DT 29860 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29860

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29860

Hints and tips by Miffypops

The Toughie has now been reinstated to the newspaper subscriptions app. If you haven’t already got it today please delete and reinstall the app. Thanks to our puzzles editor Mr Chris Lancaster for a speedy response once he  was notified of the issue

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

An excellent tussle today. Possibly from Giovanni (it is his turn and he rarely takes a day off but I’ve been wrong before) The anagram content is a tad too high for me but it does let one in to the puzzle.

I’m a little worried about the amount of Hmms being hmmed by our solvers. I’ve never given a hmm over a clue and I’m not going to in the future. Could these be the unintended consequences of all these collective hmms?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Only partially support football player (8)
HALFBACK: Only partially, or more precisely 50% of. Followed by a synonym of the word support endorse or second. This position between the forwards and the full backs in a football team was last referred to by Kennneth Wolstenholme in a match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End on the 16th March 1960. The result was a three all draw

5a        Hollow container dumped by river (6)
CRATER:  A slatted wooden container is followed by the abbreviation for river

9a        Responses from one racist out of order (9)
REACTIONS:  Anagram (out of order) of ONE RACIST

11a      Language that a militant uses (5)
TAMIL:  The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word uses

12a      OT’s aim to represent a religion (6)
TAOISM:  Anagram (to represent) of OT’S AIM

13a      Explorer taking time to offer transport services (8)
CABOTAGE:  Begin with an explorer. You may take your pick from Sebastian or John. Add a long period of time

15a      Sweet things, yet of concern, I fancy (13)

18a      Lay heart(s) bare? (4,4,5)
SHOW ONE’S CARDS:  The hearts here go together with Diamonds Clubs and Spades. The clue is a cryptic definition of a phrase meaning to open up and reveal your intentions

22a      Artist shows beast with no tail by hill (8)
ANIMATOR: A beast or creature minus its last letter is followed by a rocky outcrop

23a      Design   military display (6)
TATTOO: A double definition. Both rather obvious

26a      European   plant with edible root (5)
SWEDE:  A European national shares his or her name with a root vegetable which is delicious when boiled and mashed with butter and pepper

27a      Instruments to make geometric shapes (9)
TRIANGLES:  These geometric shapes are valuable instruments in a symphony orchestra.

28a      Most well-thought-out point is being accepted (6)
WISEST: The word IS from the clue sits comfortably in a point of the compass

29a      Dealer is excited — what’s converted into cash? (8)
REALISED:  Anagram (excited) of DEALER IS


1d        In this place with jerks and unorthodox types (8)
HERETICS:  A word meaning in this place is followed by some jerks or involuntary movements. How easy was that?

2d        Plain refusal has everyone upset at first (5)
LLANO:  Our usual word of refusal follows the reversal of a word meaning everyone. The result is a treeless grassy plain in South America known only to crossword setters and solvers

3d        Club first to cover electronic material (7)
BATISTE:  Do as it says on the tin and all will be well. Begin with the sort of club a cricketer might use to hit the ball. Add a three letter term denoting first such as you might use to suggest the first of the month. Add the abbreviation for electronic

4d        Conservative to quarrel and brag (4)
CROW:  The abbreviation for Conservative is followed by a quarrel or tiff

6d        At hotel taking part outside in beastly space (7)
RATHOLE:  The word AT from the clue together with the letter denoted by hotel in most phonetic alphabets are surrounded by a part in a theatre production perhaps

7d        Steamy row disturbed boy in book (3,6)
TOM SAWYER: Anagram (disturbed) of STEAMY ROW will lead to one of my favourite characters in English Literature.



“YOUR saying so don’t make it so.”

Tom drew a line in the dust with his big toe, and said:

“I dare you to step over that, and I’ll lick you till you can’t stand up. Anybody that’ll take a dare will steal sheep.”

The new boy stepped over promptly, and said:

“Now you said you’d do it, now let’s see you do it.”

“Don’t you crowd me now; you better look out.”

“Well, you SAID you’d do it — why don’t you do it?”

“By jingo! for two cents I WILL do it.”

The new boy took two broad coppers out of his pocket and held them out with derision. Tom struck them to the ground. In an instant both boys were rolling and tumbling in the dirt, gripped together like cats; and for the space of a minute they tugged and tore at each other’s hair and clothes, punched and scratched each other’s nose, and covered themselves with dust and glory. Presently the confusion took form, and through the fog of battle Tom appeared, seated astride the new boy, and pounding him with his fists. “Holler ’nuff!” said he.

The boy only struggled to free himself. He was crying — mainly from rage.

“Holler ’nuff!” — and the pounding went on.

At last the stranger got out a smothered “‘Nuff!” and Tom let him up and said:

“Now that’ll learn you. Better look out who you’re fooling with next time.”



8d        Expensive car   that goes over part of cricket field (6)
ROLLER:  A double definition. The car I wanted to take my test in is also a machine Used to level and compress cricket squares

10d      Fish due to be tracked covertly (8)
SHADOWED:  A species of anadromous clupeid fish naturally distributed on the North American coast of the North Atlantic, from Newfoundland to Florida is followed by a term meaning due in monetary terms

14d      Old cook covered in fat was particularly noticeable (5,3)
STOOD OUT: Begin with the abbreviation for old. Add a verb which means to cook or to perform, achieve or complete. Wrap a synonym of fat or portly around what you have already

16d      Horrible quality of unusual stain on head (9)
NASTINESS: An anagram (unusual) of STAIN is followed by a piece of land also known as a head, cape or promontory

17d      Supported, as one is after the match (8)
ESPOUSED: The match here is a wedding. This is what those involved at the serious end will become once the wedding ceremony is over

19d      Wild animals munched oranges (7)
ONAGERS: Anagram (munched) of ORANGES. Now there is an anagram indicator to enjoy

20d      Companion leading Queen over lake or some other water (7)
CHANNEL:  Begin with the abbreviation given to a Companion of Honour. Add a queen of England who died at around 7.30am on the 1st August 1714. Add the abbreviation for lake. Do any of our older solvers remember the death of this queen? Perhaps you might share your memories in the comments below

21d      City observed after conflict (6)
WARSAW: The past participle of the word see follows an altercation between nations

24d      Hats left among other items of clothing (5)
TILES:   The abbreviation for left sits inside the plural form of a type of neck wear

25d      Bouncy story with very little content (4)

LIVE: An extremely little form of the word very sits inside a story, untruth, or fib

Quickie Pun   Beach + Earful = Be cheerful

85 comments on “DT 29860

  1. Quite few guessable guesses in this offering being 2,3 and 19d. I think I may have seen the last one before but the other two were new. I just nudged into *** time even though there were quite a few easy anagrams. My COTD was 28a even though it was pretty easy. With thanks to Miffypops and the setter.

    1. The anagram of oranges at 19d used to be standard fare some years ago, it’s been some time since we’ve seen it!

  2. Quite a lot of words I had never heard of made this a difficult solve for me. 13a, 2d, 3d,19d were all new to me and, although I will try to commit them to memory, I doubt they will remain. At 22a, I dived straight in and tried to fit “creator” in. Obviously wrong but not confirmed until 16d showed me the error of my ways. My favourite and COTD is 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the tussle and to MP for making sense of it.

    The Quickie pun is very apt these days.

  3. This was a highly enjoyable puzzle wiith a good variety of clues and some great anagrams (2*/5*). 19d was a lovely anagram clue and the lurker at 11a was good too but COTD was a term I vaguely remember hearing before at 13a, and very cunningly put together. Many thanks to MP for the hints and to Giovanni for a lovely puzzle.

  4. A thoughtful and pleasingly tricky offering this morning that was certainly at the more difficult end of the setting spectrum, yet nicely and fairly clued throughout. I particularly enjoyed 7d for its surface, and 17d.

    Thanks to The Don, it it is indeed one of his, and MP for a comprehensive and amusing blog.

  5. I shot away from the starter’s gun like a startled rabbit, and ended up crawling over the finish line. This took me a full ****, mainly because I didn’t like my answer to 18a which turned out to be correct, but also because my brain took far too long to find the right explorer. It didn’t help that I didn’t know the resulting word.

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP.

  6. The Toughie today was much easier for me than this very tricky teaser, which I made a right hash of. Lost my marbles somewhere around 13a and 8d and had to go electronic for a few letters. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the challenge, with 17d and 20d my top two clues. Lots to like here. I remember learning about those 19d as a child in Vacation Bible School of all places. Thanks MP, especially for that very apposite passage from Mr Clemens, and today’s setter. **** / ****

      1. Very late reply…sorry. Had to get my Booster Jab first. Re the Paul today: There are many kinds of 2d (plural) that we simply don’t have over here, so I fell flat mostly with this one, though I do like linked clues very much. Also couldn’t remember the bowler. Thanks for the tip, Huntsman. I learned a lot by the ‘reveal’!

  7. Enjoyable, reasonably straightforward, and those new/forgotten (to me) words (13a, 3d, 19d) were readily gettable from the checkers.

    HMs to 1d and 10d; COTD to 17d.

    2* / 3.5*

    With thanks to the Setter, and of course to MP

  8. For me this had a somewhat dated/lacklustre feel to it, lacking the sparkle of recent puzzles.
    I did quite like 18,28&29a along with 17d though.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle and MP for the review, the Viagra joke made me laugh.

  9. Most surprisingly (& especially so if was a Giovanni puzzle) I was quickly on wavelength with this one for a brisk finish in well under ** time. I did however feel the need to confirm a number of words to be 100% sure they meant what I thought they did – 12&13a plus 2&3d. Last in was 24d which necessitated a couple of mental trawls through the alphabet before the penny dropped. 18a was my pick of the bunch. Unlike Robert I found Beam’s Toughie a fair bit trickier though not tough & pleased to see the puzzle restored to the digital paper edition.
    Thanks to the setter & Miffs

  10. Some tricky parsing today with enough anagrams and old chestnuts to provide the checking letters.
    Favourite was 17d Going for a **** /***
    Thanks all.

  11. Hurrah!
    My * .5 time made up for my yesterdays’ **** time.
    Correctly constructed two new words for me, 13a and 19d.
    Many excellent clues eg 17d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and Miffypops

  12. Decent Thursday workout. Two new words for me at 2d and 13a – but easily worked out from the clues MP messing with my mind with his illustration for 23a. Deja Vu 🥴

  13. Wouldn’t be a Giovanni with out three trips to the BRB to sort out new (to me) words.
    An enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to MP for the review.

  14. I never complain about too many anagrams. 3d and 20d took me a while, the latter because I was looking for a different sort of queen although she pops up often enough. Favourite 13a. Thanks to all.

  15. A nice Thursday puzzle from the great G, with mostly fine clues providing a fairly gentle but enjoyable solve. Fav: 3d. 2.5*, 3.5*.

    *5a, photo. I’ve often wondered why meteorites (not meteors, they never land anywhere) always manage to impact right in the middle of a nice big, round, convenient depression. Strange, isn’t it?

  16. A bit peculiar with some ‘unusual’ words, but what do I know? ‘Very little’ is the answer to that one.

    Yesterday evening we went to RHS Wisley for the Glow light show. It was rather impressive and well worth a visit if you are in the area. It doesn’t become as busy as some of the larger shows in the area and is all the better for it.

    Off to Stamford Bridge a little later; I’m concerned about the latest Covid statistics and I think this is our last proper ‘outing’ for the next few weeks.

    Thanks to the setter and The Miff upon whose tips I relied heavily today.

    1. He used to be our MP and lived just over our back fence – Both he and I have moved since then though.

      1. We had a family who lived at the bottom of our garden for a while. Not as interesting as The Lady in the Van. They now own their own house and have a successful business. They chose the right garden to invade

  17. Fortunately for me I have the interest in, and affection for, words both ordinary and mysterious as Giovanni, and I did know all today’s possible unknowns, apart from 13a where I decided the explorer who appears fairly often in crosswords (usually in connection with tobacco as his name reverses quite nicely to start that word) should go before some ‘time’ – I double checked in the BRB and there was another new ‘transport services’ to put in the memory bank.

    For me the more enjoyable of today’s DT offerings so thank you to Giovanni and MP

    Someone enquired recently about whether the Christmas yarn bombers had been busy in Herne Bay again this year. Well they are very late putting them up, but here’s the first one I spotted this morning.

  18. Would I be the only one who wrote in “lite” for 25dn (“with very little content”) and thinking that somehow lite must equate to bouncy. I really do not understand how “live” equates to “bouncy” …. “lively” maybe. Please can anyone explain?

    I don’t like clues like 13ac … without electronic help conjuring up the explorer whilst engrossed in the Test Match to find a very obscure word is not my cup of tea😎

    Never mind, I enjoyed the rest of the puzzle.

    Thanks to setter and MP

    1. 13a is unlikely to be known to many unless they’ve been or indeed still are involved in international transport but I think It’s doable from the clue. Depends how well you know your explorers!

      1. Of course it is doable, but when faced with general knowledge I usually start with the alphabet …. any explorer of 5 letters beginning with A? I did surmise that the last 3 letters would be “age”. It’s just that I passed over C without coming up with anything. It’s a bit like beginning a clue with “plant” and then having to go through the process of thinking of all 5-letter plants … but in this case it’s worse because the answer is so obscure. As CS mentioned, if somehow “tobacco”, for example, was in the clue with a reverse indicator, then I think it’s gettable but only after looking it up.

        I will say, however, in the compiler’s defence they sometimes have to resort to obscure words to complete their grid😎, but in suc cases I don’t think they should resort to GK in a cryptic. There are many other ways to clue.

        Any thoughts on 25dn?

    2. SW. Apparently, live can mean lively! But I had to research to find out. This from Chambers Thesaurus (both book and online):

      1 alive, living, having life, existent, breathing, animate
      2 lively, vital, active, energetic, dynamic, alert, vigorous
      3 burning, glowing, blazing, flaming, hot, ignited, alight

      1. Thanks Jose. I don’t have a copy of Chambers Thesaurus, but I did look it up online where “live2” doesn’t seem to quite match what I presume is your book version.

        But I still think, although “live” is synonymous with “lively, the connection to bouncy is very loose. One refers to someone being lively, but not bouncy. And if something/one is perhaps bouncy I hardly see how it/they can be described as being “live”.

        1. Try this. We’ve established that live = lively (as 2, above). From Chambers online dictionary:

          Bouncy (adj): 2 Said of a person: noticeable lively and energetic.

          Ergo, Live/lively = bouncy!

    3. Or did you mean how does live = bouncy, not live = lively?:

      As in live cables or maybe live bomb: charged, active, unstable, volatile or “bouncy”.

      1. Oh, an interesting take on that. But bouncy doesn’t actually appear in the Thesaurus as a synonym of live.

        1. That’s because every thesaurus can’t list every single possible synonym for every word and cross-referenced item every time – there simply isn’t enough room in single volume. You sometimes have to use reasonable/logical extrapolation. And readers, please don’t bring that if A = B etc theory into this one…..

          1. I think the whole debate shows that the clue isn’t the best to say the least. I’m inclined to agree with you SW. Live does not equate to bouncy. Jose has asked us not to mention A=B etc, I suspect it’s a case of him getting his defence in early as he knows a valid argument could be made by doing so.

            1. Well I don’t want to get into too much controversy over a clue, let’s just say I rest my case.

              1. It’s not so much “controversy”, more like friendly debate about a crossword clue and semantics – exactly what we should be talking about on this blog. You’ve given your opinion and that’s fair enough.

            2. The problem is that the setter has chosen to use an obscure/uncommon, maybe informal/dated too, synonym of lively (and that is what setters quite legitimately sometimes do). Apparently, live is a direct synonym of lively. Of course, most people would never use live instead of lively because it would look unconventional or even bizarre/wrong – but that’s not the point.

              Live (A) or lively (B) both can mean bouncy (C). Therefore A/B = C or A = B = C or any other combination.
              Bouncy meaning lively (or live if the setter insists) is often used when describing someone’s personality as in, for example: She is a very lively/live/bouncy (or energetic, zestful, etc) individual.

              I am 100% happy with the clue and my explanations and rest my case accordingly.

              1. Jose

                Thankyou very much for all your feedback. Yes, it is what the blog is about and long may it continue.

                  1. Never complain. Never explain..
                    Suck it up and move on.
                    Don’t sweat the small stuff.
                    It’s only a crossword puzzle. A trivial pastime.
                    Life’s too short

                    1. With respect MP I am certainly not complaining. I simply asked for an answer to be explained. I didn’t want the tangled explanation from Jose because it doesn’t really help. But I appreciate his efforts. It seems the simple answer is that I will never know something that everyone else seems to know!

            3. SL. I’ve deployed my pre-emptive A/B/C defence – feel free to unleash your counter A/B/C attack! :-)

              1. Whenever I glance at the comments late on in the evening & see that it’s a high number I have a small wager that a chunk of ‘em will be a thread started by or involving your good self (ping pong with RD my favourite) I like it or at least the bits that aren’t too erudite for me – I’m much more of a bung it in & move on solver.

  19. Surprised if this was indeed DG he isn’t usually over-reliant on anagrams. No real hitches but NE came in last. 23a rather loose design. 25d remained unfilled- lively yes but “live” surely not. 8d is fun clue. Thank you DG (?) and MP.

  20. I found this quite solvable apart from the NE where I managed to get 13a wrong and have always thought of 6d as two words 😬 anyway apart from that I found I eminently manageable ***/*** Favourites 22a & 14d 😃 Thanks to MP and to Giovanni

  21. DNF for me, just ran out of steam after a couple of new words, though reading everyone else’s experiences i should have tried harder. 2, 3 & 19d and 13a caused problems despite growing up close to the explorer’s tower.

  22. I sorry to say that I did not like this puzzle due to the fact many of the clues had no relevance to the answer to my way of thinking.
    Some of synonyms were very iffy IMHO.
    Not one for me today.

    Thanks to setter and MP

    1. Additional comment … the whole shebang was just far too obscure with iffy clues at best.
      A definite DNF nor did I wish to do so.

  23. Fairly typical Mr G Thursday offering. Same as others re “words to learn & then forget”.
    19d: liked the novel anagram indicator but can you really munch an orange?
    If only because it brought to mind the late great Duncan Edwards 1a gets my COTD. Remember from his biography when he was doing his National Service one season he played over 90 games (& of course no subs so 90 minutes every time). The current holder of the No 6 shirt at Old Traffordwouldn’t be fit to lace DE’s boots.
    Thanks to setter & MP for the usual comprehensive & amusing review.
    Also thanks to MP & CL for getting the Toughie restored to the e-version.

  24. I needed Miffypops to help with a few to get over the line.
    The obscurish explorer to clue an old-fashioned word was almost toughie standard but fair enough for a Thursday I suppose.
    The material was new to me as well, I used to have an MP of that name, and also recall it as a weird hairspray type stuff that Sister Bee used to use to avoid washing her hair too often.
    Thanks to setter and Miffypops – I loved the Twain quote too and have another old friend to rescue from the bookshelves for a re-read now.

        1. Jerome K Jerome’s book Three Men In a Boat published in 1889 mentions young lads playing the wag. It’s still used today

  25. Late start today but just about managed it. Some new words but gettable from the clues. I like discovering new words and I enjoy some general knowledge components which is a bit Marmite, I know. A smidge too many anagrams, maybe. All round a very good workout. Toughie time now.

  26. A couple of new words for me too. Took a while to hit on the right explorer but all in all good fun so thanks to the setter and MP and especially to MP for getting the electronic version up and running again. My Water Rail hasn’t been seen today. I was walking this morning with my WI walking group and they asked me if I was sure it was a Water Rail. I have seen it clearly though binoculars but not close enough to photograph it as it runs away. Can anyone suggest what else it could be? I’ve looked in my bird books and googled it but can’t find a similar looking bird. It is extremely shy. When we had our boat in Cambridge, we used to regularly see a Purple Galinule on the Ouse – I think it was an escapee. I asked the RSPB if they could release a mate for it as it solemnly built its little nest every year and it seemed so sad that it was on its own but they burbled on about altering the course of nature blah blah blah – its not as if it was a grey squirrel or a muntjac, just a beautiful lonely bird.

    1. Water Rail is most likely – none of the other Crakes or Rails have that length of bill and in UK are far from common. If it helps get it close for a photo my rescued pet Corncrake loved cat food – he would come racing as soon as the saucer was put down. Good luck with photo – I am very envious

  27. Well, the tiniest brain on this blog whizzed through this like a hot knife through butter. There were no new words, having worked in the airline industry (dear PanAm how I loved you!) I had no problem with 13a, you’d better be sure you knew what it meant, in fact, you could say it was a factor in PanAm’s demise. I had a problem with 15a at first, I was sure of the answer but I was also sure it ended in “..ary” and had to look it up … all right, so I can’t spell! I felt pretty smug with this one, I can’t believe it’s Thursday, I even remembered the “hats”. Fave was 19a.
    Thank you Giovanni for the fun, I’ve rarely been able to solve your offerings. Thanks also to M’pops for that review, so full of laughs and the excerpt from TS.

    1. Merusa, you are too modest – there are certainly many contenders (including probably yours truly) for “tiniest brain”! Always enjoy your transatlantic comments. NYC memories are precious to me.

  28. It’s always tricky to solve a puzzle containing words that you have never heard of as in 2d, 3d and 13a.
    Also the word for hats is weird. Finished with help but way out of my league and very unpleasant.
    Thx for the hints

    1. Brian
      I think we have had a discussion on “tile” for hat not so long ago.
      It gets a mention in “Any Old Iron”, probably before your time though.

  29. Gave up.
    Very little pleasure. Too many words I had never heard of or did not think fitted the definition.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP

  30. A tricky quite difficult puzzle for me, had all but 3 clues solved well into 2 time, but those pushed me to 3.5. Standardly entertaining,,,
    Thanks to MP for hints & the Don for today’s tester.

  31. I quite enjoyed parts of this puzzle, but it was spoilt for me by too many obscure words, 13a, 2d, 10d – the fish, 19d and 24d. 17d and 25d were also unhelpful. Yes, I got there with some help, but that diminishes the satisfaction level greatly. One obscure word in a puzzle is not unexpected, but not this many. Makes a Ray T puzzle look very user friendly 😊. Thanks to Giovanni and the clever Miffypops for the hints.

  32. Some new words for me within a *** difficulty puzzle thank you setter and MP for all the good humour

  33. Giovanni is like the little girl with the little curl,
    “When she was good,
    She was very, very good,
    But when she was bad, she was horrid.
    But when she was bad, she was horrid”
    Sometimes Giovanni is excellent, today he was horrid, obscurities for the sake of obscurities, yawn.
    Thanks both.

  34. 13a was obviously wagonage! No-one else heard of Herbert Wagon who charted the tributaries of the Orinoco? Or is it just me…
    Entertaining, as usual, Miff!

  35. Within 2 of finishing when I had to go and meet my friend Mike, who’s back from America, in the pub. No contest then. Unusually I haven’t read the comments. Thanks to all concerned.

  36. Done very late last night but left with three isolated clues. 13a and 25a and 19d. I had heard of the explorer. First name Sebastian as I recall. Fooled as I had put in a T for time. Stupid of course. I do not share the complaints about 25 and 24d. Tiles we have had recently and what else could it be when you had the checkers. I was slow with 25D but that was my fault. Thank you.

  37. 4*/3*….. needed help to confirm the parsing of several clues…
    liked 28A ” Dealer is excited — what’s converted into cash? (8) “

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