DT 29881 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29881

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29881

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Tuesday. Today’s fun puzzle has a few twists and turns that I would say are characteristics of one of our regular compilers. What do you think? Perhaps we’ll find out later today. 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Staff covered in leaves given to leading lady that could be fiery (10)
SALAMANDER:  Staff or operate contained in (covered in) an assortment of green leaves is all followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth (the UK’s leading lady) 

6a    Revolutionary final destination for posh car (4)
MERC:  The reversal (revolutionary) of an informal contraction of a very final destination

9a    Support  cheese-loving politician? (5)
TRUSS:  A support or brace is also the name of a politician known for her cheese speech   

10a   Farah running with a black eye doesn't finish? Nonsense! (9)
MOONSHINE:  Link together the first name of distance athlete Farah, running or operating, and all but the last letter (… doesn’t finish) of an informal word for a black eye 

12a   Drench girl dancing around with relatives (13)
GRANDCHILDREN:  An anagram (dancing) of DRENCH GIRL containing (around) a synonym of with 

14a   One with a telling part in play? (8)
NARRATOR:  A cryptic definition of somebody involved in a play who might tell the audience what’s going on 

15a   Tool  that's pieced together (6)
JIGSAW:  A cutting tool is also a puzzle that comes in pieces 

17a   Bribe Europeans for something bouncy (6)
BUNGEE:  An informal word for a bribe followed by two copies of the single letter for European 

19a   Complaint about undressed naked hunk (8)
BEEFCAKE:  Assemble a complaint or gripe, the single letter for about or approximately, and NAKED from the clue minus its outer letters (undressed

21a   Somebody taking off  Monet, perhaps (13)
IMPRESSIONIST:  Somebody taking off or imitating is also how Monet might be described 

24a   Natter anxiously about yours truly ahead of time in therapy (9)
TREATMENT:  An anagram (anxiously) of NATTER containing (about) a pronoun the setter might use for themselves (yours truly) is followed by the physics symbol for time 

25a   Most of winter, terrible wind (5)
TWINE:  An anagram (terrible) of all but the last letter of (most of) WINTER 

26a   Food some rejected is horrible (4)
DISH:  The answer is hidden as some of the remainder of the clue 

27a   Engine dirt damaged component (10)
INGREDIENT:  An anagram (damaged) of ENGINE DIRT 



1d    Spectacle for the audience in place (4)
SITE:  A homophone (for the audience) of a spectacle or exhibition 

2d    Slower accepting university chair (7)
LOUNGER:  A synonym of slower containing (accepting) the single letter for university 

3d    Bungling agent means I'm upset, accepting end of dream (13)
MISMANAGEMENT:  An anagram (upset) of AGENT MEANS I’M containing (accepting) the end letter of DREAM 

4d    Try to impress doctor following call with work (4-4)
NAME-DROP:  Putting the bits in order, we combine call or cite, an abbreviated doctor, and the usual abbreviation for a musical work 

5d    Age sending up 'Carry On Hospital' (5)
EPOCH:  The reversal (sending up, in a down clue) of carry on or tolerate is followed by the single letter for hospital 

7d    People from terrible regimes? (7)
ÉMIGRÉS:  The wordplay is an anagram (terrible) of REGIMES. The entire clue makes a better definition than just “people”

8d    Conservative banks on cry for success (5,5)
CLEAN SWEEP:  Concatenate the single letter for conservative, banks or slopes, and another word for cry 

11d   Cliff listened out without help (4-9)

13d   Irate Biden possibly the worse for wear (10)
INEBRIATED:  An anagram (possibly) of IRATE BIDEN 

16d   Journalist getting on with hotel worker (8)
REPORTER:  On or concerning with a hotel worker who helps with your bags 

18d   Young  crabs? (7)
NIPPERS:  An informal word for young children could also be a cryptic definition of crabs

20d   Step inside hospital department to find actor (7)
ASTAIRE:  A step that takes you up (or down) is placed inside an abbreviated hospital department 

22d   Back  authoritarian (5)
STERN:  The back of a ship is also an adjective synonym of authoritarian 

23d   Point we put before holy person (4)
WEST:  WE from the clue comes before the abbreviation for a holy person who’s usually long dead 


Thanks to today’s setter. My favourite clues today were 7d and 13d and I liked how the quickie pun describes the puzzle. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  GRATES + TOUGH = GREAT STUFF

80 comments on “DT 29881

  1. A bit of an enigma this one: copious easy anagrams but I had to scratch my head a bit for 1a, 6a and 9a and similarly 5d which was obvious but Mr K’s hints helped me fathom why the first two letters. All in all a **/*** for me with my COTD being the well thought out 8d. Thanks to the setter.

  2. Another in a long line of typically enjoyable Tuesday puzzles that was just the right side of tricky to get the grey cells ticking over. 19a was my top clue ahead of the neat 13d.

    My thanks to both Misters involved. The Toughie is well worth a stab today as well.

  3. I usually work my round a crossword from rhe NW in a clockwise direction and I got to the SW before finding a few clues I could do. As more checkers awent in, I gradually filled in the grid with one hint from Danword for 9a (I’d never heard of the cheese speech). It was a real mish mash of a few good clues like 1a,, a few rather odd clues like 6a and and lots of long anagrams, some of unusual synonyms . I found it time consuming and not particularly enjoyable (-4*/1*). Thanks to Mr K for the hints. Sorry, Mr Compiler but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

      1. Oops, yes. Serendipitously ironic, I like it. It rolls off the tongue. At the moment, it’s safe to ssume that I’m still making quite a few typos and the minus sign was yet another. It is quite hard to focus on what I am typing as stray letters keep appearing in my peripheral vision, due to the lingering after-effects of the stroke..

        1. Shouldn’t worry about the typos Chriscross, I see more than a few in the DT columns every day 😊.

        1. Cheese is my downfall MP. Current favourite Baron Bigod which Cley Smokehouse are currently selling at 20% off so picked up 2 this morning. Also local Mrs Temple’s Binham Blue, so many yum yums! Poor Naomi of Salthouse Stores has been very poorly with Covid so they have been shut since Christmas.

          1. I love cheese. Don’t be put off by the pic. This is a “cacciocavallo” … literally translated “horse cheese”. But it’s made of local Gargano padollico cow’s milk (they roam in the forest). The name is derived from the fact that traditionally two cheeses were hung by a piece of string astride a horse/mule/donkey when workers went into the countryside.

            This one is ageing in my grotto … approaching 3 months. When ready I simply wash off the mould in warm water. The cheese is “piccante” but softened by the grotto ageing (think spicy cheddar) … great with wine but best eaten un-refridgerated. I do about 4 a year and as they are too much for me I usually cut them in half and take a half to the local village bar where everyone can enjoy!

            1. I love cheese (sorry, my Mum said you can’t love food, however, I love cheese, the smellier, the better) and that looks dee-lishus!

              1. Hi Steve, no I’ m afraid not. Just hobby. If you get it right the cheese just bites the roof of your mouth. The dogs and cats love the rind.

  4. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with a good balance of head scratchers and straight forwards. The top left corner and lower right held out the longest as I was held up by the cheese loving politician and the terrible winter. Fortunately, most of the long ones fell early and this gave a lot of checkers. I thought the cluing was clever and there was satisfaction in the solving of many. Ticks all over the paper again but stand out clues are 1a, 15a and 5d. However, my COTD is Mr. Laming’s 10a.

    Many thanks to the Tuesday setter for a most satisfying puzzle and to Mr. K. for the hints.

      1. Thanks, Manders. Mind you, there are many on this blog who get the same and some have even won the Monthly prize. Not too sure about how to tackle “splendiferous”. :scratch:

        1. The trouble is Steve, yours is the only name I recognise – everyone else seems to use an alias!

          1. Eight altogether this week! And, you might be able to guess one or two from locations provided by CL.

  5. 2*/3*. This was reasonably straightforward and fun. As a winning clue from the Puzzles Newsletter has been included, I wondered if this was perhaps the work of Chris Lancaster?

    Although I got the answer for 6a from the definition and checkers at an early stage, I didn’t write it in until the very end as I couldn’t parse it. It never occurred to me that anyone would want or need to come up with an abbreviation for crematorium, until I finally checked my BRB in desperation. I was also puzzled by the “cheese-loving” bit of 9a, as I had forgotten about Liz Truss’ championing of British cheese until I read Mr K’s excellent review.

    19a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

      1. 10a is the clue in question and the author was Ian Laming – not someone with whom I’m familiar unless he uses a pseudonym.

    1. And just after commenting here, pretty much the next thing I see is a Tweet from my former vicar† using that very abbreviation:

      † I mean, he’s still a vicar. It’s just that both of us have moved.

      1. We recently saw off my brother in law Bob. I was closely involved with my two sisters organising the funeral. In the four weeks between his death and his cremation I don’t think the word crematorium crossed any of our lips. The word crem was used daily and often. Thinking about it I don’t think anybody says the word in full. It’s always Canley Crem. We never used the word coffin either. It was always Bob’s box

  6. Good fun after the Donnybrook Toughie this morning. Last one in 25 across where I missed the anagram indicator on the first couple of passes. Tried wrongly for a reversed lurker at 26 across because of the word rejected. Are the cars at 6 across still considered posh? Like Jaguars and Range Rovers they seem to be everywhere nowadays. Thanks to Mr Kitty and today’s setter

    1. The A Class signalled the end of any pretence of “poshness” for MB. I was unfortunate enough to have one. Handled better than my Reliant Robin sums it up.

  7. A tad anagram heavy for my tastes & a couple of clues I didn’t overly care for. That said I did like 1,15,17&19a plus 20d, which was my favourite, so a pleasant albeit brisk solve. Still 6 shy of a finish in Donny’s Toughie & I’ll second YS’s recommendation.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K for the review & explaining the parsing of 6a which eluded me.

  8. This certainly agitated my grey matter but pleased to complete eventually, unaided, except for the odd spelling check.
    In retrospect, I wondered why I took almost **** time.
    NW quarter was the most problematic.
    All very enjoyable.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr.K for his amusingly illustrated review.

  9. Unfortunately I found this a bit of a slog — too many long anagrams (which I always struggle with, often until I have several crossing letters) to get a good start. 7d is very clever, though.

    Thank you to Mr K for the explanations; I needed the same two as Rabbit Dave. I have heard people use that abbreviation for the “final destination” in 6a, but I was so busy trying to fit at least one of ‘Che’, ‘red‘, or ‘N’ in there that I couldn’t see the term even once I’d filled the grid. And while the 9a politician’s opening-up-new-pork-markets speech is often played on HIGNFY, I’d forgotten about the cheesy one.

    25a was new to me as a verb without being prefixed ‘en-’, but it was guessable from the clue.

  10. Something of a curate’s egg for me today. From the good part I gave the nod to 15a along with 21a although the latter may well be in ‘chestnut’ territory.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K whose pictorial reviews are always most entertaining.

  11. Pleasant enough but not overly so. 6a abbreviation 18d fun to fathom palled in both directions. Slow in the uptake so stupidly tried to use Stride (a bit actor) in 20d. 18d was Fav. Thank you Mysteron and MrK. As a follow-on to Wordle has anyone succeeded in accessing Wheeldle on itch.io?

    1. So sorry just realised “18d fun to fathom” should have followed 6a “… in both directions”.

  12. I immediately thought of our blogger / fellow-commenter SL with the quickie pun! Found the puzzle a bit heavy on slangy expressions that had to be bung-ins for me (6a, 17a) and some rather abstruse GK (9a, 10a)–at least for this American. Lots otherwise to like, especially 19a, 8d, 15a & 1a, with 20d my COTD, but I didn’t really enjoy this one very much, even though I managed to finish it. Thanks to Mr K and to today’s setter. *** / **

    Thought the Toughie, however, was quite stunning and I finished it alone and unaided in the wee hours last night. Not surprised to learn that it is Donnybrook’s–great stuff!

    1. I’m finding myself absentmindedly singing that Dinah Shore song. Getting to be something of an earworm.

      1. If memory serves me, I used to run around the house singing, “Can’t get enough of that wonderful stuff”! It was 1946, and I was all of 7 going on 8. Guess who has the earworm now.

  13. For me, a mix of Smylers’ ‘bit of a slog’ and Jane’s ‘curate’s egg’ which took a little longer to complete than Donnybrook’s Toughie – ***/**.

    Having said that, I did manage to find three candidates for favourite – 21a, 8d, and 18d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  14. A reasonably straightforward and enjoyable puzzle.
    The surface read at 1a doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, unless I am missing something.
    7d and 27a are the pick of today’s anagrams for me.
    Thank you setter and Mr K.

  15. “Good in parts” – a decent enough Tuesday puzzle, but it didn’t stand out. Overly heavy on the anagrams (more than one in four of the clues), and I was surprised at 6a which ended up one of my last ones in on. Never heard of 9a being cheese-loving, but as with 6a, the answer could be little else.

    OTOH I don’t usually put anagrams anywhere near the podium but make an exception today for the smooth reads of 7d and 13d, joined by 8d, which I thought amusing.

    2* / 2*

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K

  16. Managed unaided which always adds to the enjoyment for me. Didn’t even have to make up any words today🤪. 6a was my penultimate one ,which then allowed me to finish with 8d. I was trying to start the second word with ow until I saw error of my ways. Needed the hint to parse 12a, couldn’t see where the and came from. 5 down was a bung in and Mr K explained that for me as well. Thanks to all.

  17. As many have said, this was a bit of a peculiar one. I needed hints for 6a and 9a despite having the checking letters. 9a, I felt, had to be what it turned out to be, but the speech aspect passed me by. Fun to solve, though.

    By coincidence, I was reading about 20d only this morning, in Chips Channon’s diaries.
    Pick yourself up with two minutes of 20d. It would brighten any day:

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr K.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Terence. Poetry in motion. Grace to the sublime Nth. I saw Ginger here in Charleston when she visited our Spoleto Festival USA in the early 90s. She was in her 80s but still the epitome of grace and loveliness.

    2. Hi Terence,
      I enjoy your comments even more since you started adding links to your music choices – not that I enjoy all of them, some are a little ‘off-the-wall’ for me!
      How is little Lola faring these days – I miss reading her diary.

  18. ‘Bit of a slog’ and ‘curate’s egg’: well, it still had its moments for me, though perhaps not the sparkling entertainment we find in today’s Toughie, for example! (An unfair comparison, I know.) However, I find myself agreeing with Mr K that this DT merits a **/***. Many thanks to him and the setter.

  19. A typical Tuesday puzzle difficulty wise. 2.5*/3* for me today. Several long words smattered around the grid in the interior as well as the perimeter that got me a good foothold.
    Favourites for the podium include 1a, 16a, 18d & 20d with my winner 20d but I really liked 15a as well. 17a, 2d & 18d made me chuckle.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  20. A bit of a mixed bag. On first pass, I reached the south west corner before anything came to mind. The anagrams helped. **/*** 1a was my last one in and a random guess from the checkers. I certainly needed that one explained so thanks for the hint. 13d favourite. He comes across as slightly “under the weather” in his speech sometimes. If I had his job, I would be. Thanks to all.

  21. I’m a simple soul and just had fun doing this, with several laughs along the way. (George would be doubled up with laughter at me being a simple soul. He finds me very complicated but that’s another story!) Of course the anagrams were a gift for me, stars for 8,13,18 and 20d although I cannot imagine an inebriated Briden. 17a gave me a long pause for thought as did 6a – I entered them both but could hardly believe they would be right and I laughed at 15a tho’ I suspect it might be an old chestnut. And I also roared with laughter at the kittens hanging onto the mop. Hilarious, are they your twins MrK, they look like it. Many thanks to Setter and Hinter. Chuffed to get another Wordle on fifth strike.

  22. Very enjoyable although had not heard of 19a in that context. Just looked at the clip of 9a – rather bad bit of autocue reading. if that makes sense. All go today, oil delivery, supermarket delivery and hopefully Hermes to pick up a parcel left yesterday from Amazon that had plainly been opened and the contents tampered with. Oh yes, a first for me, completed the Quickie – doesn’t help when your other half fills in loads of duff answers so now attempt on my device with no distractions of obvious wrong answers filled in. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the pics.

    1. When the Sodoffku craze started the chairman of our company used to attempt it daily. If he left his office I would enter a random number one somewhere in his grid. It wouldn’t be long after his return to the office that we would hear an expletive followed by the sound of his expensive pen hitting his desk with force. Of course their was a one in nine chance that I helped him out.

  23. Completed alone and unaided but a lot of head scratching involved here.
    Needed help with some parsings too….I seem to be saying this every day now.

    Thanks to Mr K and to the setter, whoever they are.

  24. Completed after a lot of head scratching 🤔, enigma and Curates egg have been mentioned earlier and I would agree 😳 6 & 9 across were odd! ***/*** Favourites 10a, 4 & 8d 😃 Thanks to Mr K and to the Compiler

  25. Bit of a mixture for me. Some nice easy anagrams and a few that required a bit of thought to understand. Nice to see the new(ish) Pres appearing in the puzzle instead of his predecessor. Though Biden is a bit harder to use. 5d my fave today.
    Mama Bee’s car was a 6a and definitely not posh especially after she bumped several bollards and neighbours cars before she accepted that she should retire from driving.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter.
    I will away to the toughie and see if SL can help with the gaps.

  26. Smooth solve today and good to see that we are now being informed when a winning clue from the puzzles newsletter is used. Thanks setter (+ ian laming) as well as mr k of course

  27. I have to get my grocery order ready, so I’m going to read the rest of the comments later.
    This was not easy in parts and I needed e-help in some places. I got 1a right off, I’ve often wondered why it was called that; note to self, google. I bunged in 17a, yeah, I know, that’s corny, but had no idea why it was right. I’m a notoriously bad speller so, natch, I spelt 14a as ..ter at the end, that messed up 4d but I was able to see the error of my ways and correct it. Lots to like here, though I didn’t appreciate the abbreviation at 6a. Hard to choose one fave, I’ve got so many, I think 8d may be it, but 15a and 10a were pretty good too.
    Thanks to whomsoever set this gem, and heaps of thanks to Mr. K for the why for many! I’m off to press the send button for my groceries.

  28. For me this was a lot of relatively light fun after grappling with the Donnybrook Toughie this morning. So many good clues, hard to pick out a favourite, it was all top notch, (though I did like the “try to impress”) as was the review.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  29. I’m with Chriscross on this one, just not my cup of tea either. Definitely never heard of a crematorium being referred to as a crem. And we used to have a Mercedes’, had always been a dream of Peter’s. But it was like having a boat, you’re happy the day you buy it, and even happier the day you sell it. Was one expensive problem after another, including a leaking roof in the first year. So no we don’t think of that as a luxury car. 17a and 25a were rather odd. But the rest was doable and enjoyable in places, so I can’t complain. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  30. This was friendly enough fare, I had no gripe with crem but did need help at the last hurdle with the pretty benign actor/step despite getting the hospital.department. Hopeless.

    Like others I was unaware of the cheese link with our politician, but as we’re having a cheesy week (and I know I’m straying into Terence territory) I hope this plays. https://youtu.be/fo-vBO8eGHM

  31. I was unaware the 1a’s were fiery and I don’t remember the 9a cheese speech. As for 6a being a posh car give me a Ford every time. Apart from those plain sailing. Favourite was 8d but several others came close. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

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