DT 29925 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29925

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29925

Hints and tips by Stephen L

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone from South Devon where I actually solved this in daylight, a welcome sign that Spring is on its way.

Our distinguished setter has provided us with another fun, concisely clued puzzle, that I thought a little tougher than of late (and all the better for it) with some cunning misdirection, a brilliant pun being the icing on the cake.  A pleasure to solve.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Brilliant detailed revenue lesson (12)
INCOMPARABLE: Some revenue without its last letter (detailed) and a (biblical) lesson or tale told to indicate a principle

8a        Old lady, impatient, possibly in buff (7)
NANKEEN: An affectionate name for one’s grandmother and a synonym of impatient give a buff coloured cloth

9a        Laugh with time left in job (7)
CHORTLE: Insert the abbreviations for Time and Left into a job or onerous task

11a      The woman’s embracing university incels? (7)
HERMITS:  A third person possessive pronoun (the woman’s) is placed around (embraces)  the abbreviation for a university in America which is so useful to setters.

12a      Heretic cheers over robbery (7)
ATHEIST:  A short word meaning cheers or thank you is reversed (over) and followed by a robbery often associated with things of great value

13a      Teams putting fish on board (5)
SIDES:  A 3-letter fish is inserted into  one of the usual ship prefixes

14a      Bounder we arrested pocketing lingerie? (9)
UNDERWEAR:  A rather good lurker as indicated by the word “pocketing”

16a      Surfaces packed with endless sea doves? (9)
APPEASERS:  The doves here are not birds, but arbitrators or peacekeepers. Place a synonym of surfaces as a verb  around the word sea without its last letter.

Here’s one of my favourite bands of the nineties, the excellent Ocean Colour Scene with a very apposite song.

19a      Queen following top criminal act (5)
CAPER: The royal cypher of our monarch follows a synonym of top as a verb or a noun

21a      Deviation of entitled man after spank (7)
TANGENT: The shortened form of a polite or honourable man follows a synonym of spank or thrash

23a      This compiler rejected game’s uses

EMPLOYS: A first person pronoun (this compiler) is reversed (rejected) and followed by some games in the sense of tactics or ruses

24a      Spoken English accompanying Church hymn (7)
CHORALE:  Start with a synonym of spoken. Add the abbreviation for English. Append the result to the abbreviation for CHurch

25a      Small insect, beginning to nip, bit (7)
SMIDGEN:  I actually used this lovely word in my comment on yesterday’s Logman Toughie. The abbreviation for Small is followed by an annoying (aren’t they all) insect and the initial letter of nip

26a      Arrest nude in frolics being abandoned (12)
UNRESTRAINED:  Our first anagram (almost Beam-like), the indicator being “frolics” and the fodder the preceding three words


1d        One impaled acquiring new cut (7)
IGNORED:  The letter that looks like the number one is followed by a synonym of impaled (think of a bull!) into which is inserted the abbreviation for New

2d        Believes what’s seen at end of programme? (7)
CREDITS:  A synonym of believes in the sense of trusts can also be seen at the end of a TV programme

3d        Tiny, oddly main nucleus spinning (9)
MINUSCULE:  The odd letters of MaIn plus an anagram (spinning) of nucleus

4d        African capital city referencing ants, initially (5)
ACCRA:  A first letters (initially) clue

5d        One more from America, not here (7)
ANOTHER:  A lurker (from), not quite as good as the previous one

6d        Current contained by broken cattle grid (7)
LATTICE:  The conventional symbol for electrical current goes inside (contained by) an anagram (broken) of CATTLE

7d        Eager moving round cities’ haunts (12)
ENTHUSIASTIC:  Anagram (moving round) of the following two words

10d      Break in using crowbar? That’s ingenious! (12)
ENTERPRISING. If you split the solution 5-7 you’ll see the wordplay

15d Remedy sipped, say, for indigestion (9)
DYSPEPSIA:  Anagram (remedy) of the following two words

17d      Sort of bridge game (7)
PONTOON:  Double definition

18d      Perfect on gallery to see film (7)
ACETATE: A synonym of perfect as an adjective is followed by (on in a down clue) a well known London gallery

19d      Legend of trick encasing prone individual (7)
CAPTION: The usual three letter trick goes around (encasing) a synonym of prone in the sense of liable plus the abbreviation for Individual. The legend here is an inscription

20d      Made stink collaring waiter finally having forks (7)
PRONGED: A synonym of smelled or stank that I haven’t heard since I was at school embraces (collaring) the final letter of waiteR

22d      Indulgence of sweetheart in restaurant (5)
TREAT:  A shortened form of an Italian restaurant has this setter’s swEeetheart inserted into it

Quicke Pun  LAWS + TINS + SPACE = Lost in space.

Top notch entertainment Mr T


86 comments on “DT 29925

  1. 3.5*/4.5*. A typical RayT puzzle, which was very enjoyable at the more difficult end of his spectrum for me, particularly in the SE corner.

    I can’t select any clues as being any better than the others – they were all good.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. And of course, best wishes to Kath. Here’s hoping she drops in to comment today.

  2. Reasonably straightforward for a Ray T although I did need to google the definition in 11a. Thanks to he and SL.

  3. I completely agree with SL’s rating and comments: the usual high standard by our fortnightly compiler, perhaps a bit trickier than usual (those ‘sea doves’ held me up at the very end but I 9a’ed when the penny dropped), and a total delight. The long perimeter clues were all very good but my top choices are 12a, 5d, & 25a. Just about any threesome, however, would serve just fine. Thanks to Stephen L and Mr T. *** / ****

    Do y’all remember the old TV Sci-Fi series Lost in Space? The terrific pun led me back there. And my very best to Kath!

    1. Was Lost in Space the one based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or am I confusing it with Forbidden Planet?

      1. Return To The Forbidden Planet – “Shakespeare’s Forgotten Rock And Roll Masterpiece” – was based on The Tempest. Absolutely wonderful show, and I still have my programme from late 1990 to hand.

  4. What a ‘ray’ of sunshine on a wet and dismal Thursday!
    Like Jonners, I had to refer to Mr G for the characters in 11a – couldn’t find them in the BRB which is unusual for our setter.
    Can’t select just one favourite, brilliance throughout as usual.

    Devotions to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review. Big shout-out to dear Kath in the hope that she pops in today.

    1. They appeared in my dictionary in the singular but not plural, threw me off a bit.

  5. I also struggled with 11a, even though I had seen the definition somewhere before. My problem was trying to shoehorn the wrong university into the answer!
    Tricky in parts but most enjoyable.

  6. The dream team of setters were at work today. ProXimal on Toughie duty and RayT in the back page slot. Both on the right side of toughness with plenty to amuse this solver. 1 across and 1 down were my last two in and both raised a smile. Of to see Daniel Lismore this evening. Should be interesting. Thanks to StephenL and RayT

    1. Looks like an interesting bloke – or should I be a bit more woke or gender fluid?

  7. What a terrific puzzle to cheer up the dampest of soggy Shropshire mornings. Like others, I cannot pick any particular clue as a favourite as they were all so beautifully and concisely put together. So I shall pick the Quickie pun for my top spot.

    My thanks to Mr T for the challenge and to SL.

  8. I really enjoyed todays puzzle with its challenging clues and going for a ***/****,11a was last in, incel was new to me, not in Chambers, but I rememgered crossword lands favourite univercity and guessed the definition.
    Like RD I found it difficult to pick favourites so thanks setter and SL for filling in a dreary day.

  9. Mostly enjoyably doable except for NW where I got myself into a pickle by going for wrong cut in 1d which threw everything around it until the penny dropped. Not sure about 11a or 18d and not keen on 12a thanks or 22d abbreviation. Favs 1a, 14a and 16a. TVM RayT and StephenL. Pronunciation of Quickie pun made me 9a (apologies RC!).

  10. Just above average Ray T for me but absorbing and fun. The definition for 11a was new but remembering that university isn’t just “u” helped me get there without too much trouble.
    16a my COTD but as others have said it could be any one of a number.
    Thanks to Messers T & L for the welcome diversion from man’s inhumanity to man.
    Brilliant DT letter today saying the What Three Words location of the UN HQ should be Hopeless/Useless/Toothless.

  11. It’s been a while since I completed a puzzle early enough to comment. I enjoyed this, though struggled in a couple of places. Many thanks to the setter and Stephen L.

    Can someone please tell me what’s happened to Kath?

    1. Hi Expat Chris
      Kath has been ill but happily is well on the way back to full fitness. She usually pops by on Thursday.

    2. Chris, so nice to see you back again, it’s been a long time. Are you still in Virginia? Welcome back!

    3. Hello, nice to “see” you and thanks for asking then I can answer for myself.
      In the middle of May completely out of nowhere I had a brain haemorrhage. I’m OK – and was very lucky – could have been much worse but it did a load of no good to my head – oh dear!! The thing that really gets me is that I’m not allowed to drive – I’ve had my own car since I was seventeen and I feel as if I’ve lost my freedom – I hate it!!! Grrrr

      1. Hello, Kath! Good to “see” you, too. Hang in there, girl. Time is a great healer for both body and mind.

      2. Don’t worry Kath,
        I’ve never driven in my life but always been free.

          1. Cycling and driving around the Arc de Triomphe was an experience I am not keen to repeat, but they are mild-mannered and laid back drivers compared to the Italians. Well the Roman and Turinese ones I have encountered.

          2. Im not allowed to srive either, since my stroke mainly affected the visual cortex Kath
            I was supposed t have a telephone appointment today with an opthalmic specialst from the JR, t discuss a series of tests they had done to assess my field of vision. They sent a reminder and then nobody phoned
            . GRR from me too.

            1. I think you are both doing very well and long may it continue. Good luck to anyone else of our crew who are suffering. I’m just happy to wake up in the morning, everything else is a bonus after that.

      3. Not being able to drive and losing my independence has been the hardest part of old age, but you get used to it and adjust.

  12. A super puzzle & quite tricky in places. I had to pore back through it as I got the incorrect message at the conclusion but quickly found my error – I’d misspelled, & not for the first time, 3d despite it being mostly an anagram as I always think the 2nd vowel should be an I & not a U. Last in was 11a where I was familiar with the definition but took an embarrassingly long time to twig the uni. We were spoilt for choice for pick of the clues – 1,12&14a along with 5,10&15d the standouts for me.
    Thanks to RT & SL – not that I’m complaining & it may be my imagination but is a pic of an attractive scantily clad young woman becoming as much a fixture of your reviews as cats on a Tuesday.
    Wordle in 4

    1. Hi Huntsman
      As Mr T’s puzzles invariably contain some innuendo or references to various items of underwear it affords me the opportunity to post such pictures. Always tasteful I hope.

      1. Don’t stop doing it. I’m sure we are all well adjusted adults, any snowflakes amongst us will have to learn to cope.

    2. Don’t know if it helps, Huntsman, but I try to remember that something minuscule is minute.

      1. Even the online dictionaries that have pronunciation apps pronounce it Min iss cule
        This from Chambers;
        minuscule, miniscule
        Minuscule is originally a technical word that has developed a more general meaning. The grammar has also changed, because the word was originally a noun and is now familiar as an adjective, meaning ‘very small’. This makes it awkward in use:•

        • She struggled with a minuscule portion of chicken.

        • His wide chest tapers to a minuscule waist and spindly useless legs.

        For this reason, and because the word is not often marked by a distinct pronunciation, it is sometimes written as miniscule, under the influence of the productive prefix mini-:•

        • She showed him a photograph album, with herself by a fjord in a miniscule bikini.

        However, this spelling is not yet widely accepted.

        RECOMMENDATION: use minuscule in more formal writing and print; be cautious about using miniscule, although this form is likely to win in the end.

    3. Hi H.

      If it helps, 3d is a lower case letter whereas *aj******* is an upper case one (we get the word ‘major’ from the first five letters *aj**).

      The first five letters in the answer is a word and we get ****te and ****tiae (meaning ‘small’) from it too.

      Dictionaries allow the second vowel being an i through constant misuse.

      1. I was convinced it was an anagram but I have always spelt it with an I as the fourth letter and that wouldn’t work. Googled and found I have always spelt it incorrectly….

      2. Just checking my answers and discovered I’m guilty of the same mis-spelling! But it’s nice to be in such good company!

        1. It’s one of the top five misspelled words along with:


  13. Like Jonners, I found this Ray T production reasonably straightforward, and the usual enjoyment, with no need for the usual Thursday copious white space on my printed sheet – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 16a, and 10d – and the winner is 16a.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L and Thursday thoughts for Kath.

  14. A very satisfying ‘slow food’ solve – answers didn’t come that quickly, needing some chewing on, but every time I thought I was slowing to a stop, another answer would come and perfectly fit the once-obscure-now-clear word play. A little bit of resorting to Google for word checks (inc 8a) and synonym inspiration but no hints needed – which is not to say I am not indebted to this blog because I never would have been able to solve this when I started (eg to know the fish in 13a!). Many thanks to setter for a delicious 22d of a puzzle.

  15. A truly absorbing puzzle which was highly enjoyable (5(/5*). And with joust tje rigjt lebel of challebnge. I did have to look up the meaning of incel and thoight the answer to 11a was abit of an odd synonym. Thsnks to SL for the hints and to Ray T for a great crossword. I liked 10d, 1d and 25a but most of the clues were good.

  16. Another fine Kathday puzzle – thanks to Mr T and Mr S.
    My ticks went to 14a, 1d and 10d.

  17. Reeling! I’m reeling, I tell you! I found this trickier than the trickiest. Enjoyable, but I needed the intervention of Stephen L for a couple (otherwise I would still be reeling into next week). I can never remember that blooming buff coloured cloth.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Steely Dan – Reelin’ In The Years

    Thanks to Ray T, Stephen L, and a cheery wave to The Lovely Kath

  18. Well, yet again considering I usually struggle with Ray T. puzzles, this one wasn’t too bad. Definitely had a half dozen or so clues that took me to 3* time but enjoyment was 4*
    Favourites today include 1a, 9a (nice word!), 19a, 25a (another word not heard often these days), & 10d.
    I remembered 8a from a few puzzles back.

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L

  19. Top fare from Ray T as per usual.
    Completed it with the wrong vowel in 3 down, schoolboy error.
    Thanks to setter and to blogger.


  20. Lovely Thursday, I seem to have got my Mojo back today or it could be the 1a Mr T. The outer borders were all superlative in tone and definition. I had a good 9a at the usual Ray T lingerie. the only thing I wasn’t partial to was the 11a definition. I saw a bit on the news recently, about their ridiculous views.
    Thanks to Stephen L for the help over the line 1a ended fable for quite a while and that fabric needed all the checkers before I recalled it.
    Thanks to Ray T and best wishes to Kath.

  21. Late today as I had to go into Cambridge for a vivid test before having a procedure on Sunday. Happy weekend! Looks as though I can only eat white bread, potatoes and chicken. How ever, I cannot possibly complain when you see what awful suffering is going on. Very clever crossword, I loved the well concealer lurker (I was trying to build in BRA) and I love the word at 8a which babies do best of all.
    Love to Kath and thanks to the setter and StevenL. Others seem to be having a wet miserable day, it is very springlike here.

      1. When Grandad Emm was a butcher a Chicken was a rare pricey treat. nowadays it is cheap and cheerful but if you want to recapture the flavour of a good chicken you ought to pay a bit more for it.

  22. On glancing at 1a and 1d I thought this was going to be a drawn-out affair, so instead went to 7d, then tackled AC from the SW, and everything then fell into place with delightful ease. What a super crossword! I could put a host of clues up for awards but will limit Hon. Mentions to 1d, 10d, 1a and 14a, with COTD to 8a.

    2 / 3.5

    Many thanks to Mr T and to StevenL

  23. Very nice puzzle, good challenge for a Thursday, **/****. I’ll plump for the crowbar joke today!

  24. Excellent! The usual elegantly concise clues provided a good challenge and much enjoyment. All the clues were top quality, so impossible to isolate a favourite. 3.5*/4.5*.

  25. Have to put this down as a DNF as I needed 4 hints to complete it, I always struggle with a RayT so it’s not too bad.( who am I kidding I struggle most days😂). Better tone down the pictures of scantily dressed young ladies, some of us are getting on a bit and it might tip us over the edge. Thanks to all.

  26. Very typical Ray T puzzle but def on the kinder end of the scale. I really enjoyed battling with this one which wasn’t easy but apart from 8a all good. Had to look up 8a (the wordplay was good but the word unusual).
    Give me a Ray T any day over yesterdays setter, well perhaps not so much when he is feeling mean!
    Whatever I enjoyed todays immensely.
    Thx to all

  27. I’ve got a busy day today and knew from the start I’d need a lot of e-help with word search and hints from StephenL. I did pretty well until the SE corner, I was determined 25a was soupçon so that threw me off, it didn’t make sense but couldn’t get it out of my head. Lots to like here, the “buff” material is a gift, as is the uni at 11a. My fave was the crowbar at 10d.
    Thanks to RayT and StephenL for the morning’s entertainment. Wordle in 4.
    Looking forward to Kath’s joining us!

  28. 3.5/4. Another cracking Thursday puzzle with enough head scratching moments to add to the enjoyment. Thanks to all.

  29. Definitely on the tricky side today. Would never have thought of 1d = cut. And sadly I didn’t know the buff word, focusing on chamois for a while. Clearly I don’t know how to spell minuscule. We could seriously use some talented 16a right now, but that is assuming someone would actually listen to reason. COTD for me was 10d. Thanks to Ray T for challenging but fair puzzle today, and to StephenL for helping to finish.

  30. Nice Thursday fare 😃 ***/*** particularly the Quickie phrase👍 Favourites 25a and 10d 🤗 Just a couple of observations, I would have filled in the answer to 11a and swiftly moved on if the last word had not been included, a word new to me and one that I couldn’t connect to the answer 🤔 also being a bit of a “bird man” (the photo at 14a excepted) in the clue to 16a the reference to sea doves had me a trifle over excited as they refer to the Little Auk (alle alle) or Dovekie so spent quite a time trying to fit them into the answer 😳( There’s nowt as queer as folk!) Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L

  31. A workmanlike progress to an unaided conclusion.
    But stalled several times until pennies dropped eg 15d
    1a was one of many brilliant constructions.
    So, ****/*****
    Many thanks, indeed, RayT and thanks Stephen L.

  32. I always find RayT puzzles a challenge and this was no exception….favourite was 1a, so elegant!

  33. Hello everyone,
    I thought this one was tricky – I’ve never heard of the letters in 11a and nor are they in my BRB even though it’s very old – oh well . . .
    I love the 9a ‘laugh’ – my younger Lamb and her very best friend used the word all the time when they were at school.
    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.
    As usual, too, thanks to everyone who cheers up my alternate Thursday, just it did for my several years of being the alternate ‘hinty’ person – oh dear – how much I miss it. :cry:

    1. Lovely to hear from you Kath. It wouldn’t be a Thursday without thinking of you and you are coming on leaps and bounds to complete today’s puzzle. Continue to drop in because we miss your daily comments.

    2. With the greatest of respect to Stephen, you’ll always be known as our Thursday hinty person, Kath, so keep battling on and who knows – you could be back chastising us for having multiple favourites before long!

  34. One negative comment, though – I didn’t like 11a….incels are involuntary celibates, so the opposite of the answer in that regard…

    1. It’s not a word I’ve ever come across and the only definition I could find is as you describe and it doesn’t quite work for me. But it was the only slightly dodgy clue amongst many good ones!

  35. Evening all. My thanks to StephelL for the review and to everybody else for your comments. Glad that most people enjoyed it, and best wishes to Kath, of course.


    1. I rarely finish one of your puzzles but always enjoy the challenge, nice of you to pop in I know everybody appreciates that.

    2. Good to hear from you as usual, Mr T. Now then, about these incels, where on earth did you dig them up from? According to my googling, they’re a rather different fish to hermits!

      1. Indeed. According to my research these incels are an online subculture of mostly males who can’t pull and blame everyone else for their plight. Sound like a bunch of nutters to me!

        1. Short for ‘Involuntary celibates’.

          The guy in Plymouth last year was one.

          Grim stuff.

  36. Didn’t know the Incels either but guessed from the wordplay.
    The anagrams gave me a comfortable foothold and progressed well throughout the crossword.
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL.
    Nice to see Expat Chris.

  37. Many thanks Mr T for dropping in. I’m beginning to get to grips with your puzzles! Just had 3/4 that caused some head-scratching. Thanks also to Stephen L. Lovely to hear from Kath too.

  38. A very fine puzzle, thanks Mr T! Many good clues but 10d made me 9a, so that’s my clue of the day. Thanks to Stephen L for the clues.

  39. Very enjoyable solve made all the more satisfying knowing it was a Ray T, even if it was a relatively mild one for him.

    Thanks to all.

  40. I thought I was having a bad day as I struggled with this and had a dnf on the toughie until I replied to Kath’s and Chiscross’ replies at 11 and realised that there are no bad days if you get to see them, some are just not quite as good as others. Favourite was 16a, history should be a salutary lesson to all of them. Thanks to Rayt and SL. Note to Kath my predictive text is still coming up with your name after ‘Rayt and’.

  41. To be honest I think this compiler should be confined to the Toughie section where he belongs. For example:
    Hermits may well be celebate but why involuntary?
    Ide is a fish familiar only with crossword experts.
    Why is gent an ‘entitled’ man?
    Ploys as games? Apt is prone?
    Trat I guess is Trattoria.
    I appreciate that all you puzzling experts adore this kind of advanced challenge but for the average/struggling puzzler like myself this level of obscurity is really frustrating. Thanks for the hints and tips which are always very helpful.

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