DT 29901 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29901

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29901

Hints and Tips by Stephen L

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from South Devon, the self styled “English Riviera” to be precise, which is also the title of local band Metronomy’s rather good third album for the music aficionados amongst us.

As for the puzzle that was rather good too, in fact it was excellent, we have come to expect nothing less from our esteemed setter. A couple of parsings took me into 3* time.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a  Dealt with cynical changes by mistake (12)
ACCIDENTALLY:  A nice easy anagram (changes) of DEALT and CYNICAL to start with.

9a Isolated workers finally quit accommodation (9)
APARTMENT: A word meaning isolated or alone is followed by some of the usual workers plus the last letter (finally) of quit.

10a   Stadium is new in neighbourhood (5)
ARENA:  The abbreviation for New goes inside a synonym of neighborhood. Here’s the stadium of the best team in the country.

11a Speculation of people in authority hoarding gold (6)
THEORY:  A pronoun which could refer to people in authority as in “**** say we don’t have to wear a mask anymore” goes around (hoarding) the heraldic symbol for gold

12a Come through for Tory’s first offensive (8)
PROTRUDE:  Start with a preposition meaning for, add the initial letter (first) of Tory and a synonym of offensive.

13a  Cultivated vacant rogue facing a socialist (6)
REARED:  The outer letters (vacant) of RoguE are followed by A from the clue and one of the usual socialists.

15a Literal dash following motorway (8)
MISPRINT:  A synonym of dash as in how an athlete may run the 100 metres follows two letters that look like one of our major motorways. Not the first synonym that came to mind.

18a  Break bed’s head, preferably clutching sweetheart (8)
BREATHER:  Start with the first letter (head) of the word Bed. Add a word meaning preferably into which this setter’s swEetheart is inserted.

19a​  Regrets doctors taking pot (6)
MOURNS:  The abbreviation for some doctors or medical officers contains (taking) an appropriate type of pot or vase.

21a  Ring of wires on a telephone (8)
RESONATE:  (Well) hidden (of) in the clue.

23a  Squabble during lunch (6)
TIFFIN: A minor argument, often associated with lovers is followed by a simple synonym of during.

26a  Bobbin with coils around (5)
SPOOL:  A reversal (around) of a synonym of coils

27a  Huge opening cut earthquake’s start and middle? (9)
EPICENTRE:  Start with a synonym of huge. Add a synonym of an opening without (cut) its final letter. Tack on the initial letter of Earthquake. I thought this could almost work as an &lit but Fez has convinced me otherwise.

28a  Nicer pet name could give one licence (12)
INTEMPERANCE:  Anagram (could give) of the preceding three words.


1d  Plug more suitable for electrical accessory (7)
ADAPTER: A shortened form of a synonym of plug as in publicity is followed by an adjective not usually seen in the comparative form meaning more suitable.

2d  Cold comfort possibly found in end (5)
CEASE: The abbreviation for Cold and a word that could mean comfort.

3d  Put off man producing washing powder? (9)

DETERGENT:  A shortened synonym of a (well mannered) man follows a synonym of put off or discourage.

4d In poverty, born and died (4)

NEED:  A three letter word meaning formerly or “born as” is followed by the abbreviation for Died

5d  Horrible toadies purchasing Queen ‘rock’ (8)

ASTEROID:  Anagram (horrible) of TOADIES wrapped around (purchasing) the royal cypher.

6d  Inclined to use spare time (5)
LEANT:  A synonym of spare in the sense of slender and the abbreviation for Time

7d  Bizarre exercise with perjurer protecting copper (8)

PECULIAR:  Start with some physical exercise. Add  a person who tells “porkies” and insert into the result (protecting) the chemical symbol of copper.

8d   Cheers fast time showing skill (6)
TALENT:  The fast time here is nothing to do with speed, but a period of abstinence. It follows an informal word meaning cheers or thanks.

14d  Hatred is over and practically obliterated (8)
AVERSION:  Anagram (obliterated) of the following three words minus (practically) the final letter of anD.

16d  Lord accepts resistance over capable extortionist (9)
PROFITEER:  A nobleman or aristocrat surrounds (accepts) the abbreviations for Resistance and Over along with a synonym of able or suitable.

17d​  One appreciates some reggae’s the technique (8)
AESTHETE:  Hidden in the clue (some)

18d​  Most undressed are almost wearing top (6)
BAREST:  Two of the three letters of ARe from the clue go inside (wearing) a synonym of top

20d  Devout transgress about to embrace church (7)
SINCERE:  A simple synonym of transgress or err plus a preposition meaning about or concerning go around (to embrace) the abbreviation for the Church of England

22d  Material needs yarn left over? Not initially (5)
NYLON:  A nicely hidden first letters clue as indicated by the word initially

24d  Romp dressing nearly excessively for bed (5)
FUTON:  A synonym of romp or pleasure is wrapped  around (dressing) an adverb meaning excessively without (nearly) its final letter

25d  Feeble politician supporting endless fabrication (4)
LIMP:  A member of the lower chamber goes below (supporting) a fabrication or untruth without its last letter (endless)

Top stuff Mr T. I loved the innuendo laden 18a & 24 down along with 7&16 down (naturally)

Quickie Pun. Marked + Wane = Mark Twain



89 comments on “DT 29901

  1. I found this to be a puzzle of two halves: half easy and half not so resulting in a ***/**** for me as very high quality. I thought the lurkers well hidden and 12a and 18a very well thought out. My LOI was 27a which I couldn’t see for quite a while despite having all the cross checkers. Thanks to my fellow Devonian and our great setter.

  2. A star or so less than the usual Thursday puzzle,
    Enjoyed the solve and liked the SE corner generally .Favourite was 23a,not seen this for a while-straight from the Raj and a bed from Japan to boot.
    Thanks to our setter and SL for the blog.

  3. Another masterpiece from our fortnightly maestro. The top half went in quickly but the bottom took a bit more brainpower, and parsing 27a & 24d (my two top clues) sealed the deal for me. I also liked 16d, 18a, and 7d. Most enjoyable. Thanks to Stephen L for the review and to Mr T for the continued excellence. ** / ****

  4. I really enjoyed this, as I always do from the master of conciseness and brevity. 19a was my final entry, and proved to be a favourite along with 7d.

    My thanks to Ray T and SL.

    Wordle in 5 today, but frustratingly I had the first four letters in 2 attempts.

    1. Mrs GD had the same Wordle experience today, making an intuitive leap from line 1 to 2 that is luck if someone else does it and genius if we do it. I went the long way round and limped home in 6.

  5. I found this quite tricky, the SE corner held me up the most. I got two or three of the answers without knowing why but it was most enjoyable. Wordle in 3. If they make us pay for such a simple game I will just stop. Thanks to the setter and SL for showing me how I got there.

  6. Thanks RayT for this excellent head-scratcher which took longer than is decent in the South. Thank you Stephen L for tidying up some loose ends.

  7. Great crossword, of course – but I needed Stephen’s assistance to get me rebooted about halfway through.

    Covid seems to be hitting us here in a sort of relay. I was first, then ‘the youngster’, and now H. Luckily, H seems to be going through a milder version but it rules her out of the trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday. That appears to be her greatest woe.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Dobrinka Tabakova – On The South Downs

    Thanks to Ray T, Stephen, and a big Thursday shout out to The Lovely Kath!

  8. Thanks to SL for explaining the now-simple 21a, which I couldn’t parse for toffee. Thanks also RayT (if it be he). Quite a challenge in places but after several forays, I triumphed. 3*/4*

  9. No sweat today but a fun diversion. SW came in last. Surely 23a can be either lunch or tea. 14a rather ponderous. No real Favs. Thank you RayT and StephenL. Hi Kath, you are greatly missed hope you will be back soon.

  10. A fine production as usual from RayT so thanks to him. Another fine blog from the man namechecked at 16 down. Thanks to him as well.

    On the subject of the Puzzles Newsletter

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    I hope this helps, but please let me know if you are still experiencing problems having worked through the steps above.

    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Lancaster

    1. CL
      I hopefully can add another potential problem . I only received a copy intermittently. In the process of registering / de-registering I noticed I was only able to register to receive one copy every month with no option to get it weekly. A call to the Help Desk has hopefully solved the issue, fingers crossed next week!
      Thanks to SC, MP et al for sending me copies.

  11. A terrific puzzle from Mr. T. although I needed help to get over the line. The lurkers were well hidden especially 21a which gets my COTD because I had my wires and ringing phones crossed.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the fun and SL for the helpful hints.

    Wordle in 4.

  12. Archetypal RayT for me. I thought it was going to be my quickest RayT but the South & SE corner particularly put the brakes on.
    27a was my LOI and R/U COTD with the brilliant lurker 21a taking top spot.
    Thanks to Messers T and L. I think the woke brigade may have something to say about the illustration for 22d, as a materials scientist my only observation is are they nylon or silk?
    Especially on RayT Thursdays I hope all our every best wish to Kath bring a smile. Miss you bonny lass..

    1. The illustration is one picture that clearly suits the clue and isn’t overtly suggestive. I’m ok with that. I’d be interested in the thoughts of others though

      1. Agree entirely MP the comment was more about the hyper-sensitivity that surrounds the “movement” than about the appropriateness of the illustration.

        1. Hi El Rok

          Why alert us to, quoting you, guessing what the thoughts are of a hypersensitive group of people, none of which, I venture, are on this blog?

          Do you think we would care what their thoughts are?

          1. Hi Gordy,
            As somebody said quite recently “It takes all sorts I guess”. Including senile decrepit old iconoclasts like me.
            Comment wasn’t aimed at you so please ignore.

      2. I agree. Surely the woke brigade are mainly concerned with matters of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

        1. Not too sure about that, the Woke brigade aren’t too particular about what they get upset about. As for sexual orientation – lying in a direct north/south bearing is best! :-)

  13. Certainly a game of two halves. The top was over in .25* time & had visions of a first ever completion in well under * time but heavy traffic down south soon put paid to any notion of that. Thought both the lurkers extremely well disguised & particularly liked the wordplay at 18&27a along with 16d. The parsing of 24d my biggest head scratch until the penny dropped for a sedate 2.5* time finish. Favourite was the neat surface read/anagram at kick off.
    Thanks to RT&SL + TTFK

  14. Many thanks Ray T (presumably… concise clues and a sweetheart?) & SL. Some tricky parsing (and definitions – 15a, very nice!) but plenty of ways in. Favourite has to be 21a, can’t remember a better lurker.
    Thanks again!
    PS I’m not sure if 27a works as &lit, for me it’s just wordplay “and” definition (“middle”, i.e. a figurative focal point) although the surface is nicely relevant – by the way, you’re of course tacking on the “start” of Earthquake rather than the final letter as stated in blog.

    1. Fez
      Other Ray T trademarks also present, were the Queen, no double word answers and all single word clues in the Quickie.

      1. Thanks LrOK! I’m gradually getting used to the Telegraph setters after years of just the Grauniad, will keep an eye out for other ‘trademarks’ in future. Hadn’t noticed the super-conciseness of the Quickie (and in fact, only very recently twigged that the Quickie and back-pager were linked in any way at all – wondered why the puns always got a mention on the blog!)

        1. Fez
          When Ray T first appeared many of us used to say “come Thursday Ray T will prove our nemesis”. Thanks to this site (especially the lovely Kath) low-grade enthusiasts like me can now get through nearly every Ray T only using the review to refine how we got there.
          I hope, like me, this site just adds to the enjoyment you get from the back pages.

    2. Thanks Fez….my initial thought was just to go for “middle” as the definition but, as you say, the wordplay is so cunningly relevant it was difficult to know what to underline. Anyway, I’ve altered the hint.

  15. The setter who always puts a smile on my face, what a role model he is for the up-and-coming.
    I did check on the definition of a couple of answers although goodness knows why – I haven’t caught him out once in all the times I’ve solved RayT puzzles.
    Tricky as always to isolate specific favourites but this time I’ve opted for 11,12&19a plus 7d with a shout-out for the Quickie pun which took an unreasonable amount of time to show itself.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for a great review. A big ‘HI’ to Kath who will hopefully pop in later – your deputy is doing a splendid job, despite having an off the wall taste in music and expecting folk like me to recognise football grounds from a picture!

    1. Thanks Jane…the stadium is The Etihad, home of the mighty Manchester City.
      Play the song again, it may grow on you!

  16. Well, a fortnight has gone by and we are back to a Ray T. puzzle today and I tend to dread these, as I find his wavelength a tad hard to grasp. However, I tackled this on Wednesday night without any blog/hints.
    Took me to 3* time but enjoyment was matched at 3* today too.
    Yes, it was tricky and needed some brain cells working, but I managed it.
    Favourites for me were 11a, 15a, 18a, 4d & 8d with winner 15a
    19a, 23a, 3d, 24d & 25d all brought a smile and 5d was a LOL!

    Thanks to Ray T & StephenL for blog/hints

  17. Another fine puzzzle from Ray T. For me, a little above the back-page average difficulty with great clues privding an enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked a few and will ranomly mention 24d. 3*/4*.

  18. Parallel to with head upstream of the nearest river would be my go-to orientation.
    I was toddling along quite nicely until I failed at the Miffypops Maxim re the very well concealed lurker at 21a. 12a my favourite today for the LOL moment. Lots of other lovely clues though. Thanks to Stephen L and RayT and of course best wishes to Kath.

    oops the first line of my comment was originally addressed at Jose up a bit but I thought I had deleted it.

  19. 2*/5*. A top notch but not too difficult puzzle from RayT which I finished over breakfast as usual but have been too busy to post since then.

    With plenty of great clues to choose from, my favourite is 19a.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL, and, of course, very best wishes to Kath.

      1. I wondered if anyone would comment on this. I once lived in Cheltenham in the 50’s and by then it was another word for elevens.

    1. Tiffin is an Indian English word for a type of meal. It refers to a light tea-time meal at about 3pm, or to a light breakfast consisting of typical tea-time foods.[1] In certain parts of India, it can also refer to the midday luncheon or, in some regions of the Indian subcontinent, a between-meal snack.[2] When used in place of the word
      “lunch”, however, it does not necessarily mean a light meal.[3]

      Tony, if my years on this blog have taught me one thing, it is that the setters are rarely wrong. They check their sources, the puzzle presumably has to get past the editor too so one has to be careful when using derogatory adjectives.

    2. Could you please explain which clues were appalling and why they were so. As a new solver with only fifty years of experience I’m keen to understand your thinking. I’m sure the setter will welcome your expertise so he can hone his skills and improve his poor output. Our crossword puzzles editor might like to know where he is going wrong. Their gratitude will be your reward

  20. Well well well, a Ray T that I understood and enjoyed immensely. Must have been on the right wavelength or he was being benevolent today.
    Either way I thought it was a cracking puzzle. My favs were 4d and 9a.
    Probably helped that I was in a good frame of mind after winning the golf competition today!😀
    Thx to all

    1. Well done on the golf Brian. I’ve only got my sticks once this year – too muddy & too cold

  21. Started off with a bang, but quickly fizzled. Every time there was a fork in the road, I took the wrong one. 17d was a word I have rarely, if ever, seen. But at least I pulled 23a out of the darkest depths. But can’t complain, I had such a successful day with yesterday’s puzzle that I shall console myself with that. Thanks to Ray T for the challenge, and to StephenL for getting me back on track.

  22. I can’t remember when last I did a puzzle with such a marked difference between north and south! I started off gung ho and ground to a halt halfway. The SW was the hardest, I had to go in for a hint to start again with 18a, but I got there eventually. My Dad always called lunch tiffin, why I have no idea, he had nothing to do with India! I got some answers but had no idea how they worked, e.g., 14d, so unravelling by StephenL was greatly appreciated. Fave was 23a for the reminder of my Dad!
    Thanks RayT, I’m glad I had you to explain some of the obscure answers SL, much appreciated.
    Wordle in 4.

      1. Many Happy Returns Merusa. May you have many more
        Has it warmed up M?
        Hopefully Sadie will get her birthday treat (Biggles gets some raw mince).

      2. Happy Birthday, Merusa! Hope the weather in Miami is warm enough for you to enjoy your big day. I raise a glass to you!

      1. Thanks all! Yes it has warmed up, and, no, Sadie gets no beef, this is a mammal-less house! I’ll drink to myself when the sun goes over the yardarm.

  23. Hello,
    I thought this was a tricky crossword – maybe just me or perhaps I’m being grumpy – nothing to do at all to do with the crossword . . .
    Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to StephenL for the hints. Thanks again to all for the lovely cheery messages which are SO appreciated.
    Thanks to everyone – :rose:

    1. I love when you show up Kath, reminds me of the “good old days” when we would see you every day. Today was very tricky, keep on keeping on! We love you.

      1. :smile: It reminds me of the good old days too – doing the hints on alternate Thursdays were my favourite days – I used to be very proud of doing them.

        1. Do you remember the night pommers and I ganged up on you to encourage you to join the blogging team? What fun that was. You asked “What would Big Dave say” Quick as a flash Big Dave posted “Big Dave would say yes” and so a legend began

          1. Yes – I certainly remember that night – I was absolutely terrified and then just what on earth had I landed in for – oh dear!! Pretty scaredy-cat or what? Actually alternate weeks doing hints I was terrified every time – it was more the techie stuff than the crossword – oh dear, again!! Hopeless!! :roll:

  24. Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L for the review and hints. Found the top half OK, but couldn’t do the rest to save my life. Needed the hints for 15,18,19,21,23&28a. Favourite was 1d. Was 5*/3*for me.

  25. Kath
    You grumpy – perish the thought!
    If only we could all send some flowers you wouldn’t be able to move in the house!
    Best wishes today, and every day.

  26. A nice week we are having in the DT. So thanks to RT for continuing the run.

    */*** from me for today’s rather good workout.

  27. Certainly a game of two halves 😬 ***/*** The North going straight in but two in the South tied me down for quite some time 18a and 27a 🤔, Favourites were 12a and 15a 🤗 Thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T and best wishes to Kath

  28. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL and to all for your comments. Best wishes also to Kath, of course.


    1. Thanks for dropping in sir, much appreciated by all, and for yet another outstanding puzzle

    2. Thanks for popping in Mr T and the absorbing challenge.
      5 stars from Brian I didn’t think I would live to see the day. Please don’t quit whilst you are ahead!

  29. Gratifying to complete a Ray T in ** time.
    Loved 7d.
    A joy throughout.
    Many thanks RayT and Stephen L.

  30. Hello to Kath and happy birthday to Merusa. Before I forget.
    New words for me in 23a and 26a and didn’t imagine that 15a was synonymous to Literal.
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL for the review.

  31. Got stuck in the SE, can’t see why now. Favourite was 23d mainly because if the picture. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  32. I am well aware of my puzzling limitations but something feels very wrong when I solve far more of the toughie than the back pager. I suspect that most of the contributions here are from avid puzzlers who appreciate really obscure and convoluted clues. Which is fine but does not help to encourage new puzzlers.

    1. Hi William
      Most of the contributers on here comment daily so I think you’re right when you suppose the majority are keen solvers.
      As for the puzzle, this setter has a very distinct style of clueing and I suspect it’s a wavelength thing for you. One man’s “obscure and convoluted” is another man’s quite straightforward. Stick with the blog and hopefully you’ll soon get the hang of him.

    2. Hi William

      A couple of years ago I was a newcomer with very limited crossword skills. This blog has brought me on to a stage where I solve the backpager most days and, on the odd occasion, The Toughie. As SL says, stick with the blog because it pays dividends.

  33. I don’t understand how “need” is a synonym of “in poverty”. Surely “need” is a noun or a verb, while “in poverty” is an adverb (or adjective)?

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