and 7d were my top two from this friendly and enjoyable puzzle that brought some joy to this cheerless Monday morning. A quick scan of the Quickie indicated that there is no third pun this week. I await my come-uppance from our setter.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  9. Unlike Brenda Spencer, I look forward to Mondays, and Campbell’s excellent puzzles. This was no exception. Everything was there in the clues.

    We were at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to watch Chelsea scrape home against a battling Leeds team. Many are beginning to speculate that the ‘new manager bounce’ is becoming deflated at Chelsea.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Joe Walsh – The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  10. That was a gentle start to the working week, and very enjoyable. Joint favourites are 6d and 7d. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

  11. The answer to 8d was obvious, especially with the checkers, but I dont understand “in original form” as an anagram indicator?

  12. A refreshing way to break from Christmas chores and news about Covid. South was comparatively effortless with rather more application required in the North. 11a college is certainly a well used chestnut from sundry clues. Struggled to think around Salerno battle for 21a but ultimately the penny dropped like a lead balloon (mixed metaphor or perhaps simile!) and it became Fav together with 7d. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

  13. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: 1.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 6d, 7d, and 13d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  14. A wonderful puzzle to get the week off to a good start. I particularly liked 7d because I had totally forgotten that particular eight and spent a long time going round the Wrekin. I’m not sure that 10a with son and husband is undergrowth. Mind you, looking at mine they are. No real favourites today because all clues were good but I did have stars by 9a and 19d.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun. I agree with John Bee that there may be a third Quickie pun but it is a bit tenuous. Many thanks to Falcon for the hints.

    With regard to the novel in 18a, it is a pity that it became synonymous with horror films. It is a very melancholy and poignant tale.

  15. Nice way to start another non-working week and I’ve no doubt several clues are worthy of consideration for the top spot but I can’t see beyond 26a – just the thought of it is bliss!

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the words and music. I think we only have two sets of ‘official’ traffic lights on the island but those pesky temporary set-ups around road-works are the bane of our lives……….

  16. Second try, other post just disappeared.
    Not so straightforward for me. Not helped by my ignorance of 2d so needed all the checkers before confirming with Mrs LrOK (ex librarian) that it was a book.
    19d my COTD, as StephenL said lovely word.
    Thank you Campbell and Falcon for the review.

  17. Well. this was an odd one, this morning I only managed the NE corner. Then sat down half an hour ago and it all made sense so thanks to all. We have a new visitor in the garden, a Water Rail on our pond. Can anyone enlighten me as to whether this is a good thing or whether I should discourage it. Will it eat my tadpoles if I get any? It scarpers when I go out and yell at the muntjac but always returns, pretty little thing. Thanks for any advice.

  18. A slightly different flavour to the usual Monday fare and none the worse for that. **/*** on that note, I’ll nominate 26a as my favourite. Thanks to all.

  19. I don’t usually do the Monday puzzle so I found this difficult. Finally got on the wavelength and finished it.

  20. Smooth puzzle with 9a as my favourite clue (but 5d rather convoluted) thank you Campbell and Falcon

  21. Very late on this chilly Carolina morning (so I slept-in a bit). I think that Stephen L’s ‘quaint’ describes this very enjoyable, lovely but different puzzle quite well for me. I’d never heard of 8d but the clue was fair, google was right on, and now I’ll use it all the time, as a metaphor for over-extension! 2d is one of my favourite semi-18a novels, and Steve C is right about its poignancy. As soon as I realised what that battle was in 21a, Johnny Horton’s huge hit became my earworm (it replaced the insistent ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’, which has been lodged in my ear for days). Top three: 21a, 18a, & 1a. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. ** / ****

  22. Lovely start to the week 😃 ***/*** Favourites 10a, 25a & 1d, 6d 🤗 Many thanks to the Falcon and to Campbell 👍 With reference to having a Water Rail visit your pond Manders all I can say is Wow! Looking at your avatar I wonder if you live adjacent to the bird watching paradise that is the North Norfolk Coast. They are so difficult to see and are usually identified from their calls 😳

    1. Yes Jaylegs, I am fortunate to live in Cley, the bird reserve is 5 minutes on my bike, a lovely place to visit. Our Water Rail hasn’t made a noise yet but I will try and take a photo of him/her tomorrow and post it.

      1. You’re very lucky to have your new incumbent, Manders, please don’t try to scare him/her away. I’ve no doubt that the tadpole population won’t suffer unduly from the attentions of a solitary Water Rail. Frogs are ‘designed’ to produce such vast quantities of spawn precisely in order to ensure that at least some of their offspring survive – Water Rails don’t raise vast numbers of chicks.

  23. Back home to a surprisingly mild day. I thought both this & the bonus online puzzle lovely confidence boosters for the week ahead. Like Jane 26a was pick of the crop for me. I was vaguely familiar with the 1812 battle but had to confirm otherwise a swift problem free solve. I too pored over the Quickie in search of a third pun but unlike Steve & John couldn’t find one.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon.

    1. I reckon Campbell adds them occasionally to ensure that we all have a go at the Quickie on a Monday and his hard work doesn’t go to waste!

  24. One of those puzzles that appears tricky but when complete you can’t see why.
    I am old but 1d is even before my time! Movie star indeed!
    No real favourites but mildly enjoyable.
    Thx to all

  25. Another gem from Campbell. Nothing obscure, but I needed Falcon’s help to unravel a couple. I’m familiar with the novel in 2d but I don’t think I’ve ever read it. There is so much good stuff here, how to choose a fave? Maybe 19d for the word itself.
    Thanks Campbell, that was a real treat, and Falcon for explaining 10a!

  26. Completed this puzzle in a very disjointed fashion with grandson running around here today. 2*/4*
    No real issues or difficulties today.
    Favourites include 10a,14a, 5d, 6d & 19d with winner 19d

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  27. Thank you for a doable crossword Campbell. I liked the misdirection in 21a. I spent too much time trying to fit a ‘B’ into the answer! **/****

  28. Agreeable solve. Only one gripe. Opaque to me means that light cannot pass through or impossible to understand. Th*** is something else entirely. Blooming thesauri always overegging the custard.
    Thanks to all

  29. Lovely puzzle throughout.
    Very satisfying to complete unaided.
    Liked especially 12a and 17a.
    Pondering 21a for too long just popped me into ** time.
    Many thanks, Campbell and Falcon for Mae West and the review.

    1. The answer could be interpreted as the cluing for an anagram (new) of ORLEANS giving the result SALERNO. (The Battle of New Orleans was a decisive victory by the Americans over the British in the War of 1812.)

  30. A good start to the week and an excellent way to take my mind off whether “the doctor might be here for your appointment, or he might not” message I got woken up with today. I did see him, thankfully. I thought I was going to finish unaided, but had to succumb to the hints 18a (missed that is was an anagram) and 6d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  31. Once I got on the correct wavelength this was an enjoyable solve right up until 21a. Seems I am the only person to have never heard of this seemingly obscure battle. As the British lost maybe it gets less publicity.

    I often struggle with this sort of clue so may not have got it even if I was a military historian.

    Thanks to all.

  32. Amazingly for me, I have finished on the day the crossword is published. I usually complete a few and then finish off in the early hours of the next morning. I always do the quick crossword first and that’s usually a good indication of the difficulty of the cryptic crossword. I enjoyed both today and thought them both excellent. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. Tomorrow I need to send off Christmas cards and am bracing myself for the postage stamp cost. I’m late this year and not sure cards going to Europe and Australia will arrive on time. Fingers crossed!

    1. I don’t know how many you are sending, GH but we sent eight to various places around the globe – Europe, America and Australia. Eight cards – postage £40!

      Also, our daughter who lives in Australia sends us a couple of jiffy bags each Christmas containing silly little gifts for Mrs C and I. This year we had to pay customs tax. £93 per jiffy bag!

      1. I’ve taken to “cheating” with overseas cards and depend on the excellent Jacqui Lawson. Her animated cards are especially good for young children so it’s not an entirely heartless option. My great granddaughter enjoyed a “ kitten on the keys” for her second birthday in Toronto. How I wish I could have been there!

  33. Bedtime, but must just say thankyou Campbell ? for a great start to the week and to Falcon for explaining my last one in.

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