DT 29903 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29903 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29903 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Gazza)

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Tilsit is suffering from the lurgy so I’m standing in as today’s hinter. I thought that this puzzle was a bit trickier than the Saturday puzzles we’ve had recently and all the better for it.

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.

Across Clues

4a Detective facing tough neighbourhood (8)
The abbreviation for a senior police detective is followed by an adjective meaning tough or severe.

9a Complaint of insincerity when student drops out (8)
Remove the usual abbreviation for student from a word meaning insincerity or smarminess.

16a It often gets thrown by church’s entrance (8)
This is a great example of what we call an all-in-one clue (sometimes referred to as an &Lit) where the whole clue is both the definition and the wordplay. Append an anagram (gets thrown) of IT OFTEN to the first letter (entrance) of Church.

21a Solid representation in law? Not the last time (6)
Start with a word for a written law and remove the last (the third as it happens) occurrence of the abbreviation for time.

26a Couple of stupid people involved with paid killer (8)
Repeat a word for a stupid person or fathead and add a preposition meaning ‘involved with’.

Down Clues

1d Ship carries nothing fancy (7)
A type of sailing ship, usually with three masts, contains the letter that resembles zero to produce an adjective meaning fancy or highly ornate.

7d Giving up of rights in court sitting it’s said (7)
This sounds like (it’s said) a court sitting (or, informally, a period of heavy drinking). We’re more used to seeing the verbal form of the answer.

17d Officer commanding highest American organisation with widespread influence (7)
String together the abbreviation for ‘officer commanding’, a synonym of highest and a 2-letter abbreviation for American.

20d Lacking restraints, old men unite with yen for clemency (6)
This is another slightly unusual word. Remove the outer letters (lacking restraints) from the three words ‘old men unite’ and add the abbreviation for yen.

22d Letter of thanks after article (5)
We finish with an old chestnut. An informal word of thanks follows our definite article to make a Greek letter.

The Crossword Club is now open.

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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!

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The Quick Crossword pun: PURR + SUN + ALLY = PERSONALLY


84 comments on “DT 29903 (Hints)

  1. Two short today, I’m afraid. I got 20d from the wordplay, but I’d never seen the word before, and I just couldn’t see a suitable ship for 1d, hardly surprising given it’s roots.

    Otherwise, nearly completed in *** time.

    Many thanks to the compiler and Gazza.

  2. Sailed through three-quarters of this but NE slowed things down. Joint Favs 21a and 15d. Like MalcolmR 20d new one on me. I am obviously being thick but can’t see where ‘mark’ comes into 25a. Thanks Mysteron (Cephas?) and Gazza.

    1. For 25a think of *****.
      Thanks to Gazza and setter, enjoyable puzzle with a few head-scratchers, but got there eventually.

      [Please do not give alternative clues]

    2. Should have sent my commiserations and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Tilsit which I do now. 💐🎼🌈.

  3. 16a is a great clue. A couple had me scratching my head before the checkers came to the rescue. Thanks to today’s setter and Gazza.

  4. Started a bit slowly in the NW but finished quite quickly in the SE. Delightful puzzle, happy to see 20d & 7d operative again, but my top three clues are those that gave me the most resistance and greatest pleasure: 9a, 24a, and (my COTD / LOI) 1d, which held me up and pushed me into ** time. And 16a deserves a special Clarkie. Such an enjoyable grid! Thanks to Big Dave (hope that Tilsit recovers from the lurgy quickly) and today’s setter (I haven’t a clue). ** / ****

    Our brief springlike interlude ends this weekend with a return of cooler temps here in the Carolina Lowcountry, and much-needed rain.

    1. Sorry, I meant to thank Gazza for the hints and not Big Dave, though I do thank him for everything else!

  5. 3*/3.5*. I enjoyed this, and, like Angellov, I sailed through three-quarters of it but my hold-up was in the NW.

    My top three were: 10a, 16a & 20d. I didn’t know that specific meaning of 17d, so I needed to Google my answer for confirmation.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  6. Cracking puzzle, I have a good idea who the setter is and he usually pops by later. Too many excellent clues to choose a favourite but of pushed I’ll go for the unwanted item in the windscreen as I’ve picked up a few over the years.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza, whose sentiments I agree with.

  7. Very slow start but rapidly gained speed to complete, unaided, in just nudging ** time.
    Some excellent clueing eg 17d and 20d.
    Many thanks to the setter and Gaza.

  8. Very good & perhaps the strongest SPP of the year thus far. 25a my clear favourite once the penny dropped with big ticks next to 9,10&16a plus 1,7&17d. Had to confirm the meaning of 20d & still struggling to parse 23a assuming I have it correct.
    Thanks to the setter & to Gazza for subbing. Best wishes to Tilsit – when you say lurgy I do hope that’s not a synonym for another 5 letter ailment.
    My 1st ever Wordle in 2 today having got the 1st letter only correctly positioned (nowt else) with my usual starter

    1. Only my second attempt at trying Wordle today – got it in five. First try a week ago was nowhere close – just luck I suppose. A super prize puzzle (Saturday that is) A new word learnt, but otherwise nothing to frighten the horses. Hope Tilsit is feeling better today. Thanks to setter and to Gazza.

  9. Bit of a curates egg. The good bits were fine but the bad were dire. 20d was the worst of all as it used a weird obscure word with poor wordplay. Not keen on 18d either. On the plus side I thought 12a was a good clue.
    Too tough to be very enjoyable, would not have disgraced a Toughie.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I agree the 20d word is obscure but the wordplay, if you followed the instructions, gave the answer that could be checked in BRB. 18d was similarly built from the wordplay, but 17d was for me a bung in.

      1. JB I agree re 20d. In fact the wordplay has cropped up a number of times recently as I recall. The word was not known to me either but if the setter uses a clear path to an obscure word that is an OK clue in my book. Sorry Brian on this occasion we differ.

          1. Oh no – You mustn’t change – everyone gets abbreviated ( why is abbreviated such a long word?)
            Miffypops to Miffs, crypticsue to CS, Stephen Lord to SL, LabradorsRuleOK to LROK and so on. Before long you will probably be just J.

  10. Very enjoyable, loved 16a which I thought witty and delightful. I can’t for the life of me parse 24a, assuming I have it right, so looking forward to the full exposition next week!

  11. Definitely trickier than recent SPPs. I don’t think I have come across 7d and 20d before but they were fairly clued. ***/***

    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 6d – and the winner, even though it is an oldie but goodie, is 10a.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza. Get well soon Tilsit.

  12. Had to google the ship in 1d – never heard of it before but doubt I will forget it now. NE corner held me up the longest but all in all an enjoyable solve so thanks to the setter and to Gazza. Hope you feel better soon Tilsit. Unlike Brian I thought the cluing of 20d was excellent as it took me straight to the answer.

  13. Not my cup of tea today. Had not seen 20d before, though it was fairly clued. Didn’t know 7d either.
    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    Hope Tilsit feels better soon.

  14. A couple of new words and a couple of “chestnuts” but on the whole a slightly trickier but rewarding SPP. 16a and the topical six nations bit of 11a share my plaudits today.
    Thanks to Gazza and setter. and a get well soon to tilsit.

  15. I found this, like others did, a bit of a curate’s egg. About half went in without much effort but others really taxed the grey matter. I had not heard of 20d but the clue gave the instructions so I managed it ok. I’m not sure that 16a is all that cryptic but what do I know? :smile:

    My COTD is 17d.

    Many thanks to the setter for the head scratching and to Gazza for the hints and for stepping for Tilsit, whom I hope recovers soon.

    Wordle in 4.

    1. Wordle in 6 today but it included a rejected word as not in the list.so probably a miss but at least I have kept my streak going.

      1. I was 3 today, John, so like you my roll is still ongoing. Thank heavens there is only one a day.

  16. Certainly a few tricky bits that needed confirmation but overall I thought this was a very good and enjoyable SPP.
    25a raised a smile as did 6d and I gave top marks to 10a.

    Thanks to our setter and to Gazza for manning the fort again – there must be a story behind your illustration for 21a!

  17. Pretty good SPP for me. Started slowly because of difficulties in NW corner. Got to grips with NE & then steady progress clockwise back to NW. This finally yielded with 1d LOI.
    10a was my COTD, even if, like Senf says, it is a chestnut.
    Thanks to setter & Gazza for the hints that confirmed a couple of uncertainties. Speedy recovery to Tilsit.
    Looking forward to the 6 Nations with hope rather than expectation. If our weather gets down to Murrayfield by late afternoon conditions for the Calcutta Cup will be testing to put it mildly.

    1. George is getting excited. A group of the lads are getting together with someone who has a TV practically the size of the pitch. A few beers as well. I am delighted.

      1. It never ceases to amaze me that Anglesey resembles a ghost island whenever there’s a rugby match on the TV. Make the most of your afternoon of freedom, DG, I hope for your sake that George and his pals get the result they desire. Having said that, you’ll doubtless get a blow by blow analysis either way!

        1. When I was mobile, I looked forward to Super Bowl! I had the whole town to myself, supermarket, malls, etc., I loved it.

  18. Definitely a harder Saturday puzzle than we have been used to of late, but all the more satisfying as a result. I loved 25a, a terrific clue and my favourite. The whole grid was a delight with just the NE quadrant of four tricky clues holding me up.

    Thanks to our setter and Gazza. Get well soon Tilsit. An afternoon of rugby awaits.

  19. Unlike many contributors above, I enjoyed this tussle from start to (3* time) finish. Couple of obscure words but all relatively clear from the clueing – cryptic does, after all, mean hidden! No complaints from me with any of the clues, all eventually parsed without resorting to Gazza’s excellent (as ever) hints. 5* for enjoyment. Many thanks to Setter, whoever you are – it constantly amazes me that some contributors can identify your style.

  20. Am always pleased to see anagrams and the checkers came in very handy. I was convinced I needed the Steamship which held me up a bit (does that put me on the step?) and 17d was a bung in. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the accompaniment to my avocado and salad. Blowing a Gale here and very cold – looking forward to lighting the fire and roasting some chestnuts.

  21. Popping in to admit it is one of mine again. I’m really happy that this has met with approval and surprised that it has been considered more difficult than usual – ‘would not have disgraced a Toughie’. says friend Brian – since my Toughies are sometimes labelled ‘too easy’. I must be the setter who sits between SPP and Toughie difficulty levels. So sorry that Tilsit is not well – get well soon! Thanks, indeed, to Gazza for stepping in.

    1. Well I wouldn’t have pegged it as one of yours & thought it a cracker. Still can’t parse 23a but since nobody else has mentioned it I’ve either the wrong answer or failing to see the obvious

      1. Have another look at the parsing of 23a, Huntsman. It took me a while but it is quite clever. It’s all in the clue, as they say. I can’t see any way to give you a hint without ending up on the Naughty Step. :smile:

          1. Mine was a one pound coin! A bit strange, but as I have a secret pash for Chalicea, I’ll keep it to myself!

    2. I did wonder if you set this, Chalicea. It seemed to have your “stamp” on it. A terrific puzzle and most enjoyable. Thank you for it and for popping in.

    3. Thank you ma’am. I had an inkling that this might be one of yours, and documentary evidence to that effect, but definitely less Floughie than usual.

    4. I’ve returned to the blog very late today just to thank you, Chalicea, for another splendid puzzle. You always find a way to make me smile!

  22. Thanks Gazza for stepping in. Like others I learnt some words today, missed the cleverness of 16a but had fun. Broken up by dog walk and other duties, the last 5 went in quickly after some fresh air.

  23. We found this pretty straightforward despite a couple of unusual words which were fairly clued. Very enjoyable. Favourite was 25a, though there were other contenders. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  24. Found the NW of this puzzle the last to go in.2.5*/3.5* today for me.
    20d new word but fairly clued to figure it out though. Learn something every day. Podium clues today include 12a, 23a, 25a, 17d & 22d with winner 25a

    Thanks to Chalicea and Gazza … and get well Tilsit

    Just watching the first of the six nation rugby games via VPN with Ireland & Wales …. Great way to start a Saturday at 6:15 am!!

  25. Only 1d held us a up for a while, otherwise v straightforward. Must be all that training with the Toughie during the week.

  26. I knew it was you Chalicea because I loved it and found it very straightforward.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Gazza. Best wishes ti Tilsit
    Wordle in 3

  27. 3/3. I needed two sittings for this puzzle. Started well last night but ran into problems so restarted this morning. It all seemed to fill up nicely so I don’t know what caused the pause yesterday. My favourites were 12a and 20d. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  28. My fave ever setter, but definitely trickier than usual, and some strange clues. Lots to like, we’ve had 1d before so it was one of my first solved and had me hunting for a pangram. I got held up in the SE, just bunged in a word that had no relevance at 20d. I don’t drive any more so, thankfully, no more 25a. Lots of cleverness here, 10a, 12a,16a, 24a in particular, but many more.
    Thanks Chalicea for the fun, much appreciation to Gazza for taking me to the finish line. Let well soon Tilsit.

      1. Of course, maybe not just nine! They are delish but can’t help feeling that rum might be more compatible with raisins. Of course, junipers may be part of the cure, who knows?

  29. Like Young Salopian, I find the NE corenre is not only holding me up, it still has four empty answers! It is however, very encouraging to read quite a lot of the above comments, because if you fast crossword solvers had some difficulty, then I don’t mind at all that it will be tomorrow morning before I finish, and I think that will involve a couple of googled answers … unless of course my brain does some overtime while I’m asleep!

  30. I enjoyed today’s puzzle. Fairly sailed through until 17d, 20d and 25a which took me almost as long to solve as the rest of the puzzle. 20d was a new word for me. Many thanks to Chalicea and to Gazza for stepping-in. I hope Tilsit starts feeling much better soon.

  31. Definitely a puzzle of 2 halves. I charged through the left hand side and crawled through the right. Took me far too long. Let’s blame the wretched lurgy. Despite all the recommended jags I’ve still succumbed. A very light affliction except for an irritating, in all senses of the word, cough. Hoping for an all clear tomorrow in time to tackle the Sunday Dada or perhaps the new Toughie.

  32. Somewhat disappointed with this one, felt like it was written by two different setters. Half went in fairly smoothly while the rest put up a fight worthy of a Toughie. Was wishing it had been a Chalicea day until I saw that is was in fact, knock me down with a feather. Should 19a be “serve in the military” as the answer is plural? Am I missing something? While I figured out the answer for 20d I failed to write it in, not recognizing it as a word. I need to get over my extreme reluctance to use a dictionary, always felt it was cheating. I’m still trying to figure out how 5d fits the clue. Chalicea, never worry if someone says your Toughie is too easy. That just gives us lesser mortals a bit of a boost when we attempt them. Thanks also to Gazza, with best wishes to Tilsit for a speedy recovery. Here’s hoping Kate Mepham is kind today.

  33. Done after the Sco-Eng game. Well done Scotland🥃. A good crossword, but if anyone is still out there I parsed 17d differently.

    For a start I cannot find any specific reference to the “answer” as an organisation with widespread influence!

    I read “with widespread influence” as the definition and organisation indicating an anagram of an acronym for “highest American” preceded by the 2-letter abbreviation for Office commanding.

    The “answer” does have “widespread influence”

    Thanks to Gazza and setter.

    1. If you have a copy of the BRB, you’ll find the exact definition there

      One thing you can always rely on with Chalicea is that her definitions, however obscure you think they might be, they are all taken from the dictionary

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your previous comment last February. Both aliases will work from now on.

  34. Just finished this whilst having a busy weekend in Norwich. Disappointed however that the good weather has turned into rain. I enjoyed this except 20 baffled me. I had the fodder but I think it was the fact that two other words are related to clemency and nearly fitted! The other one and my last in was 1d. I had forgotten the spelling of the boat. Thanks to Chalicea and to Gazza and best wishes to Tilsit.

  35. I tend to stockpile the crosswords so I have only just finished 29897 from a week ago and I haven’t read last week’s Big Dave, so apologies if any of what follows has already been said. (I was held up by putting four “I”s and no “e” in the collapse at 14a and I did enjoy 16d.)

    A week ago, amid a fanfare of good tidings, the DT told us that we would be getting more puzzles. In fact they seem to have done away with the extra puzzles on the last Saturday of the month so, in reality, they immediately short changed us!

    Somebody at the DT presumably thinks they have done a grand job with design on the pull-out. I do not agree, for several reasons.

    1 Why do we need a four inch banner heading with the word “Puzzles”? Enough space could be saved here to make up at least part of the loss of the monthly extras.
    2 I always fold the page horizontally so when I do the jumbo GK crossword it irritates the hell out of me that I have to keep changing over from top to bottom. Is it beyond the wit of the page designer to put the grid and the clues on the same half of the page?
    3 The colour scheme does nothing for me and, in particular, the use of pale grey in the “Evens” puzzles makes it quite hard to distinguish the odds from the evens.
    4 I am sorry to lose the monthly “Gogun” and the “Round the Houses” puzzle as well as the anagram crossword and many other features from the monthly extras pullout. To a certain extent they have been replaced by the twenty “Brain Training” exercises on page 2. For me this has been a very backward step, although I suppose this is a matter of taste.

    So, all in all, I’ll give the new set-up a four out of ten and I think I am being charitable.

    I was thinking of sending a letter to the editor but perhaps, if any of you are like minded, the Puzzles Editor will at least take notice of these comments and perhaps do something about it. I am sorry if anyone finds this an unwelcome digression but, actually, some of the digressions on here are more fun than the crossword itself! Thanks to all for making this such an enjoyable resource away from the trials and tribulations in the news.

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