DT 29885 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29885 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29885 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from a chilly and frosty Warrington. We have a nice new Tim Horton’s to drive through (not thru!) so we have some really nice coffee to accompany this Curate’s egg of a puzzle.

It looks like we have a Cephas effort today with concise clues and a pangram within the grid, which may help when you solve the puzzle.

Last Saturday was quite annoying in that we had to redact a number of posts that were giving additional answers and hints. Please remember that because this is a prize puzzle, we are limited in the number of hints we can give, which is why we try to space them around the grid to give you a start. The pictures are always some help, too. With any clue you haven’t worked out, read it carefully. It also means that Crypticsue and Rahmat Ali need not spend their valuable time analysing the puzzle in more depth afterwards.

One of the things in any newspaper cryptic crossword is that there are rarely any surplus words that do not contribute to the puzzle. In some of the more advanced themed puzzles, surplus words may indicate something as part of the theme to help with a theme or denouement.

This slot is one of the ‘easier’ puzzles to tackle so the Saturday setters are deliberately chosen for their accessibility. When was the last time you saw an Elgar Telegraph Saturday Prize puzzle? He doesn’t do very accessible. He does tough but is still scrupulously fair and accurate following in the tradition of his heroes.

So, please play nice. I’ve turned up the voltage on the new Amstrad Electric Naughty Step I bought from Amazon for Christmas, and you may be forced to sit through two Jimmy Carr shows as a punishment while sitting on it. See you next week!

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.


2    Prolonged drama, it’s an old record (8,4)
We start with the name for an old 45 rpm. A word meaning prolonged and one meaning a drama are welded together.

8    Female in north? (4)
This is one of those clues where each part of it adds up to the whole definition. Usually indicated by a question mark to show something is a little out of the box. The abbreviation for female, plus in and the compass point for north, gives you something that is a way of describing the answer.

9    Talcum powder shaken, team withdrawing in international competition (5,3)
Another type of clue you don’t see often in these puzzles, but obvious if you read the clue. Remove the word team from the phrase TALCUM POWDER and then rearrange the rest for a famous competition that can occur in a number of sports. The most famous of them all will, unusually, happen around Christmas this year.

10    Right during month to have soup (8)
The name for a type of soup that has ingredients sliced in this style is found by putting the legal word for a right inside a month of the year.

17    Range of knowledge boy had back in town in north-west (6)
A NW England town famous for something very sweet is made up of a word for knowledge plus a generic name for a boy, reversed.

24    Gain access after one’s turned round? (8)
A cryptic way of describing something you rotate to gain entry.

26    Flowery way to describe life of pleasure (8,4)
A phrase used by Mr Shakespeare in the Danish and Scottish plays. The name of a small flower and something meaning a walkway is a description of a hedonistic life.


1    Drink that’s sweet without ice (6)
This was my last one in today. The name for a sweet root without the ice

2    Be taken in by fellows not starting with Edward to be excited (9)
A word meaning to “be” is inserted in (“taken in by”) a word for “fellows” minus its first letter followed by a name derived from Edward.

4    Ben, his wellbeing could originate from modern translation of Scriptures (3,7,5)
An anagram of the first three words reveals one of the biggest selling books of all time.

5    Train continental celebrity (8)
A word for continental and one for a celebrity form the name of a famous train.

15    No time apparently when operation starts (4,4)
A word meaning no and a measure of time give a military term for the start of an operation.

16    Dance with officer supporting female hobbling (8)
A type of dance is made up of the abbreviation for female, a word meaning hobbling, and one for a military officer.

19    Strange affair, it’s binding (6)
A word I remember from my childhood when we had this in the greenhouse to tie the tomatoes to their canes. An anagram of AFFAIR.

22    Reportedly seedy gypsy’s disk (2-3)
A type of computer disk is a homophone of seedy and a word for a gypsy.

Did you breeze through it, or were you becalmed? Hope you enjoyed it and found the hints useful.

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: HIPPO + CRITICAL = HYPOCRITICAL

Music today is one of the mistresses of the keyboard with something beautiful.


112 comments on “DT 29885 (Hints)

  1. 3*/4*. I enjoyed this pangram which I would have completed in my 2* time except for a hold up with four linked clues in the NW corner.

    My repetition radar beeped due to the same abbreviation appearing twice which could have been avoided by replacing one of them with a member of the opposite sex.

    With lots of good clues to pick from, I’ve settled on 6d, 15d & 16d as my podium choice.

    Many thanks presumably to NYD, who might have left a clue to his identity, and to Tilsit.

  2. A realky enjoyable crossword with just enough challenge to make it a fun experience. I thought 7d was a clever kego type clue and 1d ad 3a revived old memories but joint COTD’s, which both made me laugh, are 24a and 1d. Many thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to the compiler.

  3. A reasonably speedy solve today but you wouldn’t know from my time on the puzzles site as I fell asleep 3/4 of the way through it.
    Woke up to rattle off the rest. Looks like I have been spelling 7d wrong for some time and I learned something about soup too.
    I thought 24a may be an indication to setter and I see RD had the same thought.
    Thanks to tilsit and setter. This was easier than the quick as I appear to be suffering from a shortage of synonyms in my noggin.
    On a separate note, I hope we hear from The Kiwis as their recent jiggling may have been from an underwater volcano that is causing tsunami (is that the plural?) around the Pacific. I think most of the rest of the North Island is between them and the eruption but tsunami are hard to predict.

    1. Tinga seems to have been badly affected and i see warnings have gone out for the North Isla d of NZ for storm surges, John.

      1. I hope Tucker is OK too 😀

        (I am not mocking you Chris just a Freudian memory from childhood)

        1. No worries, John. Sometimes rhe only thing to do is laugh at yourself. For others, it’s the capital of Tonga which was flooded by a tsunami (it’s a miracle I spelt that correctly.

          1. Chris
            You want to look at the subtitles on TV. It seems if they have a choice of two homophones they always pick the wrong one often with hilarious or embarrassing results.
            Being pretty deaf I have them on all the time. It’s the only thing that brings a smile to the news bulletins.

            1. We have the subtitles on top for George, his hearing is so bad and sometimes they are hilarious!

              1. My dad had only a little hearing left in his left ear only due to an infection picked up in World War 2, in the Far East. He used the subtitles a lot and they did make us chuckle. He was able to laugh at himself, when he mispronounced the names of foreign sportsmen. Mot a bad 3xample for his daughter to follow.

            2. Neil McCormick, the Telegraph‘s longstanding rock critic, has been having trouble with automatic transcription software, too:

              With the departures of Gillian Reynolds (radio) a few years ago and Honest John (car advice) last year, I think Neil McCormick might be the only Telegraph writer I read as a teenager in the 90s who’s still there.

              Well, there’s Victoria Coren Mitchell as well, but she had a gap of several decades of not writing for them, and has returned doing something different (diarist then, sort-of-TV reviewer now).

  4. Having read Tilsit’s comments, I’m a bit scared to say anything.A very enjoyable puzzle with enough tricky bits to make you think. **/**** Favourite 26a. Naturally, I didn’t notice it was a pangram. Thanks to all.

    1. As usual I didn’t notice tbe pangram either Greta. 2*/4* from me too, so I was obviously too busy enjoying the clues!

  5. I found this quite a strange solving experience. Each clue I read seemed impenetrable at first then became accessible after a few ponderous minutes. I did need electrons to finish but not many so a fairly satisfying solve. Plenty of clues to like such as 11a and 22d. My COTD is 20a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thanks, also, to Tilsit for the hints. I hope I have not transgressed. The thought of hours of Jimmy Carr made sure I was careful.

    Cold and damp today but I got Wordle in 2! :grin:

      1. I’m claiming a lead under false pretences, YS. When I looked at it again, I too had done it in three.

            1. I wonder what your fist word was in order to get it in two, Manders. If you got the last four correct it would be just a question of changing the first letter.

              1. Steve, my first word was spire, so I had the p and the i but in the wrong place. I knew I needed another vowel and opted for an a. I moved the p up followed by the a and the n and took a lucky guess! I was very surprised to reveal the correct word.

    1. SC. I’ve been doing this Wordle thing recently and think it’s OK, but there’s quite a bit of luck involved when you make your first guess. Being a serial analyser, I find 2 of the the colour indicators irksome (they don’t flow readily/logically to me). Green is fine, but then it should be amber for a valid letter in the wrong spot and then red for a letter not in the word at all. But, I could have missed something relevant?

      1. I don’t think you have missed anything relevant, Jose. I must admit I had not given any thought to the colours but your suggestion would, perhaps, be better. I agree that luck is involved initially.

    2. I got it in 3. The first word is always adieu to get most of the vowels as suggested by someone on here. Was it daisygirl

      1. Yes, t’was I – it was the first word I thought of with 4vowels. If none of those come up you are pretty sure it must be an o or y. There are several other vowel rich words of course they would all work. But as Steve says, it is largely Lady Luck!

  6. Loved it. Some unusual clues. I did all but four and then polished them off 11a, 7d and 2a in that order. The head scratcher was 2d. I believe I have it right but parsed differently from Tilsit. I had a three letter short form of Edward preceded by a four letter word for “to be”. Favourites 2 10 and 12a and 3 5 and 10d. Many thanks to Cephas if it is you and also Tilsit. Thanks also to John Bee. I’m just off to check my spelling of 7d. If he is right I have been spelling the word wrong also.

      1. I couldn’t parse 2d either, but this explanation makes much more sense. Otherwise excellent crossword.

      2. Pretty sure it’s right and Google confirms that the three letter short form of Edward is a recognised one.

    1. My parsing too of 2d; hence, my reference to ’embedding’, trying to avoid the naughty corner.

      1. CS, it still doesn’t look quite right to me. Shouldn’t it be something like?

        A word meaning to “be” is inserted in (“taken in by”) a word for “fellows” minus its first letter followed by a name derived from Edward.

        It’s a clue which is much easier to solve than to explain. :wacko:

        1. My interpretation too–please see my minimal [to avoid the naughty step] comment 16 in the thread.

  7. I was held up briefly by the NW corner, but once I realised the embedding process of 2d and remembered that very interesting kind of potage, I was in like flint. A pleasantly enjoyable prize puzzle but did not notice it was a pangram until Tilsit told me. Favourites: 24a, 10a, and 22d, which made me laugh. Thanks to Tilsit and to today’s setter. ** / ****

    Winter Storm Izzy has raised Emergency! signals throughout the Carolinas for tonight and Sunday.

    1. I always thought the expression was ‘ in like Flynn’. Of the Errol variety, allegedly because of his prowess with the ladies! But what do I know.

      1. Very amusing, Greta. My usage is indeed a takeoff of the original “in like Flynn”, but the 1967 movie “In Like Flint” has crept into my vocab, as it has for many Americans. I didn’t think the original phrase would be very appropriate in the blog.

  8. Well I most certainly didn’t breeze through the LHS of this one – more a tortuous slog into a strong headwind that took me well into Toughie time. The SW was tricky enough but stared nonplused at the NW for some time. Last 2 to eventually yield were 1d&10a. The wordplay got me to the latter but had no idea it had owt to do with soup & with 1d I was so frazzled I didn’t even realise I was a letter shy of a pangram – if so the penny would have dropped a darn sight sooner. The parsing of 2d was also a fair old head scratch.
    Not a Curate’s egg to my mind. I thought it more than maintained the standard of what has been an excellent week of DT puzzles. 1d pips 22d for my pick as they were the big PDMs for me.
    Thanks to Cephas & Tilsit.

  9. Tough puzzle esp in the top left. Some excellent clues such as 24a, 26a and my fav 20d.
    However, it was somewhat spoilt by 8a which was in my opinion a perfectly dreadful clue. There was no indication at all that you needed the first letters and the final answer made little sense, ghastly.
    Learnt something in 10a a new word for me. 1d and 2d both defeated me and I had to turn to Google for the answers.
    A tricky one to rate but overall poor.
    Thx for the hints

    1. The letters you mention happen to be first letters, but no indication is needed. The two letters are known abbreviations and often appear as such in crosswords. Tilsit explains it perfectly and, by underlining all of the words in the clue, gives the answer. It is worth remembering those words which have one letter abbreviations.

      1. But my point is that there is neither an indication of the use of first letters and to do so would be a guess and the definition is nonsensical as there is no reference at all to the answer. It is a guesswork lazy clue.

  10. Found this tricky in places – needed Tilsit’s tips for a couple to get me restarted. Some amusing clues and fun to solve.

    Thanks for the lovely messages. Day four of Covid and I’m feeling a definite improvement. Lower temperature and limbs less achy. As many kind people said yesterday – thank goodness for the vaccinations!

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Songs of the Auvergne – ll Baïlèro (sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa). I love this so much.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit. Finally – Come on Chelsea!

    1. My Life in Seven Football Matches by Mick Brown in todays magazine (page 157] online is an excellent read which sums up what it is to support one’s sports team

    2. Definitely “Come on Chelsea” as I’m a United fan. 2d defeated me. Otherwise enjoyed today.

    3. Dame Kiri’s verson of the Auvergne Songs remains my favourite, Terence. Thanks for the clip.

      1. So glad to hear that you are starting to feel better, Terence.
        Plenty of rest and plenty to drink.

      2. Terence comes up with some cracking great music, my fave.
        Glad you’re feeling better, Terence. Yes, spot on, thank goodness for vaccinations – pay no attention to Novak, folks!

  11. A very enjoyable ‘middle of the road’ SPP pangram so my 5 bob is definitely on Cephas – **/****.

    One new phrase and one new usage of a familiar word.

    Candidates for favourite – 2a, 15d, 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit.

    P.S. One of Tim Hortons (no apostrophe, don’t tell Lynne Truss) finest – Boston Cream, a gooey custard filling which can just be seen oozing out. And, who was Tim Horton? (I do know the answer.)

    1. You can have all the Boston Creams as long as I get the Glazed Cinnamon Spirals! I wonder whether they do them in UK.

  12. I did not notice the pangram either. I should have added 1d to my favourites. Having checked the BRB I reiterate my thanks to John Bee re: 7d. Tricky one that.

    1. Thanks WW, It is a quirk of using the puzzle site. If you make a mistake it prompts you before submission. If I had just posted it off I would have made the same mistake.

  13. A terrific pangram to kick start the morning, full of enjoyable clues and enough head-scratching to keep it interesting throughout the solve. 15d was my final entry with 2a my favourite.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Tilsit. An afternoon of rugby awaits.

  14. Slow off the blocks but once under way no serious obstacles but plenty of enjoyment. Many crafty clues but Fav was little 8a when penny dropped and 20d raised a grin. Had previously only thought of 10a as method of preparing ingredients rather than the soup itself. Thank you Cephas and Tilsit particularly for your usual super musical selections (Le coucou brought back memories of the joy of hearing Moura Lympany playing on a friend’s piano many moons ago).

  15. I must be having an off day as I thought this hard although fair and so a ****/*** for me. LOI was 24a solved with a Homer Simpson expletive. Like others I found the NW the other tricky zone. Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  16. Many thanks to Tilsit and the setter.
    I had a different deconstruction for 2d and, unless I am missing something, don’t understand the explanation provided for 2d.
    Apologies if I’m being obtuse.

  17. Problems in Essex today as no papers in any shops. Managed to complete it on my tablet, but not sure about 13a. Can somebody shed some light on it for me please.

  18. Thank you setter, kept me going at a very even pace (slow) to the end. Thanks also to Tilsit for the stern talking-to and well-spread hints.

  19. I’m much more comfortable with the idea of this being a production from NYD – maybe our setter will pop in at some stage to enlighten us.
    Add my name to the list of those who spell 7d incorrectly, just as well I don’t have much call to use it!
    22d caused a few anxious moments but then it is IT related which invariably brings out the dinosaur in me………
    Favourite here was 1d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints.

    1. I thought the same setter after solving one of the clues Jane.
      At least if I get on the naughty stair I should be OK, Amstrad stuff never worked for longin my experience.

  20. This was a two-sitting job for me with most of the West holding out to visit 2. Missed the pangram.
    COTD was 24a for the “Doh” moment.
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the hints.
    Managed my first-ever Park “Run” this morning. Target time of 50 minutes not achieved so I might have to do another one to get there! As Mrs LrOK has done 350 mind so my one is a bit pathetic.
    Wordle in 3.

    1. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step so they tellme LROK.onwards and upwards.

  21. A nice Saturday puzzle that went in pretty easily with some very nice clues, I thought. 1.5*/3.5* today.
    NW was last area in. Early on, my radar was on the lookout for a pangram. Sure enough …
    Some clues that made me chuckle include 11a, 21a, 24a, 5d & 20d.
    Favourites today were many …2a, 11a, 17a, 7d & 14d … no winners just a nice podium.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

    1. I’ve solved and blogged so many of your Saturday puzzles that there was no doubt whatsoever that you set this one too.

    2. Many thanks for the puzzle, Cephas and for taking the trouble to pop in. It is greatly appreciated.

    3. Thanks for popping in and for a great puzzle. I assume 24a was simply an accidental reference to another occasional SPP setter.

  22. A nice puzzle today but I did need some help with the NW corner. Completely missed that it was a pangram….
    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit, plus to John Bee for making me check my spelling

  23. I thoroughly enjoyed this working on my own as George is down at Hertford Rugby Club. Small packet of smoked salmon all to myself is my secret vice. Stars by 16,24 and 25a and 4,6,8 and 16d but it was all enjoyable and I do like the 26a expression. George did business with the 8a and I sometimes went with him on business trips, good memories. Many thanks to Cephas and Tilsit for help with 2d.

  24. Thanks, Tilset — especially for explaining 26a and 10a. I think I’ve got the right second word for 26a, but I claim not to’ve heard the expression before (which you’ve now disproved, given I’ve sat through both the plays you mention) and a few different words fit the crossing letters.

    I’m another who’d only heard 10a as the slicing, not the soup, and also muddled myself trying to parse it by focussing on the wrong month. Like John Bee, I was surprised to see how 7d is spelt, and I’ve learnt that I simply can’t spell 18a; it took me 3 attempts.

    I particularly liked 24a when I got it (though it didn’t feel like that setter to me). My favourite was the deceptively simple (well, it deceived me for some time, anyway) 8a.

    I have a few more comments, but those shall have to wait for Friday. Cheers, everybody.

  25. A nice uncomplicated prize puzzle, with the sole exception of 10a. Although being familiar with the word that forms the answer, after many years doing “stuff” in the kitchen, I’d always taken it to mean something very different to that described in the clue. 26 became obvious once most of the checking letters were in place, but it was a new expression to me. 22d took a bit of thought to decypher, but I could see no problem with 8a. I liked 2a, but 24a took my top spot. Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit.

  26. I didn’t have any problems today which always ups the enjoyment rating. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit.

  27. I’m really enjoying this one. I read through once and did one answer fairly easily, so I began to think , and hope, that it was one of Cephas’s. If it is, thank you, Cephas, just the sort to brighten up my day. I still have quite a long way to go, but I have not looked at the clues yet and wil try not to tomorrow either.

  28. I’m really enjoying this one. I read through once and did one answer fairly easily, so I began to think , and hope, that it was one of Cephas’s. If it is, thank you, Cephas, just the sort to brighten up my day. I still have quite a long way to go, but I have not looked at the clues yet and wil try not to tomorrow either.

    I meant hints, not clues of course – apologies!

  29. Like several others, it was the NW corner that held me up. Despite that, and needing the helpful hints for that area, 1d and 3d ended up as joint COTD for me, very clever. I too have been spelling 7d incorrectly all my life. The answer just had to be but I couldn’t really parse the middle of the answer because of that misspelling. Lots to love about this puzzle, especially as Saturdays can sometimes elude me. Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit. Hope everyone in the path of the tsunami stays safe, especially 2Kiwis.

  30. Aha Cephas beats me to it. A great puzzle that NYD can’t lay claim to I’m sorry to say.

  31. Now that makes a pleasant change – first Cryptic crossword I’ve been able to complete in ages [with only a glance at 2 clues here]. Nobodly likes them too easy but sometimes they are just too devious!

  32. Like most others the NW corner was the last to complete. I also know 10a as something other than a soup, and hadn’t heard of 26a but it couldn’t be anything else. I managed to finish without the hints and just before the start of the Exeter rugby match. 16 & 17d were favourites. Many thanks to Cephas for an entertaining afternoon puzzle.

  33. My experience was much the same as others, fairly breezed through all except the NW corner, last in was 2d and favs were 20 and 24 . Thanks to Cephas for an enjoyable Saturday puzzle.

  34. To quote a well-worn much-used phrase – golly bongs! Could have graced a mid-week tuffie, imho. Thanks Cephas, & a bit of your wisdom too, Tilsit.

  35. A tough beginning with 8a and 10a (but don’t think this is a soup!) that lowered my confidence but then picked up pace and 20d rounded everything off well! Thank you Cephas and Tilsitt

  36. This was a breeze in the east, Tilsit, but I quickly became becalmed in the west, particularly NW corner. I loved it all, though must do research on 1d, not sure I’ve got it right. There was so much to like, 4d was first in, though I missed the anagram, it was so obvious. I missed 22d, needed the hints, I’m so untechie it hurts! Loved 26a, conjures up a lovely picture, 16d was a treat; oh, I could name so many more.
    Thank you Cephas for all the fun and Tilsit for your help.

  37. I struggled with this, never heard of 26a before and l never realised 10a was the name of a soup as well. 13a got hmm from me for the “deal with”. Still not sure if I have 2d right, might dan word it to check. Thanks to all.

  38. Plain sailing until badly held up in the NW corner – didn’t know the soup was a soup and missed the obvious with the Northern lass…

  39. Still have quite a few to do, and by the sound of some of the comments, I’m going to have to google answers! Even with the hintswhich I have certainy used this time – thank you, Tilset – I still couldn’t work out some of the answers. However, as it was a Cephas one, I don’t mind at all!

  40. Stared at the grid for ages with just 25a written in.
    Finally got a foothold with the anagrams and the rest followed quite smoothly.
    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit.

  41. Really good crossword as we’ve come to expect. I too have been spelling 7d incorrectly – or at least I would have if I ever had need to spell the word!

  42. The solutions to the last two Saturday crosswords were ridiculous and opaque in the extreme eg roadside (1d) spells (19d) also (21,24 & 25a) in puzzle 29879. It is an utter waste devoting any time to them at all!!!

    1. Your incisive and helpful comments are duly noted and filed in the bin.

      We’re on puzzle 29,891 in case you hadn’t noticed. We have moved on and the crossword analysed in full.

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