DT 29911 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29911

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29911

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone. Some weeks charade-type clues dominate the puzzle and I struggle to hint them without repeating myself (put together, glue, cement, chain, assemble, amalgamate, marry, join, link, follow, concatenate, …), but not today. I thought today's crossword was a beautifully crafted set of varied clue types with great surface readings. There were also a few of those satisfying clues where a non-obvious answer emerges from following the instructions in the wordplay. It easily earned an extra star for enjoyment. 

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



1a    Cooked beans, a meal for Jack (4,6)
ABLE SEAMAN:  An anagram (cooked) of BEANS A MEAL 

6a    Spots expert penning note (4)
ACNE:  An expert containing (penning) the single letter for note 

9a    Cool nun is working out, keeping very fit (10)
CONVULSION:  An anagram (working out) of COOL NUN IS containing (keeping) the single letter for very 

10a   Eats  insect larva (4)
GRUB:  A double definition, the first being an informal word for food 

12a   Deceive bloke about the Spanish (6)
DELUDE:  A bloke like The Big Lebowski containing (about) "the" in Spanish 

13a   Dismiss anagram of worth? (5,3)
THROW OUT:  Clever. The answer is a phrase that could be interpreted as a way to obtain "worth" from an anagram 

15a   Nice woman annoyed with me, Leo lies deviously (12)
MADEMOISELLE:  A synonym of annoyed is followed by an anagram (deviously) of ME LEO LIES.  The definition is Nice woman – the capitalisation is important 

18a   Broker in dreary time at sea (12)
INTERMEDIARY:  An anagram (at sea) of IN DREARY TIME 

21a   Cheek to criticise cooking equipment (8)
SAUCEPAN:  Link together cheek or lip and a verb meaning criticise harshly 

22a   Vet caught rook in spot by rear of garden (6)
SCREEN:  The cricket abbreviation for caught and the chess abbreviation for rook are placed together in a verb synonym of spot, and that's all followed by the rear letter of GARDEN 

24a   Reportedly raise bird (4)
RHEA:  A homophone (reportedly) of raise from a young age

25a   Relative kisses and cuddles flipping nurse (10)
STEPSISTER:  The reversal (flipping) of "kisses and cuddles" is followed by a senior nurse 

26a   Prime Minister's leadership -- it tarnishes, to an extent (4)
PITT:  This historical Prime Minister is hiding as part of (to an extent) of the remainder of the clue 

27a   Begrudge start of drop in salary for now (7-3)
PRESENT-DAY:  A synonym of begrudge and the starting letter of DROP are together placed in another word for salary 



1d    Where one might find shops are shielding scoundrel (6)
ARCADE:  ARE from the clue containing (shielding) a scoundrel 

2d    Solitary student just goes round Spain (6)
LONELY:  The single letter indicating a student or learner driver is followed by a synonym of "just" that contains (goes round) the IVR code for Spain 

3d    Jumbo is unlikely to break this well-built fence (5,7)
SOUND BARRIER:  Synonyms of well-built and of fence. The jumbo suggested by the surface reading is not the jumbo required by the definition 

4d    Some trespassers climbing part of church (4)
APSE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (some … climbing) of the remaining word in the clue 

5d    High-water mark from ship -- sea too rough (10)
APOTHEOSIS:  An anagram (rough) of SHIP SEA TOO 

7d    Groups of drivers grumble lifting lavatory seat initially (3,5)
CAR POOLS:  Grumble or find fault with is followed by the reversal (lifting, in a down clue) of an informal word for lavatory, and then the initial letter of SEAT is stuck on the end

8d    Anger this writer tipping over beer (8)
EMBITTER:  A pronoun the writer would use for themselves is reversed (tipping over, in a down clue) and followed by a type of beer 

11d   Prisoners tense -- disturbance building (12)
CONSTRUCTION:  Assemble some usual prisoners, the abbreviation for grammatical tense, and a disturbance or rumpus 

14d   Patron's complaint surrounding northern player (10)
BENEFACTOR:  An informal word for complaint containing (surrounding) the single letter for northern is followed by a player on stage or screen 

16d   Announces journey and destination of plane? (8)
AIRSTRIP:  Put together synonyms of announces and of journey 

17d   Beer in France is most strong (8)
STOUTEST:  Follow a type of beer different to that in 8d with "is" in France 

19d   Relaxed editor, on balance? On the contrary (6)
RESTED:  Inverting the wordplay (on the contrary), balance or remainder is placed on the abbreviation for editor 

20d   Papers might be placed here in river without resistance (2-4)
IN-TRAY:  Concatenate IN from the clue and a river in Scotland containing (without) the physics symbol for electrical resistance 

23d   Soapsuds regularly work (4)
OPUS:  Alternate letters (regularly) of SOAPSUDS


Thanks to today’s setter. Clues I especially liked today were 13a, 26a, 2d, 3d, 11d, and 23d. If I had to pick a favourite I think I'd go for the Quickie pun. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  CHI + SAN + WHINE = CHEESE AND WINE

92 comments on “DT 29911

  1. I entirely agree with MrK – that was certainly a lot of fun with numerous great surfaces e.g. 9a, 13a, 3d and 17d so I will refrain from singling out a Fav. Big thanks to Mysteron and MrK.

  2. Very enjoyable indeed. My page has lots of ticks but I liked the reverse anagram at 13a plus the nurse petting relative at 25a best with 26a&7d making up the (crowded) podium.
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for the top notch entertainment.
    Toughie is good fun and not overly difficult.

  3. I thought this was a really well-crafted puzzle, with, as our blogger notes, an excellent clue mix. Just to be different, I will pick 5d as my favourite, although it could have been almost any within the grid.

    My thanks to both Misters. As Wordle Bore seems to have entered the lexicon, I shall refrain from mentioning my score unless I get in in two, which I have never done.

  4. A very absorbing puzzzle, once again, with a few that held me up for quite a wille
    The ick of the bunch were 5d and 9a, with tea3l penny drop moments (3*/4*). Thanks to the compiler and Mr K.

  5. 2*/4*. This was very fairly light and enjoyable, so much so that I will (almost) forgive the setter for the use of the horrendous “eats” as a noun.

    With plenty of goodies to chose from, I finally settled on 11d as my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. RD I had the same reservation about “eats” but decided not to mention it as the rest was so enjoyable.

  6. I enjoyed this very much. Right at my level with a balance of chuck-em-ins and more-thought-needed.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Beatles – Rain

    Thanks to the excellent setter, and The Celebrated Mr K.

    1. The heyday of the Fab Four, Terence, before fame, fortune & pressure began to eat away at them. In that clip they just look like four pals enjoying making music together.

  7. A fine mix of clues & a very entertaining puzzle. Like YS 5d was my favourite as it’s such a lovely word & the clue had a nice surface read. More clues with ticks than not. The Quickie pun (our leader’s favourite type of work gathering) good too.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K for his review which I’ll now read.
    Wordle in 4 – yet to have a failure but as a late starter a way to go to match Manders

  8. Lots to enjoy solving, eg 7d and 14d.
    Completed unaided except for 5d which I inadvertently saw whilst experimenting with the letters.
    So, **/*****
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr. K.

  9. Cracking light entertainment this morning over a coffee – I echo Mr K in admiring the great variety of clue types. Very smooth surfaces, every clue absolutely fair, nothing arcane, plenty of wit and reasons to smile. What’s not to like?

    Too many clues had ticks afterwards for them all to be listed, but I loved 3d, and thought 26a especially timely.

    1.5 / 4

    Many thanks indeed to the setter and to Mr K.

  10. Wonderful puzzle today with lots to like. Love the kitten with foam on his head.. Rather odd that someone has complained about their neighbour being nude in his own garden – just don’t look if it offends you! Our neighbour of 20 years also has a penchant for being starkers in his garden – only bothers me when he gets his strimmer out but he does at least put goggles on. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the pics. Wordle in 3 but just luck as nothing in the first pass.

        1. Don’t we have them here? Things to tidy edges of your garden, I had one when I did my own gardening.

          1. They certainly exist here. I wasn’t sure if strimmer was, like hoover, a trade name that had become decapitalised and adopted as a catch-all term in the UK. It’s not listed in my North American Oxford English Dictionary. I believe that in the US the device is usually called a “weed whacker”.

            1. Aha, heard of that as well, I suppose as I have one foot in the Brit door and one foot in the American, call it bilingual if you like!

    1. Reminds me of the two old ladies who complained about their nudist neighbour. Police came round and couldn’t see anything from the bedroom window. Ah no, said the ladies, but if you stand on this stool……..

    2. Nude in his garden🤷‍♂️, seems strange to me, but each to his own I suppose, as long as there’s no children as neighbours.

    3. I just remembered that the great William Blake and his missus enjoyed going nude in their garden–at least according to biographers. “Nude in the Garden”: great name for a band!

  11. Great fun, thoroughly enjoyable from first to last. Last in was 26a, a well hidden lurker.
    Good week for me so far, just the dreaded Thursday and a Giovanni to come😒.
    Thx to all

  12. Sheer enjoyment today, so much to like, especially 5d, 9a, 13a, and 16d. (Re 5d: is the principal accent on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th syllable as you pronounce it in the UK?) Great surfaces throughout. Finished much too soon, with thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. ** / ****

    Terrific and true Toughie today, I thought. By the way, the very late posts on yesterday’s (Falcon’s) blog are extremely enlightening about the far-right insurrectionists and other related situations in Canada and the US.

    1. Robert, I can’t vouch for my other countryfolk, but I would put the accent on the fourth syllable if I ever had reason to say it…

      Which syllable do you stress?

      1. I used to stress the 4th syllable until I heard a Greek scholar give the primary stress to the 3rd one, the ‘the’. Which I then ended up adopting. It’s funny that just the other day I was talking about constellations and how they had been created and I pronounced 5d two different ways in doing so. And then, voila! The word appears in one of our cryptics.

    2. Sorry, this is an inside joke but I don’t have Robert’s email.
      One liner in our Miami Herald today:
      “Sure, laugh, but gazpacho police will lead to sangria law.”

  13. I don’t think that I can add much to what Mr K says in his introduction – a super puzzle indeed. I can’t really pick a favourite today, just a pleasure to solve. Thanks to setter and Mr K.
    Wordle in 4 also.

  14. Enjoyable but a little on the tougher side for me. Still, I managed it with a couple of hints and there are plenty of doh moments to brighten the morning coffee. Agree with Mr. K. regarding the surfaces and I especially liked 9a and 16d. My COTD is the clever 3d, which gave me the biggest “doh”.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to Mr. K. for the hints.

    Still wet and muddy in the Marches.

    Wordle in 3.

    1. Saint Sharon wordled in 3 today. I took 4 but am claiming a win because I use harder start words. She’s not buying into it though

  15. Most enjoyable despite the old grey matter having to work hard to get 5d and the deplorable use of ‘eats’ in 10a.
    Top three for me were 9a along with 3&11d and a smile for the Quickie pun.

    Thanks to our setter – hope he pops in to claim this one – and to Mr K for another great review.

  16. Lots of my favourite charades and this puzzle seems to please everybody, have to agree with Mr K with the wide variety of clue types and a **/****.
    Favourite 15a,I realise that Nice is often used to hint on the location but provided an excellent surface with annoyed and the anagram.
    Thanks to setter for a top class solve.

  17. Good Tuesday fun – 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 3d, 8d, and 11d – and the winner is 11d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  18. A top quality puzzle! About average difficultly with great clues, mostly using elegant concision, providing much enjoyment. Too many ticks to pick a fvaourite. 2.5*/4*.

  19. I agree with everyone that this was witty and clever and a sheer delight. Stars by nearly all of the clues, but big ones for 9 & 13a, the latter being clue of the week. It is bucketing down with rain and I have to drive to Royston for my Book Group meeting to talk about The End of The Affair by Graham Greene (I didn’t enjoy it much, too dreary). But at least there will be cake! I am leaving George with instructions to build an Ark as I think we may need one. Huge thanks to the setter and Mr K. I have never seen a cat look so pleased to be bathed!
    PS we have a nudist in our village, now very elderly, a renowned expert on X
    who hit the headlines some 40 years ago when his au pair was sacked for refusing to cook in the nude! It takes all sorts. Friends of ours live next door but sadly so many trees that even standing on a stool in the bedroom you cannot see the garden!

    1. Wouldn’t be my favourite Greene either DG but there’s a rather fine Neil Jordan directed film adaptation of it starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore & Stephen Rea. Well worth catching if you’ve not seen – it pops up occasionally.

      1. Yes, I watched the Jordan film recently and enjoyed it. Top Greene for me remains The Heart of the Matter. Poor Scobie.

    2. sadly? I wouldn’t want to stand on anything to see that
      Reminds me of the quote by David Hockney on W H Auden
      “If that’s his face, imagine his scrotum!”

  20. Needed hints on 9 & 12a but otherwise no real problems, it did take me into *** time though. I was delighted to work out 5d, not a word I use very often ( never). 15a took the longest until the penny dropped. Thanks to all,

  21. A very interesting puzzle today with lots to like particularly 3 down and 5 down. I did smile seeing the word eats in the clue for 10 across knowing the opprobrium that would follow. It would be interesting to know exactly what it is that causes the dislike. It’s just another word. Thanks to the setter today for the food at 10 across and the pot to cook it in at 21 across. Thanks too to Mr Kitty

  22. Enjoyable as nearly always. No obscure words or hints required but thanks for the explanations. I would however point out that we don’t all speak RP. Coming from the SW and Bristle in particular “Rs” r pronounced “arrrrr” not “ah” so the bird in question does not fit with the sound of being brought up. I’m not really bothered but find ths I rarely agree with “sounds like.”
    Thanks all. */****

  23. Tried nerdle the other day and failed ( got in 4 today) the answer was 35-6*5=5, surely that should be 35-(6*5)=5 or am I missing something, I know there are greater minds than I on this site who might explain. My apologies for drifting off the crossword subject.

        1. I have no idea what you’re talking about so this comment might be irrelevant. The convention in mathematics is that multiplication and division take precedence over addition and subtraction, so 35-6*5 = 35-(6*5), not (35-6)*5.

          1. That’s true, Mr K, I’d forgotten about that convention. But I suspect that DG may have checked his maths on his phone calculator. If you input 35-6×5 on my phone calc. the answer you get is 145. Inputting the same on an online calculator gives the correct answer, 5. This one automatically inserts the brackets into the equation as you type. And the moral of the tale: I should get a better, more modern phone!

      1. Brackets Order Division Multiplication Addition Subtraction is the full convention – Solve parts in brackets first then do the powers or order then divisions etc

  24. I concur with all the comments above and also go with 13a as favourite. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  25. I had never heard of the word in 5d which was my last one in. Too wet to go out for a paper today so completed on IPad. Consequently I can now hardly see.very annoying as the IPad has a mind of its own. NW last in. I was tempted by an S for the last letter of 26a but desisted. Favourites 9 13 and 25a and 3d. Thanks setter and Mr K. Wordle in 5.

    1. My iPad is very well behaved on the newspaper app pages and hopeless when solving the Rookie puzzles or The Grauniad puzzles. I’m not going back to solving on paper in any circumstances

  26. I did a lot of this early doors but had to pause for the final few. I know I can’t spell 15a so only pencilled it in and it wasn’t until the penny dropped on 14d that my spelling was corrected.5d was my LOI, it took a while to realise it was an anagram. 19d 11d and 27a joint pole sitters for me. Thanks to Mr K and setter

      1. He was my North, my South, my East and West,
        My working week and my Sunday rest,
        My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
        I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

        1. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
          Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
          Put away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
          For nothing now can ever come to any good.

  27. Lotsa fun here, dead on wavelength. I didn’t know 5d, eventually used an anagram solver, but in retrospect I think I have come across it before. I also needed to look up the spelling for 15a, having spelt it “madam …”, I know it’s wrong, just carelessness. I remember Madame at school pointing it out. She was so funny, she said she took the job in Jamaica because she was looking for her Pranz Sharming, don’t know if she ever found him. So much to like, I thought 3d very clever, but maybe 13a pipped it at the post.
    Thank you setter for the bushels of fun and to Mr. K for the hints and my fave cat pics.

  28. Made things hard for myself by having the wrong letter in 4th spot of 15a, (spelling, DUH!), thus went from 2* to 2.5* time. That messed up others in the SW area too.
    Clues to like include 10a, 26a, 3d, 7d & 20d with winner 3d

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

    NYTimes Wordle was in 3, and the UK version was also 3 … two different words today though. What the heck … ???

      1. Before it switched to the NY Times, I downloaded the whole site from http://www.powerlanguage.co.uk to my desktop using an app called SiteSucker, (I use a Mac), and I use that one to play. The uk answer today was different by one letter and was put together differently.

  29. Excellent Crossword ***/**** 😃 Lots of lovely clues of which perhaps the top three are: 24a, 16d and 17d 👍 Thank you to Mr K and to the compiler

  30. Very nice. Agree thoroughly with comments above and blog, and no problem for me with ‘eats’ as a noun. And now, it is indeed time for eats!

  31. I sailed through the whole west side, but got a bit held up on the East. After looking at the hints, I realised I am just a bit dense today.
    However our day started with a lovely surprise with a visit from a pair of wood storks. They came right up to the patio, and when we ent out to take photos they came even closer. When we went back indoors they stayed there staring into the house for about half an hour. Pictures below. I digress. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K. I suspect we are heading for something a bit tougher tomorrow.

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