DT 29917 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29917

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29917

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. We have a very fine puzzle today, which I am 99% sure was created by regular Tuesday compiler X-Type. Many smiles came out of this solve. I needed the delete key a couple of times after being tempted to enter an answer that seem to fit the definition, only to find later that it didn't fit the checkers. Should have just left those slots blank when I couldn't parse them immediately. 

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    Leaders, the best on hand (3,7)
TOP BANANAS:  An informal word for leaders could also describe the best of some items that might come as a hand 

6a    Break  spell (4)
SNAP:  A double definition. Spell as in a cold spell of weather 

9a    Property with a second TV (5)
ASSET:  Link together A from the clue, the single letter for second, and another word for a TV 

10a   Almost dismiss anger, say, about outrage (9)
SACRILEGE:  Join together all but the last letter (almost) of dismiss or fire, a verb meaning anger or annoy, and the reversal (about) of an abbreviation that can mean "say"   

12a   Proper business ruined, we hear (7)
CORRECT:  An abbreviation for company is followed by letters that sound here (we hear) like a verb meaning ruined

13a   Faith shown by mediocre editor (5)
CREED:  The answer is hidden in (shown by) the remainder of the clue 

15a   Think of one publication in Spain (7)
IMAGINE:  Concatenate the Roman one, an informal name for a type of publication, IN from the clue, and the IVR code for Spain 

17a   The compiler's held in scorn, turning red (7)
CRIMSON:  A pronoun for "the compiler's" from the perspective of the compiler is inserted in (held in) an anagram (turning) of SCORN 

19a   People who don't wash  the backs of their necks? (7)
SCRUFFS:  An informal word for untidy or dirty people is also the back or nape of their necks 

21a   A class act (7)
PERFORM:  A short word meaning "a" or "each" with a school class 

22a   Maybe one in eight gallons ignored by farmer? (5)
ROWER:  A farmer or someone who raises plants minus the single letter for gallons (gallons ignored by …). The answer is one member of a sporting entity known as an eight 

24a   Flowery area, part of America (7)
FLORIDA:  A synonym of flowery with the single letter for area 

27a   Vessel with leak, right one for stew (9)
POTPOURRI:  Cement together a cooking vessel, leak in a big way, the single letter for right, and the Roman one 

28a   Bang on, seeing former partner in front of a court (5)
EXACT:  Fuse together a usual former partner, A from the clue, and the map abbreviation for court 

29a   Shock broadcast for Times (4)
DAYS:  A homophone (broadcast) of shock or stun. The capitalisation of Times is misdirection; the definition is times

30a   New dealer in US not yet met (10)
UNREALISED:  An anagram (new) of DEALER IN US 



1d    Catch Republican wearing listening device (4)
TRAP:  The single letter for Republican inserted in (wearing) a listening device that might be applied to a phone 

2d    Encourage one in charge of meeting to provide transport for young (9)
PUSHCHAIR:  Follow encourage or urge with the person in charge of a meeting 

3d    Following behind, Queen! (5)
AFTER:  Behind on a boat is followed by the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth 

4d    Severe wind either side of Eunice (7)
AUSTERE:  A literary word for the south wind (thank you, BRB) is followed by the letter found on either side of EUNICE. Here's Eunice 

5d    Hermit's a powerless non-believer (7)
ASCETIC:  A from the clue with a non-believer minus the physics symbol for power (powerless

7d    Relative, European, seen in French city (5)
NIECE:  The single letter for European inserted in (seen in) a city on the French Riviera 

8d    Things crossword compilers might assume? (10)
PSEUDONYMS:  A cryptic definition of something assumed by all Telegraph compilers, e.g. X-Type   

11d   Losing head, Dietrich dancing is more irritating (7)
ITCHIER:  An anagram (dancing) of DIETRICH minus its first letter (losing head

14d   Suits could be this long to cover skin with diamonds (10)
PINSTRIPED:  Long or yearn containing (to cover) a verb synonym of skin is followed by the playing card abbreviation for diamonds 

16d   Gather small number will make fire (7)
INFERNO:  Gather or deduce with an abbreviation (small) of number 

18d   Sons outside remove illegal travellers (9)
STOWAWAYS:  Copies of the genealogical abbreviation for son are placed at either end of (outside) a synonym of remove (an illegally-parked car, perhaps) 

20d   For fans, fantastic plant (7)
SAFFRON:  An anagram (fantastic) of FOR FANS 

21d   Supply press release with cycling video (7)
PROVIDE:  The abbreviation for press release with a rotation (cycling) of the letters in VIDEO

23d   Medical Officer leaving hospital is amusing (5)
WITTY:  England's Chief Medical Officer minus the map abbreviation for hospital (leaving hospital) 

25d   Perfect view over lake (5)
IDEAL:  A view or thought is placed before (over, in a down clue) the map abbreviation for lake. There's no lake in this picture, but the view from the end of my road this evening as the sun went down wasn't far off perfect


26d   Boss cut short research (4)
STUD:  All but the last letter (cut short) of research or read 


Thanks to today’s setter. I had a very long list of ticked clues. The biggest smiles for me included 1a, 15a, 17a, 19a, 21a, 3d, 8d, and 21d. Quick pun was great too. If I had to pick a favourite I'd go for the smooth and compact 21a. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  SOLES + URCHIN = SOUL-SEARCHING

107 comments on “DT 29917

  1. Happy 22022022!

    A great puzzle but I am annoyed with myself because I decided to use Mr. G for one so not an unaided finish. Plenty to like with a number of “dohs” along the way. I don’t understand 23d, assuming I have it correct but I can’t see it being anything else given the checkers. 4d was topical despite Franklin having visited since Eunice left. My COTD is 12a but others could equally have qualified.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to Mr. K for the hints, which I will now read with particular reference to 23d. Ok – I now get it. :smile:

    Sunny with showers and a stiff breeze in The Marches.

    Happy Birthday to Rufus.

    Wordle in 3.

  2. Thanks to mr K for the review.

    I see that there is a Nina in honour of Rufus’ birthday today.

  3. I’m afraid I couldn’t get into this puzzle and have to record a DNF,after filling in75% of the clues. I tried Danword but the whole thing becomes pointless if you have to llok up 5or 6 impenetrable clues.unsurpringly, i took a long tme with it and didn’t enjoy the rocess much (6(/1*). Thanks toMr K for the hints and to the compiler for his efforts. It’s not his fault that I’m a bit dense.

  4. A very pleasant solve and I thought 23d most ironic (in that he isn’t!). I hadn’t heard of the wind in 4d my last one in but the cross checkers enabled solution. My COTD was 15a. Thanks to Mr K and the setter.

  5. Started in the SE & thought it would be a breeze but in the event found the west much trickier so it took me just over 2.5* time to finish. The concise clueing could give Ray T a run for his money. Top 3 for me in no particular order were 10&12a plus 23d. I was tempted to select 22a because of the time it took me to figure out a bushel had nowt to do with it.
    Thanks to X-Type & Mr K
    Wordle in 4

  6. I thought this was excellent with a splendid Nina in honour of our nonagenarian.
    4d must have been written very recently and I wondered whether the setter may have been our esteemed editor, though Mr K is pretty certain that it is X-Type. Whoever the setter was many thanks to him and to Mr K for his usual top-notch review.
    My podium consists of 19a, 4d and 18d.

    1. Hi, Gazza. Looks like your feeling about the setter is correct and I was way off (missing the nina didn’t help).

      Still, I did show that a confident attribution to somebody else is a great way to flush out the actual setter :)

  7. Just seen DT’s comment. Needless to say I failed to spot the message despite having tackled the Graun’s birthday tribute puzzle beforehand. I’ve only become really interested in crosswords over the last few years so post solving that one I enjoyed reading all about the man & understanding the relevance of some of the answers.

  8. This really made my day.

    My first negative, LFT.
    My sense of smell is returning.

    I’ve finished a 3* in (for me) 2* time.

    Must go and seek the Nina.
    Not a downer – I never see them, anyway.

    Thanks :-)

  9. First DNF in ages so very disappointed, in fact had 4 left and couldn’t get them even looking at the hints. Kept trying to find a pint in 22a. I’m off shortly to do my monthly volunteer printing stint so couldn’t hang around in case the penny dropped but in all honesty I don’t think it would have done. Let’s hope the printing goes better than the last two months when the b….y printer kept taking several sheets at a time. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the pics which I enjoyed far more than the puzzle. Wordle in 3.

    1. You beat me Mandela, I took four. I shall be very upset when I break my winning streak and have to start again – which is bound to happen eventually. We should get a little star to show our past successes!

      1. I was three too. Weird – first attempt one irreconcilable letter in wrong place. Second try all five letters correct but none in right place. Rearranged them and got it next time!

  10. Great puzzle. Needed the hints make sense of parsing 4d. Favourite was 22a. Thanks to Mr. K and today’s setter.

  11. Nothing special but pleasant enough to gradually work through. Top came out first. 10a unparsed by me. Perhaps there are others also new to 4d wind. Fav 18d. Thank you unconfirmed setter and MrK.

  12. I was waiting for Mr K to publish his hint for 4d and no wonder I didn’t understand the clue. Then I was perplexed reading about the message for Rufus, but looked again and there it was. Thank you, Mr Compiler, for a nicely topical puzzle and the smile at 19a, and to Mr Kitty for his wonderful blog (although for the life of me I cannot understand the significance of the pic at 24a!)

  13. 2.5*/4*. This was a not too difficult, fun puzzle, although I didn’t spot the Nina until I reads Gazza’s comment. Happy 90th Birthday, Rufus!

    I think that the required synonym for leak in 27a is a bit of a stretch but, other than that, this was most enjoyable with 1a, 21a & 8d my podium choices.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  14. Happy 90th Birthday to the wonderful, and much missed, Rufus.

    As well as the Nina in this crossword, there’s a fine tribute puzzle in today’s Graun and quite a difficult one (well it is Elgar’s alter eg IO!) in the FT

  15. Threequarters of this was a breeze, but the bottom left section felt as though it had come from a different puzzle. I enjoyed the headscraching and was very pleased to have completed in reasonable time. 14d was very clever I thought (once the penny dropped) but my favourites were 1a & 8d. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.
    Wordle in 3.

  16. Brilliant crossword, with a terrific tribute to a much-respected and admired compiler. From a long list of potential favourites, 8d came out on top.

    My thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  17. Luckily, in my youth, I worked on the planes named after the 4d wind so I knew that one. Now, pedantry alert, is 20d a plant, or an extract therefrom? Thanks anyway to Setter who forced me to slip a minute over 1* time, and to Mr K. 2*/3*

    1. I frowned at 20d – I wouldn’t generally regard it as being a (or even the) plant, only the name given to that particular variety of plant owing to what is extracted from it.

    2. As i understand it, the answer is extracted from the stamens of a variety of crocus, so I too wondwrwd about that.

      1. Crocus Sativus, common name, the Saffron Crocus
        You can’t puse the stamens fom any crocus!

  18. DNF – a real struggle for me. Although I was very pleased with myself for bunging in (wrongly) ‘motel’ for 9a. It does work rather well, even if incorrect. Just one of those days, I suppose.

    We are grateful that the weather has stabilised a little as we are heading to Stamford Bridge, as the Champions League resumes. My Chelsea versus Lille.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: The Beatles – Back In The U.S.S.R.

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr K.

  19. Sound Tuesday fare, with gems and frowns in equal measure – indeed 9d almost made me grumpy. Hon Mentions to 10a, 19a, 22a and 5d, with COTD to 1a.

    2.5 / 2

    Many thanks to the Setter and to MrK.

    1. Perhaps 9d would have made me grumpy if there was a 9d in the puzzle. I wonder which one irritated you? Surely not 8 or 11?

  20. Somewhat trickier than usual for a Tuesday and, with the acknowledgement of Rufus’s milestone birthday, I would be inclined to go along with Gazza’s theory that this may be a CL production.

    The 23a Medical Officer was ‘lost’ on me but with the three checkers the answer could not be anything else.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 10a, and 8d – and the winner is 1a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

      1. Until I got the checkers the first word that sprang to mind was droll. Imagine that – Professor Sir Christopher Droll.

    1. Took me a while to get 23a, but I got a good chuckle when the penny dropped. Should have made this my favourite clue.

  21. A bit tricky in places methought and well worth the *** rating. Enjoyable though so thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    I shouldn’t have said anything about the noise yesterday. Today the chaps have started the re-surfacing and the noise is worse than ever but at least it’s not a pneumatic drill!

    Many Happy returns to Rufus who is pommette’s favourite setter.

  22. I’m afraid I thought the best thing about this puzzle was the Nintendo.
    Not my cup of tea. Needed far too many hints to have any pleasure .

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K

  23. Tricky little devil, rather more difficult than the usual Tuesday offering. The word for the south wind was new to me in 4d and 14d really stretching it to describe that as a synonym for skin, a poor clue in my opinion.
    Not my most favourite puzzle, just an OK one from me. Nothing outstanding

  24. Thanks for all the feedback so far. Just popping in to say that this was indeed a CL production (apologies to X-Type fans!), and to say “Happy birthday” to Roger Squires.

    1. Many thanks for popping in and laying claim to this excellent puzzle, which was a fitting tribute to one of the grandees of the crosswording world.

    2. Hi, Chris. Apologies for the attribution error. Of course that wouldn’t happen if regular cryptic puzzles were like Toughies and displayed setter 8d :). Thanks for a great puzzle to solve and to blog.

  25. Very late start for me but I certainly enjoyed this one and awarded an almost embarrassing number of ticks. Choosing an outright winner is somewhat impossible although I must agree with Mr K that 21a was quite special.
    Many happy returns to our wonderful Rufus, whom I trust didn’t suffer from the effects of the flooding that occurred in his neck of the woods. I thought perhaps the appearance of the Nina along with clues such as 13a & 6d indicated that this puzzle was penned by our esteemed Mr Ed, but whoever was responsible, many thanks for this Tuesday treat. Edit – I see that CL has just popped in to claim ownership whilst I was typing!
    Thanks also to Mr K for a great review and particularly for the cycling video, including the ‘whoops’ moments at the end!

    1. Almost forgot to say an extra thanks to Mr K for the photo of my two favourite royal ladies – 1a’s indeed.

      1. I’m a little concerned today with the report that HM is cancelling a couple of official duties. I liked it better when they said she just had mild cold symptoms.

        1. Our wonderful Queen will be 96 in two months’ time so I am hoping she is just taking a brief and well-deserved rest to recharge her batteries (Duracell +++, methinks).

          1. Isn’t she wonderful? I assure you that I won’t be here at 96, much less standing on my own two feet, she’s fabulous.

          2. I wholeheartedly agree RD. She is so special – fingers and everything else crossed for her speedy and complete recovery. God bless Ma’am.

  26. Tough today but I got there after a tussle. Of course I put the wrong word in 5d until I eventually got it! I could not parse 4d. Interesting to have two synonyms next to each other both of which caused me a problem. I got into a bit of a stew with 27a. I thought that was smelly dried flowers which one used to get as presents. Last one in was 10a. I began to think I had the vowels in the wrong order in 7d. Many favourites including some of those that eluded me for so long. Top of the tree 18d the. 19 and 22a and 8 14 23 and 26d. Thanks to CL and Mr K.

    1. Hi W squared.

      The vowels were always a stumbling block for me but I was told…

      Spelling sacrilegious as sacRELIGIOUS is indeed sacrilegious.

  27. Happy birthday to Roger Squires on 22222. Also Happy Thinking Day to Girl Guides the World over.

  28. Thought this Tuesday puzzle was a tad harder than recent ones. 2*/4* for me today.
    Favourites today include 9a, 27a, 2d 8d & 16d with winner 2d and 8d a close runner-up.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  29. 22a and 23d too 23d for me. The latter is topical and clever & gets my COTD. (Where has he gone? Seems to have been confined to his hutch recently).
    Never spot Ninas (too busy coping with the clues at my level).
    Thanks to Mr Ed & Mr K.
    Happy birthday to Rufus

    1. I haven’t seen the Nina, either, LROK. Spent ages looking for something but nothing leapt out at all.

  30. I found this harder than the normal Tuesday fare 😳 , especially in the SW I did not like 22a and until the blog did not understand 4d ***/**** Favourites 12a, 15a and 18d plus several more 😃 Thanks as always to Mr K and also to Chris Lancaster

  31. Definitely tricky for a Tuesday. It was a case of so near and yet so far, foiled by a few that just wouldn’t give up their answers without succumbing to the hints. Nobody who hasn’t followed the UK COVID news would be able to understand 23d. I just remember him being hassled in the park by some yobs. COTD definitely 2d for me, as it is a term not used here in the US, but nostalgic for me. Thanks to Messrs. Lancaster and K.

  32. I thought that this was the trickiest but best Tuesday puzzle in a long time, especially the SW corner, but loved every minute of it. Haven’t yet looked for the Nina or read the comments, having spent the morning over here nestled in the arms of Morpheus. Tough picking a podium with so many super clues, but 14d, 10a, and 27a rose to the top fastest for me. Thanks to Mr K and CL, and many happy returns to the great Rufus. 2.5* / 4.5*

    Just found the Nina!

  33. It’s been a while for me, so needed a few hints where I just couldn’t see it even with checkers (14d and 22a last in!) and to check my answers as wasn’t 100per cent sure why I had got something right eg 1a (I’ve never heard that expression used to refer to people or in the plural, just to refer to something great). But very enjoyable. Top spot to 9d. Thanks setter and hinter.
    But I still can’t spot the Nina! Help, anyone?! Where are we looking for it, where does it start?!

  34. Happy Birthday, Rufus – Ninety today
    nice easy(ish) puzzle today Thanks to MR K and Xtype
    that’s a witty one Wilde

  35. Another good crossword. River came within eight feet of the bandstand in the Quarry park this morning…………………..

  36. I typed my comments at about 2pm and when I pressed Post I lost all connections. Now all I can say is that I found this quite tricky, I entered 4 & 5d but couldn’t parse them, so I needed Mr K’s hints.I ticked 15 & 17a and 8,11 & 20d. I didn’t spot the Nina either. I think I shall just crawl away and do the ironing. Thank you Mr Setter.

    1. Rufus was my fave setter, now that he has reached such a momentous milestone, I’m only just beginning to forgive him for retiring. We still love you Rufus.

    2. Phew, Thanks! That is well buried, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to set a crossword when you are also sneaking these extra word plays in. Congrats to the skilled setter. And of course happy ninetieth to Rufus!

    3. Seeing that, it’s just occurred to me: was the Birthday Boy ever known as ‘Rufus’ in The Telegraph? I thought that was just his Guardian 8d.

      It’s interesting to celebrate his birthday with a name that readers would only know from a rival newspaper.

      Thank you for all the comments, and to Mr K for the explanations and Chris Lancaster for marking the occasion. Happy Birthday, Rufus!

      1. He was indeed known as Rufus in the DT – which is why BD used his name in yesterday’s Birthday Banner

  37. I didn’t think this was so tricky until I got to the south, needing help from Mr. K to get going again in the SW. I thought 27a was two words, that 20d wasn’t the plant itself, and dodgy skin in 14d, but suppose it can work. There was a lot of good stuff here, I remember the airplane at 4d. Fave is 24a, of course!
    Thanks to Mr. Lancaster, good fun, and to Mr. K for the pics, I particularly like the pic at 25d, what a view you have!
    Wordle in 4 today.

  38. Most impressed with the Wibmer’s Law video. If that is your thing try this one in the Cuillins.

    1. Great! That DM video is right up my street and I’ve not seen that one before. Incredible what cycle stunts these guys perform, and they all 100% real – no CGI here!

  39. Thank you to our esteemed editor for setting such a good challenge and also of course Mr K – 1a as my favourite

  40. 2/4. Tricky puzzle in parts and Mr Google needed to check the wind in 4d. 12a was my favourite once the homophone became clear. I’ve just paid a plumber to repair a leak in the garage which was caused when a nail penetrated a pipe – about 14 years ago!! Unbelievable! Thanks to Mr Lancaster and Mr K for the usual excellent review.

  41. 8d Happy Birthday Mr Squires … aka Icarus and Dante (yes, I’ve just finished the Guardian puzzle)

  42. An excellent puzzle. A little more difficult than the average Tuesday offering, with good clues providing much enjoyment. I’ve ticked a few, but no stand-out favourite. 3*/4*.

    * Accordibg to the BRB, the 20d answer is a species of crocus and is therefore a plant.

  43. I don’t know about “top bananas” but this was certainly top notch. It would be easier to list which clues I didn’t consider for podium places, but will highlight 21&22a plus 14d. Great blog too.
    Many thanks to Misters Lancaster and K and a Happy Birthday to Rufus, a very fine age.

  44. I struggled in places earlier and ended up with 3 to go before checking the hints. Initially, I wasn’t sure what Nina was all about but what a delightful way to mark such an auspicious birthday for an obviously much respected, retired compiler. Many thanks to Mr K and to Mr Lancaster for the mental work-out! Now off to my ballet class to do a physical work-out!😀

  45. I thought was going to be harder than it turned out to be. SW last in but once I got the splendidly topical, ironic and 23d 23d I was home and dry. COTD obviously. Thanks to CL and Mr. K.

  46. Definite 4 star difficulty for me today. I did eventually complete it, though 4d I never could have parsed myself.
    Always good to be challenged, of course.
    Thanks to CL for this excellent offering, and to Mr K

  47. Not too late to wish a happy birthday to Rufus.
    Saw it in the Vulcan as a special instruction but totally missed the Nina.
    Great crossword.
    Thanks to CL and to Mr K for the review.

  48. Thanks to Rufus, and Happy 90th birthday. Thanks too to Mr K for the review and hints. Glad I read the blog, because I was completely unaware of the Nina. I found most of it quite straightforward, but then came to a grinding halt with about six clues to solve. Needed the hints for 10&22a and 14d. Also couldn’t parse 4&5d. Favourite was 19a. Was 3.5*/3* for me.

  49. 3*/4*…
    liked 1A ” Leaders, the best on hand (3,7) “…..
    and the curious cats in the hint to 26D.

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