DT 29879 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29879 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29879 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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A very quick blog today as I am working and feeling a bit under the weather.  Maybe that’s why I found this a bit of a challenge. I could probably have given hints to most of the clues.  But we can’t.

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.

1              Authentic rock sounds (4)
A word that sounds like to rock is something that means authentic.

10           Queen Elizabeth coin occupying her attendant’s interest (10)
The abbreviation for Her Majesty plus a name for a foreign coin both go inside the name for a royal attendant.

11           Odd characters in sect ruin POTUS — many are employed in Hollywood! (7)
Take the odd characters in three of the words.

14           Solvers look for them first or last — if not inside, unusually (11)
What always comes first or last in a crossword clue is an anagram of IF NOT INSIDE

18           Obvious schools should ban independent pop? (11)
A verb meaning schools, loses the letter I (for Independent); adding the what a pop can be.

21           Two exercises, warlike — oddly avoided being shot in the arm (3,4)
The abbreviation for exercise plus the non-odd characters of WARLIKE give something motivational.

23           Lines up the mariner’s chart? (10)
The lines that go from north to south on a map.

25           Build up series, with Spain knocking out Italy next (10)
A word for a series of items swaps the abbreviation for Spain with that of Italy, add a word meanin next or subsequent.

26           Invites idiot to protect king (4)
A word for an idiot goes round the abbreviation for King.


1              Attack won’t start, by the way (8)
The word for a military attack minus its first letter

4              Upwardly-mobile Mensa editor is full of these brainwaves (5)
A hidden reversal.

5              Dodgy casino in Cos rearranged events (9)
An anagram of CASINO inside an anagram of COS.

6              Superfluous sunscreen goes off over a year (11)
An anagram of SUNSCREEN goes over A, and then add one of the abbreviations for year.

12           Period in America perhaps that’s overlooked by lazy writers (11)

Two definitions, one cryptic.  What is called a period across the pond is something people who are lazy can’t be bothered to use.

15           In practice, one covers one song linked with clubs? (9)
An item of clothing you’d use doing your exercises is the name for one song (on an album) above what clubs is.

17           Mends past-it chesterfield, to an extent (8)
Another hidden answer.

20           Cricketer takes six balls, with writer dismissing five (6)
A word for six balls in cricket with a word for a writer replacing the letter for five.

22           Scrap or truce in talks? (5)
A word for a scrap is a homophone for a type of diplomatic talks.

How did you find it?  A walk in the park or a stroll through treacle?  Let us know your thoughts.

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.

The Quick Crossword pun:  FORE + POST +ABED  = FOUR-POSTER BED

108 comments on “DT 29879 (Hints)

  1. I enjoyed this. Just right for a rainy Saturday morning. 8d and 15d made me smile. Thanks to today’s setter and Tilsit (in due course)

  2. 2*/3.5*. This was good fun to brighten a dark and dank morning in London.

    My repetition radar bleeped (quietly) over “odd” and “oddly”, although in one case it was to signal inclusion and in the other removal.

    12a was my favourite. It chimed with me both for the clear indication of the American word and for the sentiment expressed by the definition/surface.

    Many thanks to the setter and in advance to Tilsit.

      1. Thanks, Angellov. I see I typed 12a instead of 12d, although I think my 12d was perfect! :wink:

      2. One of my favourite books, I refer to it often. Gowers’ The Complete Plain Words is another one dear to my heart.

          1. No doubt! If I remember correctly, I first got it when I lived in London in the early 1960s, the language has morphed a lot since then.

  3. I struggled a bit with a silly bung in and a couple of alternative endings that fit the checkers I had at the time but got it sorted in the end. I agree with Jonners re 8and 15d. 8d being one of the checkers I needed to get 13a. I also have a couple of parsings to check but reasonably confident I have them correct.
    Thanks to Tilsit and setter.

  4. I too put an alternative but plausible answer in one of the long down clues and held myself up thereby. I found it very tricky and some of the clues were downright groanworthy (3.5*/2.5). The best of a rather mixed bunch of clues were10a and 23a for me. Thanks to Tilsit for doing the hints (not easy with this morning’s quirky clues) and to the compiler.

  5. Miserable here too in a grey and blustery Shropshire. This certainly brought some much-needed enjoyment into my morning, with some tricky clues alongside some easier ones to make the whole process of solving a delight. 12d was my last one in and favourite, although 12a came close.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter for the fun, and to the hard-working Tilsit.

  6. Still haven’t solved 19d and I had too many bung ins to be an enjoyable puzzle for me. Some clues were quite quirky and needed quite a bit of thought to unravel them But that’s cryptics for you. No real favourites – just glad to finish (nearly).

    Many thanks to the setter for the puzzle and Tilsit for the hints. Hope you feel better soon.

        1. I have no problem with that, those always come first or last. I can’t figure out 8d, have no idea but I did bung in something just to finish.

          1. Redacted comment

            Please take note of the instructions in red at the bottom of the hints

            We have had to point this out to a number of posters this weekend.

            The blog carries hints to a set number of clues each weekend for the prize puzzles. If you are stuck and it’s not been hinted at, there will be a blog after the closing date. Please do not put the blog in jeopardy by ignoring the etiquette.

        1. Think about Billy Ocean’s song that has four words in its title, beginning ‘Red’ and ending ‘Danger’.

  7. Thanks Tilsit….hope you feel a bit better soon .

    Definitely wading through treacle here, so not a lot of enjoyment I’m afraid.

  8. A bit of headscratching required but nothing too serious and overall there was some fun to be had. SW came last mainly due to 23a not occurring to me for sometime and when it did ‘mmm’ was invoked! My Favs included 18a, 1d and 2d. Quick Crossword pun is amusing. Weather is 11a (dull and wet) in W. Sussex. Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit who hopefully will soon 25a.

  9. You and RD loved 12a, YS, but I thought it was rubbish.

    So poor that, frankly, the setter shouldn’t have included it at all.

    (I’m so childish)

    1. OK, OK, It’s a fair cop, guv. I typed “a” instead of “d”. My excuse is that I was up half the night watching cricket. Even proXimal admitted to an oversight with the missing Y from yesterday’s puzzle.

      As an aside, on the evidence of one innings, Ollie Pope as a substitute wicket-keeper looked far more competent than either Buttler or Bairstow in that role especially standing up.

      1. Not having BT sport I scanned the electronic Telegraph’s sports pages for the scorecard of the day’s play without success. Are they assuming we would be better off not knowing what is going on?

      2. Watching a dead rubber, which we usually win (our specialty), in the middle of the night – I admire your commitment and loyalty.

        We need Jos as he’s a freak of nature, like Gilchrist. Taking the gloves off him is a great idea. I like Foakes but Ollie P will most certainly do.

        1. Foakes is by far and away the best wicket-keeper we have got in England and he can bat very well too – more than adequate as an International number seven. Why on earth he has not played more for England is a mystery to me (notwithstanding his unfortunate injury last year). It is so obvious to me that you should play your best keeper – it is such a critical position and guaranteed to bring the best out in your bowlers. Calling up Billings for the final test is a bizarre and unnecessary continuation of the same flawed ECB philosophy, although I suppose the fact that he is already in Australia may have influenced that decision given Covid restrictions for entry into Australia. But why not give Pope another go with the gloves in Hobart? He looked very good indeed on this morning’s showing.

          1. I didn’t understand a word of that but I love cricket chat. It’s a language all by itself, my brother loved it and it brings it all back.

            1. :-)
              I absolutely love cricket, Merusa, and I’ve continued to support England every year since I was seven. It’s been a seesaw experience with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. I also started to play the game at primary school and have been lucky enough to be able to continue to play every season since then.

              1. As you know, Jamaicans live and breathe cricket. I remember arriving at our tennis club when a test was on, anywhere or any nation in the world, and the first question was “have you heard the score?”

                1. The Windies from 75 to 90

                  Good, good times.

                  I immediately changed my allegiance to Hampshire when I saw Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge hit 17 in one over in the JPL on a Sunday afternoon in the mid-70s. Birds tweeting, cucumber sandwiches and the crash of leather on boundary boards.


                  John Arlott, the best sports commentator of all time bar none, didn’t know what to say as 8 in an over was a fine effort in those days.

                  He came out with the best line that even tops Ken Wolstenholme’s beauty (a bold statement)….

                  ‘The bowler is now Robert Cunis. Funny name that. Neither one thing nor the other.’

                  Gordon is my hero, btw. His top first class score was 273.

                  Hence my pseudonym.

                  1. G273
                    When I was growing up “foreign” players were not allowed in the County Championship so we got them all as pros. in the Lancashire League & Central Lancashire League. It was watching the likes of 3W’s every Saturday that was my introduction to cricket. Plus Washbrook, & Ikin facing Trueman at Old Trafford.

                  2. Gg
                    Your post bought back memories.
                    I loved cricket when I was in my early teens, always watched the JPL on a Sunday and for Tests it was the television on with the sound turned down and TMS on the radio. Heaven.
                    I struggle to watch it now, too many graphics on screen , everything far too “busy” .

                    1. Life is about memories and I’ll cherish those until I’m six feet under or should that be…Down Under?

                      Oh, stop it.

                1. When a couple of people are talking about a shared interest, I don’t understand why someone else pipes up, saying ‘I hate cricket’.

                  Was it really necessary, DG?

                  Pets don’t do it for me, though we have some, but I would never dream of posting in this blog ‘I hate cats and dogs’ (I don’t) as they mean a huge amount to a lot of people as cricket does for me and RD and possibly others.

                  If we asked everyone ‘Do you like cricket?’ then you go for it.

                  1. Well I love it! Dad was a lifetime played in member of the MCC and took me to Lords from about 7 or 8. I knew Mike Proctor well when I lived in Cape Town and also Eddie Barlow who lived next door to my cousin.

                    1. Mike Proctor – what a frightening bowler. He got a devastating hat trick against my adopted county, forever rolling up his sleeves.. Benaud was on fire that day.

  10. Enjoyable solve for another grey and overcast day where sunscreen would definitely be superfluous!
    Can’t think of an occasion where I would pluralise 23a, it seems far more natural to me to add an ‘s’ to the line but perhaps it’s technically accurate?
    12d was definitely my favourite.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints.

    1. I seem to remember you didn’t enjoy the first book in SJ Bennett’s Her Majesty the Queen Investigates series as much as I did, but I thought I’d just say that I’ve now read the second one (A three dog problem) and enjoyed that one too

      1. I’ll give it a try, don’t want to be guilty of dismissing an author on the basis of just one book.

      2. Methinks the author has read the “Her Majesty Investigates” books of Winnipeg author C C Benison!

  11. Crikey this was a good bit trickier than the usual SPP fare. My brain may have been a bit frazzled by a lengthy battle this morning with yesterday’s Osmosis Toughie (within 4) but this was certainly the most challenging back-pager of the week for me, nicely clued & very enjoyable too. Reckon the best of the clues in the downs – 1,2,7,8,12,15&20 all ticks on my page.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit – feeling chipper soon I hope.

  12. For me this was the best puzzle of the week.

    Favourites were 10A, 1D, 7D, 8D & 15D.

    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit. Hope you feel better soon.

  13. Perhaps because of the lingering after effects of my third jab on Wednesday this was not a lot of fun and was somewhat curate’s eggy – ***/**.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 25a and 8d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  14. Unfortunately still got 8d to go – maybe it will come a bit later on. Hopefully I am attaching a picture of our fantastic seafood platter take-away we had last night. In fact there was so much we had the remainder for lunch today. I think this might become a regular Friday night treat. Thanks to all on a horrid cold, wet day in N Norfolk. Hope you feel better soon Tilsit. Any hint for 8d gratefully received!

      1. I just wish your source was not so far away from us! Two hours is a long way
        for a takeaway trip!

    1. Still trying to figure out exactly how many items were included in your seafood takeaway which does indeed look delicious – perhaps you could let us have a list of contents?
      As for 8d, I’ve just seen that you’ve got it so have deleted my ‘hint’ which may have been deemed as being too helpful in any case!

      1. Jane there was heaps of it – prawns in their shell, crevettes, anchovies, flaked salmon, smoked salmon (masses) celeriac remoulade, gerkins, olives, tomatoes all on a huge bed of rocket with hot rolls and hot baguette slices. Scrummy!

        1. I’ve never heard of crevettes. I’ve filed it away for future use, wouldn’t it be funny if it came up in the Dada tomorrow!

        2. That sounds very scrummy indeed, Manders, and the price was no doubt justifiable if you got an extra meal out of it. Just think, that would make two meals each week that you don’t have to even worry about!

          1. The platter is 25 quid for 2 which did us two meals. They are lovely people. Cley Smokehouse is just down the road from them and I guess they buy in from them but if I bought the self same items from CS, I would pay heaps more. Yesterday’s platter was extremely generous, maybe because I chatted up the dogs! In answer to Merusa, I think you may call crevettes shrimps but to me shrimps are very small.

  15. Not my cup of tea today at all. It wasn’t a case of did not finish but rather that I totally interest. Probably having an off day. Thanks to all anyway.

  16. It is such a filthy wet day here that it was a pleasure to divert our thoughts to the crossword. I put stars against 10 & 25a and 12d of course. 8d made me laugh. Hope you feel better Tilsit, my husband’s remedy for anything is alcohol usually a Whisky Mac.He had to fortify himself after Coffee Stop this morning which was very busy despite the weather. Oh. I must tell you. Our defibrillator was used last night! The appointed Trustee had an email this morning from the Emergency Services to say it had been used and she came along to the hall to check that all had been replaced correctly. I am sorry for the person who was taken ill but we are all really chuffed that it was there when it was needed. Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  17. After being out walking in the pouring rain all morning I this was a very welcome mental workout, I thought it was super.
    My ticks go to 10&25a plus 7,12&15d but could have mentioned more.
    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

      1. Was there not an “s” missing CS? The post with the picture has come up as “Mander” not “Manders”.

  18. Found this tougher than I think I should have. Ended up with a half dozen clues scattered around the grid that I could neither make head nor tail of. Ended up as a DNF, but found the answers eventually. 4*/2* for today.
    Favourite by a country mile was 12d followed by 10a.
    Had 3a as ‘xxxxxxxxxx’for a while and that didn’t help either.
    14a made me smile
    Thanks to setter and the ever hard working Tilsit

  19. Found this pretty much standard level for an SPP..
    12d my COTD.
    Thanks to setter & Tilsit: hope you feel better soon.
    Up here a Horrid cold wet morning has given way to a bright sunny afternoon.

  20. Found the top half fun and well clued but the bottom half was decidedly tricky. Thx for the explanation for 25a, my answer was right but the wordplay eluded me as it does for 19d.
    Best clue for me was 12d.
    All in all enjoyable even if at one stage I nearly gave up!
    Thx to all

    1. I think,for the first time ever today, I couldn’t be bothered to think about it any longer. Sometimes life’s too short!

      1. ;-) Lol, my brain has become completely tangled after struggling to parse 19d, despite being 99% sure that I have the correct answer for it. I have to say though that I love 21a & I made it my favourite for today. Ta to setter and Tilsit, a nice Saturday mental ‘workout’.

    2. Two things, Brother Ian, me old cocker spaniel:

      1. 19d – ‘shifts’ is a noun and ‘signals’ is a verb

      2. I absolutely love your rating of 2.5* for difficulty. I understand why you included the brackets to solve your predicament. but it’s truly brilliant.


        1. Brian I struggled with that one, but I can just about see the justification.
          I was proud of myself for getting the crickety one! I am learning – slowly.

      1. “I” can parse 19d with both being verbs. In fact that was what I wrote in…then realized there was also the noun/verb solution. I suppose the latter was meant.

  21. What a good way to spend some time during a cold grey wet January Saturday afternoon in Wales – 8d as my favourite! Thank you Setter and Tilsit, hope you feel better soon

  22. Phew trickier than the normal SPP for us 4*/3* as the SW corner held us up . . . Quite a lot! Took ages to work out why 19d meant signals.
    Hope you feel better soon Tilsit.

  23. Gadzooks, that was tough, but there was a lot to enjoy. It was the why that I found so difficult. Loved 3a, 10a, 23a, 1d, 12d and so many more gems. I could choose a fave out of any of those. Is 1a supposed to be a homophone of another word for rock? Hmmm … I still don’t get the why of 25a, and a bung in at 8d is off the wall, it must be wrong.
    Thanks to our setter, a bit shocked to find such a hard SPP, but you’re a star Tilsit for unravelling that lot.

    1. Merusa – 8d was really very clever. I don’t want to be put on the naughty step,
      but if you think of the instructions given to a runner by the starter, you will see why.

      1. Now I’ve got it, At school we used a different set of three words, but I should have remembered that. I agonized over that but I had the right answer. Brain, please come back, all is forgiven!

    2. Redacted comment

      Please take note of the instructions in red at the bottom of the hints

      1. G273, wow you’re braver than DG and I are and even managed to avoid the naughty corner – or is it step?!

  24. Like Tilsit, a bit under the weather today and found this decidedly quite tough for me, especially the whole SW corner, but, with a bit of prodding electronically, I got there in the end. Favourite is, oddly, 21a. Hope Tilsit is better. Thanks to him and to today’s setter.

  25. Rather hard work today, needing help with 7d, and 16d to finish. Not sure how the answer is justified in 1a. And 24a didn’t really work me. A good few answers were helped along by the checkers. I actually liked 7d best of all, despite not getting it on my own. Hope to enjoy Kate Meghan’s GK later, I learn a lot from that. But whether I will remember it later is another question. Thanks to setter and Tilsit. Hope you are soon feeling better.

  26. A DNF for me, even with the hints I couldn’t see them. Resorted to Danword which is the same as giving up really. They are certainly making us work hard for that fountain pen, I’ll just stick with my biro. Thanks to all.

  27. A day late I’m afraid as I spent a rainy day in Cornwall form filling☹️ An early start over a cuppa this morning saw 75% walk in the park and 25% wading through treacle but got there in the end. 12d was the problem and I bunged in the answer for the second part of the clue but have never heard of it being a period in America.

      1. Thanks Weekend Wanda. I haven’t got that at all. I’ll have to wait until the clues are explained next week.

  28. I don’t know about wading through treacle, I’m afraid I’ve only done about half and I’ve given up – and that’s with looking at the hints!
    I started doing the DT Saturday cryptic nearly four years ago and yes, I needed assistance from some friends on another forum (I had not found this blog then) and gradually built up enough skill to be able to ccomplete most of them – not all, but most.

    However, the recent sequence (which seems to me to have been quite long)of cryptics cryptics which, again, to me anyway, seem more like toughies has really put me off and I am a bit sad about that. I have looked at the review later as recommended by someone else, andI do have the extra problem of having to print them and do them by using my CCTV, but facing so many clues I can’t do … … well,

    I suppose I could change to the Monday one which seems to be more straightforward but it is at the weekend that I need something to puzzle over.

    This week, I didn’t even understand one or two of the excellent Tilset’s clues”

    Ah, well – thanks for reading, if anyone has!!

    1. Of course your post has been read, SusanDoris as all are. I’m sorry to hear of your despondency and we have all been there. I know I have. Solving goes smoothly for ages then, for no apparent reason whatsoever, the ability leaves you. I tend to leave the puzzle alone for a while when that happens.

      Please don’t give up and I am sure you will receive more encouraging words from others.

    2. It’s certainly happened to all of us, Susan, and you’re doubly unfortunate where weekend puzzles are concerned because the site is only allowed to give a selection of hints and no answers because of them being prize puzzles. You could always build up a bit of confidence by printing off the Monday puzzles and saving them to solve over the weekend. At least you then have access to a full set of hints and all the answers, should you choose to reveal them.
      Don’t give up, that would rob you of what can be a very enjoyable pastime.

    3. Keep going SusanDoris. I dip in and out of doing the Saturday DT and then have to get back into it. I started off by keeping my unfinished ones and checking the answers the following week to understand how they’d been parsed. Annoyingly I usually find that I’ve managed to get all the ones where hints have been provided which is no use at all, so I too leave them awhile and go back to them for that eureka moment. Good luck and don’t give up.

  29. Just finished it, after several revisits. Didn’t notice that 23a was plural and added an extra letter in the middle of the answer. Drrrr.1🤗

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