DT 29891 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29891 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29891 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from Warrington.

Here we go with today’s hints from a friendly puzzle by our lovely lady setter, Chalicea. Lots of accessible clues that shouldn’t cause a great deal of head-scratching if you read each clue carefully and follow what you are being asked to tackle to get the answer.

The usual request to play nicely and follow the guidelines by not giving inappropriate hints. The naughty step beckons and it has a suitably charged cattle-prod for the miscreants.

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    OTT for film stars in a muddle throughout (4,5,2,4)
An anagram (in a muddle) of OTT FOR FILM STARS leads you to an expression for throughout an event.

11    Fail actors, like some models? (3-4)
An expression that could describe some models, but not the catwalk kind. A word meaning to fail or finish plus one for a group of actors.

13    Wander but not at first in leisurely walk (5)
Something meaning to wander needs to lose its first letter.

15    Armistice — constant calm following fury (9)
An abbreviation for a mathematical constant, plus something meaning to calm or settle, the abbreviation for following and a word for fury and passion.

20    Great ledges partly receding in river estuary (5)
One of the three hidden reversed answers in the across clues. If you are stuck on a clue – check it’s not one of them!

21    Such a team, say, of top performers, can all also start with no restraints (3-4)
If you remove the first and last letters of four words in the clue (with no restraints) you’ll get an expression for a group of famous people who work together.

23    70 per cent of French island drink (7)
Find the ten-letter name of a French island in the Caribbean and take the first seven letters to get the name of a drink that is not as trendy as it used to be.

25    Desert animal has trouble going round bush (8)
The name for a bush is that of an animal found in the desert, plus something meaning trouble reversed.

27    NATO triennially reassembled involving many different countries (15)
An anagram (reassembled) of NATO TRIENNIALLY


1    Flash Daimler constructed for top military officer (5,7)
An anagram of FLASH DAIMLER gives a top-ranking army person.

3    Fuss at first about each man who is under no compulsion (4,5)
Someone who is not required to do something may be said to be this. The first letter of fuss, the short abbreviated word for about, a short way of saying each and a word for a man.

5    Music created by jazz aficionado wearing new coat (7)
A word for a jazz fan ‘wears’ (has around it) an anagram of coat. If you are still stuck, see below.

7    Typical of writer, dreadful hot air interrupting a university student (9)
An anagram of HOT AIR goes inside (interrupting) A and an abbreviation for university and one for student.

14    Splendid fish pursued by one worker (9)
A type of fish (often pan-fried and seared on TV cookery shows)and add one and a word relating to worker in most cryptic puzzles (can also indicate soldier, similarly).

24    Dream of trade supporting India (5)
A word meaning trade goes after (supporting) the NATO alphabet abbreviation for India.

Was it all neat and smooth or were you shaken and stirred? Thanks to Chalicea for an enjoyable challenge. The lovely Crypticsue will be along with her full analysis after the closing date next week.

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: WART + ERR + FOUL = WATER FOWL

We haven’t had a mad organist on the loose for a while, but there’s one today…


They could have at least applauded him! See you next week!

89 comments on “DT 29891 (Hints)

  1. Straightforward and enjoyable. 23a will be my first port of call after dry January. Thanks to today’s setter and Tilsit.

  2. Breaking the habit of a lifetime, I wish to state my ire regarding 21a – no further details for fear of being cast onto the Naughty Step. The rest of the crossword was pleasing so thank you to the setter and to Tilsit. A few seconds over 1* time for ease of completion but because of 21a, not as pleasurable as it might have been. Nevertheless, let me repeat my thanks to Chalicea.

    1. I don’t have a problem – it’s a device not often seen in cryptics and it’s a phrase that isn’t particularly easy to clue.

      1. OK ire slightly reduced. BTW, I think your explanation of 15a misses the point about the abbreviation for the word “following”, otherwise the clue makes less sense.

        1. It is unfortunate that one of the words appearing in the cluing also appears in the answer (even after cryptic operations are applied). I don’t mind the ‘ruse’, shall we call it, per se.

          1. NogBad and Jeanne vincent, apologies for offending you with the clue. It is a device I love to try to include in a crossword – difficult but very rewarding when it works. Here I was aware of what was an issue for both of you but did feel that the word in question did not, exactly, appear in the solution and another word in its place would have lost the surface reading. It passed the test for the very experienced editor who vets these.

            1. Thanks for popping in and explaining. It is even better to see that we can have a go at double Chalicea with today’s NTSPP.

      2. I don’t have a problem with that device or the idea of clue generally, but I do think the lengthy 7-word definition could be easily reduced to 4.

  3. All done and dusted. Mainly enjoyable but some of the longer ones took more time than usual. 10d was the last of those as I did not know the meaning of mutableness! Once I got it I had to change 26a, which I was not happy with. All became clear once I had the last letter. Favourites 9 11 and 23a and 14 and 16d. I like 14d for its simplicity. Not sure what the majority have to say about it so look forward to reading the hints and comments. Thanks to Setter (who I cannot identify) and Tilsit.

  4. An enjoyable Prize Puzzle with a few head scratchers tokeep is on our toes. It appealed to me because the clues were varied, with some nice lurkers and anagrams and they did what they said on the tin so that I didn’t feel like I was wakking in fog without a map and a compass. I liked the 26a anagram, the nicely misdirected 25a and the new word at 26a (it mmight hust be a new plural). Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to the compiler.

  5. A very enjoyable “leisurely walk” with just enough to make the mind tick. The long anagrams were very useful but took me a while to twig to 1a. COTD for me was 1d as I went to sea on the anagram and was left with two most unlikely types for the first word. Last in was 23a as clumsily believed that I was looking for an animal. Cheers to the setter as it always helps parsing when the clues are so well constructed.

  6. A typically enjoyable and straightforward puzzle from a Chalicea that was high on enjoyment. I am not sure why 21a should provoke any angst, but each to his own. There were some neat anagrams and lurkers, but my top clue was 5d.

    My thanks to both Chalicea and Tilsit.

  7. 2*/2*. This puzzle was a bit of a curate’s egg for me.

    I was surprised to see 10d again. I thought it was a strange clue when it cropped up in a Saturday Prize Puzzle a couple of months ago and, unlike a fine wine, it hasn’t improved with age.

    Probably as I am (or rather was as it’s a shadow of its former self now) a Doctor Who fan, 4d didn’t work for me as a cryptic definition. I spotted the answer immediately and needed to work out the alternative non-cryptic meaning rather than the other way round.

    25a was my favourite.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Tilsit hints that fury gives a 4 letter word in 15A, but I think it is more likely that “following fury” gives one letter then a 3 letter word.
      NogBad agrees with me, I think.

  8. Just the NE corner gave me pause today, I did like 14 and 16d. not sure I have fully parsed 6d either.
    Not sure what NogBad has against 21a – seems a perfectly valid construction to me but as said I will also avoid the Naughty Step.

    If I had kept my James Bond DB5 with a working ejector seat, guns and armour plating in its box, it might have been worth a bob or two. Where is the fun in that and I suppose any value therein is because most of us smashed them to bits long ago. I expect Miffs has one mint in box next to his concert tickets.

    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit

    1. OK naughty step looms – it’s the use of a word in the clue which also appears in the answer.

      1. ahh, I see your point – maybe using fly instead of that word wouldn’t have affected the surface too much.

      2. In fact, it’s all in the clue if you look carefully. But the setter has managed to cleverly include an intersting and quite rare device (not easy to achieve) and that probably trumps any slight (and forgiveable) technical flaw.

      1. It’s great to buy a malt, but not get round to sampling it, then find after twelve years or so what you bought for £59 is now worth almost £700 a bottle – and I have a pair of them, but I ain’t gonna complain :-) Btw, Nice puzzle today. Thanks to both.

        1. I admire your restraint. When I was allowed to drink the nectar no bottle stayed unopened long & often had a dozen or so on the go – they lasted a long time mind you.

          1. I’ve tended to keep some of the dearer malts back for special occasions, such as the Milllennium, births of granchildren, special wedding anniversaries etc, but usually ended up opening other bottles instead. I’ve five rarities that I dare not open now – well, not just yet :-)

            1. In airline parlance, “if you can afford to fly first class and you don’t, your heirs will.”

    2. I think for 6d you just take the top off another word and the first word of the clue is the definition. Like you and some others I saw nothing wrong with 21a when I worked out how it was formed. Until I did, I thought it was dodgy but in reality it is clever. Lovely sunny morning although cold as the gas people are renewing gas pipes in the road! Another year, either this week or next, many of us would be strolling along the canal path in Little Venice en route to the Bridge House. Hopefully something to look forward to…

      1. Thanks Wanda , I just wrote the answer in because I had the checkers and it couldn’t be anything else but after finishing I realised I couldn’t parse it .
        Lovely puzzle today , no real hold ups , 16 gets my COD vote as only last weekend I was explaining to my wife why it was called that .
        Thanks to Chalicea .

    3. I had very few toys which meant that I cherished what I did have. I certainly never had the James Bond car but remember seeing it in a shop window. I’ve never seen a James Bond film either. I did bid a cheeky £500 for this DB5 which went for over £2,000,000. I was lead bidder until the actual auction

      1. I remember you mentioning that before – I wonder where it is now. It is probably under a tarpaulin in some remote garage never to be seen again akin to Huntsman’s whisky investment.

        1. More likely to be in an air conditioned glass cage in some millionaires garage. Evans maybe ?

        2. I know absolutely nowt about cars but what I like about Nick Mason (Floyd drummer) & his magnificent collection housed in 2 big hangars on his Cotswold estate (featured on Brian Johnson’s Life on the Road – Sky Arts) is that he drives them. He has a 1962 Ferrari bought for £35K in 1977 & now worth an estimated 40 million. The car was put up as collateral to underwrite the A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour post Roger Waters which grossed a fortune. On the flip side there’s Johann Rupert’s motor museum in Franschhoek which is in the middle of nowhere & has the most unbelievable collection but doubt they go anywhere.

  9. One of the most straightforward of Saturday crosswords for quite some time for me but very enjoyable.
    My only problem was 26a which I don’t remember seeing before either in a crossword or in real life.
    It’s one of those symbols that you come across in learned texts or textbooks but never knew its proper name. I knew it by the name which describes its shape.
    Had look it up in the BRB.
    Lots of (long) anagrams and my fav was 16d which made me smile.
    Thx to all
    PS Many thanks for all the good wishes yesterday. Just recovering this AM from rather too much excellent Syrah with last nights celebratory dinner.

  10. 26a was new to me & I can’t say I’ve ever had cause to drop either 7 or 10d into casual conversation but the clueing was clear. All over a wee bit too quickly but still fun while it lasted. 23a my favourite & very partial to one too.
    Thanks to Chalicea & Tilsit

    1. Yes, I’m partial to 23a too but find them to be the shortest distance, I have to limit at one, hard to do.

  11. Thanks Chalicea. Would not have identified the setter myself, and found the Toughie I tackled earlier in the week gave up its secrets more quickly.

  12. I would expect the Telegraph postbag to be brimming over this week, our setter having given us such an easy stroll through the park!
    Like RD, I was surprised to see 10d making a reappearance but I suppose it should help to stick it firmly in our minds.
    Favourite was probably 15a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit for the hints and the three-man organ piece!

  13. An enjoyable if rather easy stroll through the Cryptoverse for me today. I like them a little more chewy I suppose it’s fair to say, but that’s just a ‘me’ thing!

    I’ve had my tiny gripe about 21a up in the remarks appending to comment 2, but that was it. Jolly good stuff.

  14. Enjoyable from the beginning to the end.
    Thought the word-play in 21a quite novel.
    So, **/*****
    Many thanks Chalicea and Tilsit

  15. No doubts about who was ‘responsible’ for this very enjoyable anagram fest – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 23a, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to the Floughie Lady, I hope her NTSPP is as much fun, and to Tilsit.

  16. I loved this so many thanks to Chalicea for the fun. The long anagrams gave a number of entrances into the rest of the puzzle and the whole was a joy to solve. I’m not sure I have 12a correct but I cannot see it being anything else. It just doesn’t seem to “read” right. I have no problem with 21a although I understand the reasoning of others who do. My favourite and COTD is 16d.

    Once again, thank you, Chalicea for the puzzle and Tilsit for the hints.

    On now to Chalicea’s other offering.

    Skin of my teeth with Wordle – 6.

  17. Wordle 5 for me. Funny one though as I had three correct letters at the second attempt in the right place. It just took me three attempts to get the first letter being the furthest along the alphabet.

    1. 5 for me as well, I always use the same word to start, it has 4 vowels in it, you’ll never guess what that is😂

        1. No point in using a word with vowels repeated Lrok, you need to establish as many as possible in the first attempt!

          1. It was said tongue-in-cheek DG (hence use of “wait”). I don’t use the same letter or the “q” in the first word.

      1. 5 for me too! I always use a different word to start with 2 vowels not used the previous day.

      2. Ouija? Hope Josh Wardle is duly appreciative of the publicity BD & Co are giving him daily!

    2. 5 for me too WW
      Like the 2Ks we have a family fun thing and position is based, amongst other things, on the average attempts rather than just a single day.

      1. I’m a newbie but can’t wait to have a go with my 10 year old grandson. We have watched and played along with Lingo together. I’m not keen on the presenter, however, and even less so on some of the contestants.

  18. I did not find this as easy as most seem to have, but enjoyable nonetheless. I have no problem with 21a, I just bunged it in , sorry all that clever clueing wasted on me. Never did get 26a, a new word for me, I suppose I could have run through the alphabet but life’s too short for that, just cheated and used danword. Thanks to all.

  19. Loved 21a! Love Chalicea–thought it must be she early on. Just the thing for a very cold, icy, windy morning in this subtropical Southland, where the temperature is now 29F. My 25a’s (many already in scarlet bloom) are a bit rimed over this morning but lovely to look at with their new coats on. A most enjoyable gift from our lovely lady setter, with thanks to Tilsit, especially for the Bach from the very talented Dutchman (Jimmy and I applauded him, anyway). 1.5* / 4.5*

  20. A mild puzzle, as these Saturday PPs often are. Mostly good clues, giving a pleasing solve. No stand-out favourite today. 2*/2.5*.

  21. Thank you Chalicea for such a fun puzzle. 26a was new to me, so I bunged in what I thought it should be, then checked it. Thank you too Tilsit for your contribution. Much appreciated.

  22. A very straightforward SPP offering for me. Not much humour and few “doh” moments. From previous comments I realise I am swimming against the tide but I did feel this was somewhat lacklustre.
    Nothing stood out for COTD for me 23a hardly cryptic for me.
    Probably a day wasted trying to get my money back from an electricity supplier who has gone bust hasn’t helped my mood.
    Thanks Chalicea for the puzzle and Tilsit for the hints.

  23. Seems to me this was one of the easiest, if not the easiest puzzle, of the week. Very enjoyable, no hints to be had and I rate this one 1.5*/4*
    Some good clues too. Podium candidates include 1a, 11a, 23a, 16d & 19d with 11a my favourite.
    9a, 17a. 4d & 19d all made me smile.
    26a was a new word for me, but had to be what it was.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  24. First run-through delivered poor return but pennies gradually began to drop and voilà. South less taxing for me than the top half. As with other bloggers, I too was initially afloat with second half of 1d but had to rethink it when letters with which I was left could not be used. IMHO 9a only just works. 15a and 21a unparsed bung-ins. 26a new to me. Haven’t come across 10d mutableness or the relevant synonym. Thank you Chalicea and Tilsit.

  25. Tilsit I have just watched your mad organist clip, I stand in awe of the skill involved in playing that instrument, totally amazing.

  26. Always love Chalicea’ so puzzles. However I did my daft thing which I do from time to time.
    14a. Oh it must be something like x. Scroll through my head for synonyms for a few minutes until I realise it is x
    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit
    Wordle in 4

  27. Many thanks to Chalecia and Tilsit for a pleasant hour of sanity after a manic morning. Guides were doing coffee stop so that was a bit chaotic and in the middle of that one of our Almshouse Ladies rang to say her heating wasn’t working so had to take her a portable heater and ring The Proper Man , then the boiler in the Hall started to leak and to top it all one elderly lady went out to her car to find it flat- someone had put a screw in the tyre! AA quoted 2 hours to get to her so George said he would sit with her until they came. (I might say 6 men had tried to get the wheel off and failed) so it has been rather an odd day so far, but bright & sunny. I wouldn’t have got yesterday’s Wordle if I had not been alerted that it was naughty! Have a nice weekend everyone.

  28. Good fun this afternoon having spent all morning defrosting freezer! Hate the job but could leave all the drawers outside in the heavy frost. Lovely to then relax with this puzzle so thanks to all. Forgot to order seafood platter for yesterday so having it tomorrow. I mistakenly said one of the items on the platter was crevettes but they are crayfish – all yummy.

  29. After a disappointing loss in the club winter foursomes this came as a welcome diversion.
    No more comments as I still have the hump.
    Thanks both.

        1. Foursomes in winter Hoofs, no temporaries must be a real golf club. Shorter winter tees often make the older members more dangerous, then the slower more bumpy greens bring benefit to the higher handicappers. However when you’ve reached the last page in the excuse book it’s time to remind yourself its only a game!

  30. Oh so near and yet so far. Just when I thought this was going to be all my own work, I was stumped by 26a and had to go for help. Just as well, as I have never seen or heard the word before. Other than that, a perfect puzzle for me, which is the usual result from Chalicea. Although I do confess I tried one of her Toughie’s this week and it really was tough. Clearly a setter who knows the difference between both puzzles. Thanks Chalicea for a perfect Saturday morning cryptic and to Tilsit, although I am glad for once I didn’t need the hints. More like this one please DT.
    Anyone else upset that the DT has today revealed the ending of No Time To Die? Did they really have spoil the movie for a lot of us who haven’t seen it yet?

  31. I love you Chalicea, so much fun all the way and, yes, I think 21a is very clever. I knew 26a, I’m sure we’ve had it before. The NE was tricky for me, never heard of Dalek, for that matter I’ve never watched Dr. Who. Fave was 16d.
    Thanks Chalicea, I’ve printed off your other offering for later, and Tilsit for the hints and tips.

  32. Thanks Chalicea for a marvellous puzzle – thoroughly enjoyed solving this one!
    Like Brian, 26A was a new word for me but, of course, every day’s a school day 😜
    Thanks also to Tilsit for another great blog ‘n hints! 👍

  33. Many thanks to all and especially to Tilsit. I have to admit that the clue for 26ac was the editor’s. I had ‘Signs mob eliminated partly (5)’ and had my hand smacked for having more than the permitted number of that type of clue (we are allowed two and maybe another ‘reversed one’) but I had included four. So Chris Lancaster produced that subtle and popular clue.

  34. As usual, I’m way behind all of you! I started really well actually, but by the end of yesterday I had started googling quite a few answers. I now have a completed puzzle but some answers still a mystery.

  35. Usual slow but steady pace – nothing too tricky which makes a pleasant change. Concentration slowed by waking up to 5 frost cracked windows. As expected insurance company refuse to cover – not sure why we have to have them, they never pay up!

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