DT 29930 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29930

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29930

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

One of our key markers for the changing of the seasons is the departure of the  bar-tailed godwits from our estuary for the long flight to their breeding grounds in Alaska. Last week we walked past the researcher who is here to observe and record this departure and he told us that the previous evening the first seven birds had left. Bon voyage godwits, may you have a safe journey and return to us with your newly raised family next spring.

We thought this puzzle felt like Jay at his sparkling best.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     What Jack Sprat’s wife might do for rabbit? (4,3,3)
CHEW THE FAT : The wordplay alludes to the dietary preferences of the fictional Sprat family.

6a     Teeth must be fixed in these cements (4)
GUMS : We need the anatomical structures where teeth may be found.

10a     Extremely powerful tradition at heart (5)
ULTRA : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

11a     Storms revealed source of rust in sculptures (9)
OUTBURSTS : A three letter word meaning revealed, then the first letter of rust is included in sculptures of heads and shoulders.

12a     Traditional form since using regulars (7)
CLASSIC : A form or group of students and then the second and fourth letters of since.

13a     Carbon before new age not related (7)
COGNATE : The chemical symbol for carbon and an anagram (new) of AGE NOT.

14a     Unstable structure had of course to be rebuilt with son (5,2,5)
HOUSE OF CARDS : An anagram (to be rebuilt) of HAD OF COURSE plus S(on).

18a     Equine service provider extremely involved in lean fit (6,6)
LIVERY STABLE : A lean or tilt contains a synonym for extremely and then fit or competent.

21a     Boss must be short, employing one Republican beast with a lot of neck (7)
GIRAFFE : A slang word for a boss without its last letter contains Roman numeral one and R(epbublican).

23a     Elaborate European currency cut by vote (7)
EXPOUND : E(uropean) and the UK currency unit surround the letter used to mark a ballot paper.

24a     Bare all in dancing? Not this dancer (9)
BALLERINA : An anagram (dancing) of BARE ALL IN.

25a     Provoke complaints, lacking boundaries (5)
ROUSE : Remove the first and last letters from complaints or whinges.

26a     Relief obtained from overseas earnings (4)
EASE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

27a     Attractive daughter capable of winning votes (10)
DELECTABLE : The abbreviation for daughter and a word describing a suitable candidate.


1d     Critical situation could be credit, with meal lacking starter … (6)
CRUNCH : CR(edit) and a middle of the day meal lacking its first letter.

2d     … more seconds giving additional charges (6)
EXTRAS : Another word for more and then S(econds).

3d     Completely changed form of ID for emigrants (14)

4d     Drives out to see trains using oxygen for energy (9)
EXORCISES : Start with trains or works out in the gym and substitute one of its E(nergy)’s with the chemical symbol for oxygen.

5d     Room with American — one who doesn’t drink in charge (5)
ATTIC : The single letter abbreviation for American, then the two letters for a non-drinker and the two letter abbreviation for in charge.

7d     What comes after flight? (8)
UPSTAIRS : This flight does not involve aircraft. It is an architectural feature.

8d     Tension meaning to cover unique selling point briefly (8)
SUSPENSE : A word for meaning or understanding includes the estate agents’ shorthand for unique selling point.

9d     Alcohol providing morale in theatre? (8,6)
SURGICAL SPIRIT : You would not expect to find thespians in this theatre.

15d     Usually working, say, with maturity (2,7)
ON AVERAGE : String together the two letter ‘working’, say or state, and then maturity or advanced years.

16d     Suitable large island to the north protected by the Spanish and the French (8)
ELIGIBLE : A synonym for large and I(sland) are reversed (to the North) and bracketed by the Spanish and French definite articles.

17d     Generally small item of clothing (8)
OVERALLS : A 4,3 phrase meaning generally and then S(mall).

19d     Area of housing problem raised in advance (6)
SUBURB : The problem mentioned by Hamlet in his famous soliloquy is reversed inside an advance payment.

20d     Head off on getting stick (6)
ADHERE : An anagram (off) of HEAD and on or concerning.

22d     Best bits of Portuguese literature (5)
ELITE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

The first chuckle came with 1a. It set the tone for a most enjoyable crossword.

Quickie pun    Havana    +    stay    =    Have a nice day

54 comments on “DT 29930

  1. 2*/5*. A brilliant puzzle, topped off with a great Quickie pun.

    I was a bit worried at first about where 1a might be going but it turned out OK. :wink:

    3d is a lovely word which I haven’t come across for quite a while, but I couldn’t possibly begin to select a favourite from such a good selection of clues.

    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  2. Very enjoyable.
    3d a new word but was just about obtainable from the wordplay and checkers, though confirmation was needed.
    Liked 1a&d and thought 10a and 20d were simple but clever in their own ways.
    Many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks

  3. Very imaginative cluing today with some excellent surfaces.
    Liked 1a,14a and favourite 9d.
    Wanted to put Landings for 7d until I parsed 6a.
    Thankes to 2K’S for the pics and our setter, going for a **/****.
    The quickie pun did not work for me!

    1. I don’t think that the puns are meant to be exact homophones but more cringe worthy jokes that play on the similarities of the sounds. As such the setter should be given a degree of artistic license, I thought today’s fitted the bill perfectly.

    2. IMHO some setters are better punsters than others and I consider that Jay is somewhere in the ‘middle of the pack.’

  4. A bit harder than of late at **/*** with some head scratching at 18a although that one did end up being my COTD. The anagrams as ever helped to supply adequate cross checkers. With thanks to the 2K’s and the setter.

  5. Terrific crossword, last two in were 13a and 7d, which is daft because I really should have figured out 7d earlier, which would have given me enough to crack 13a, which I ‘kind of’ knew, but had forgotten the meaning.

    Awaiting the arrival today, of all the bits and pieces to repair and replace the fencing that got demolished in the recent storms.
    Me, five years ago, “We don’t need a gardener. I can do it all myself!”
    Me, today, “Oh Heavens! Why did I say that?”

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks. Godspeed to the godwits!

  6. Absolutely cracking puzzle, not overly challenging, but nonetheless one of the best backpagers in quite a while.

    A few odd surface reads, but every clue eminently fair, plenty of red herrings but no arcane knowledge required. An admirably small number of anagrams (including the excellent 3d) allowed for a good range of other clue types; really enjoyed the clever lurkers. Hon Mentions to 1a, 18a, 4d, 9d, 15d; COTD to 11a (but to be fair almost any of a dozen could be an HM or COTD in my view).

    2 / 4.5

    Many thanks indeed to the Setter, and to the 2Ks.

    1. I also thought there were a couple of unusual surface reads, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
      Too many good clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to our setter and the Kiwis.

  7. A very enjoyable challenge from Mr Wednesday continuing, for me, to have a trace of his Toughie alter ego – 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 4d, 8d, and 16d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  8. Agree with RD that 3d is a lovely word, actually I’m also quite partial to 27a.
    A most enjoyable solve today – hope we get the setter popping in at some point to take a bow.

    Many thanks to him and also to our 2Ks for the review and the wildlife report. I do hope those Godwits have a safe journey back to Alaska.

    1. I have an even better book to recommend to you today – The Dictionary of Lost Words” by Pip Williams.

      It is definitely one for lovers of words and dictionaries, being a blend of fiction and the history of the making of the first Oxford English Dictionary. However, as I said to my friend when I lent it to her (she enjoyed it very much too), like the television does these days, I have to warn you that it does contain a small amount of language and scenes which some readers may find offensive/upsetting, although not enough to put you off reading to the end

          1. I’m about to finish the 5th volume, London Rules, of that extraordinary Mick Herron series, Slough House. Nothing else like it on God’s Earth. I’ve heard great things about The Word Detective.

            1. Thanks I’ll give that a go. I’m reading Her Last Request at the moment which I’m enjoying. Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s – will give it a go in the early hours.

      1. Thanks CS and to Cornwall Library Service. Now reserved.
        Thanks also to the B D clan and to Jay for so much entertainment over the years.

  9. Needed the hints for a couple to help me across the line but, otherwise, a very enjoyable puzzle. The tone was set by 1a, which caused a large grin then there came a steady solve. Not straightforward by any means but all was gettable with a bit of head scratching. I liked 3d because it’s such a great word and 11a because it had me trying to use “statues” in various ways. My COTD has to be the aforementioned 1a.

    Many thanks to Jay for the fun and to the 2Ks for the hints.

    Overcast with a chilly breeze in The Marches.

    Terrific Quickie pun!

  10. A DNF for me as I couldn’t unravel the clues in the NW corner. Thanks to the Kiwis for help with those. There were some good clues. I particularly liked 18a 27a and 3d
    many thanks to the setter.

  11. For a rather tricky and fragmented puzzle whose surface reading was often poor. Needed the hints to explain 19d and 20d but I did like 27a. Not been a great week so far with the exception of yesterdays, from Sunday onwards not ones that I particularly enjoyed.
    Thx for the hints

  12. Very enjoyable with 3D a word I had forgotten and not seen in a crossword before. It’s really nice when it goes like this – a steady solve with lots of aha moments. Thanks kiwis too.

  13. A most enjoyable start to the day’s solving. Another day when the same word appears in both backpager and Toughie in almost the same place

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks – my friend and I spent a few moments on our walk listening to a very cheerful skylark

  14. This was a pleasant enough enigma but with a couple of hmms – 6a and 9d (wonder what Kath thinks of that one?!). 18a was a bung-in as I failed to twig lean. Two Favs were 1a and 7d when the penny finally dropped! Many thanks Jay and 2Ks.

  15. Great fun – especially when the penny dropped on the pun
    Thanks Jay and 2Ks for the blog

  16. Did everyone else know the meaning of 13a? New to me. Thanks Jay. Thanks 2Ks. Had fun watching the sanderlings dodging the waves this morning.

    1. I’ve only encountered 13a in etymology contexts, like “glamour and grammar are cognates” — meaning they have both evolved over time from the same original word.

      1. One of my subsidiary subjects at university was Social Anthropology and I dimly recalled 13a from then and dug it out of the dust and fluff at tje back of what passes for my brain.

  17. Found this Wednesday offering a straightforward solve with a couple of tricky ones thrown in. For me today 2.5*/4*
    Favourites include 1a, 23a, 4d, 7d & 8d with a winner very hard to pick but for the chuckle included I pick 1a, but they were all great.
    Lots of misdirection in this one.
    Both 27a and 7d were clever.
    Thanks for the fun solve today.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2 Kiwis for their comments.

  18. Indeed, as the Kiwis say, a sparkling puzzle: Jay at his most sublime. Having just last night had occasion to refer to the great American Nobel Laureate Willliam Faulkner, I was delighted to see one of his favourite epithets at 3d, certainly my COTD. Hard to pick favourites among so many brilliant choices, I’ll settle for 1a, 12a, 13a,4d, 8d, & 5d. Thanks to the Kiwis and Jay. ** / *****

    1. American Nobel Lierature Laureate Willliam Faulkner is in good company Robert

  19. Very enjoyable puzzle 😃 ***/**** Too many favourites to list but 27a, 1 & 7d are amongst them 🤗 Thanks to the 2 x Ks and to Jay 👍 Nice to hear that Bar-tailed Godwits are beginning to start their journey northward 🤞Bon Chance

  20. I had to dig a bit deep for a couple and even needed a hint or two, I bunged in 19d and never would have thought about Hamlet’s problem but for the 2K’s hint.
    I too liked 3d and 27a and 13d is a word that Stephen Fry is fond of using. In the collection of his newspaper columns – He wrote regularly for the Telegraph amongst others.
    In Paperweight, he lays claim to using f@!% and its many cognates eighteen times in three minutes in a live TV broadcast and speculates that this may be a record.
    in 16d I did consider whether GIBraltar may be the large island but as it is neither that large nor an island I soon came to my senses and turned BIG to the North.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s. Bon voyage to the Godwits we await news of their return.

  21. The last two crosswords have broken my spell of non finishers. Looking through the hints I wondered how I had managed some of them ,as I hadn’t parsed them correctly, I’ll put them down as bung ins. I too thought 3d was a great word, sounds like something from a doctor who sketch. And as for 27a the word describes itself. If this is a Jay offering he’s back on my Xmas card list. Thanks to all.

  22. I’ve been reading about godwits and looking at my world atlas. New Zealand to Alaska is an epic journey and in 2020 a godwit flew from Alaska to NZ non-stop – 7600miles and a record for avian non-stop flight! I assume they travel directly over the Pacific Ocean? Aren’t birds fantastic creatures!

    1. Going north they have a break at various places around the Korean and Chinese coasts but the return trip south is direct and non-stop, A truly epic feat.

      1. FWIW, sailing across the Pacific, a number of migratory birds have rested on our guardrails for a breather (water and possibly some food). Looking at the piccies, these bar tailed godwits have been among them.

  23. Morning all.
    Seems most people agree with us on this one. Great fun to solve and blog. Just love that 3d word.

    1. Your hints are very good although thankfully I didn’t need them. I thought the Toughie quite good today and I think it’s only the third one I have ever attempted and finished!

  24. Quite a challenge, so a *** difficulty for me – 9a as a wonderful clue as is 6a

  25. A few slightly strange surfaces today, but another strong back-pager. Quite easy too, */***.

  26. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle and had some laughs along the way. So many good clues and though I am familiar with the word for 3d it was good to note that the word is still around and not disappeared into the ether. Many thanks to Jay and the Kiwis. Lovely to hear about the Godwits and what an amazing journey! Wishing them a safe return.

  27. Needed too many hints to finish, so really as DNF for me. 3d was a new word for me, and 8 just couldn’t make anything out of this anagram. Don’t know estate agents shorthand in 8d. But was quite happy with my efforts for rest, so enjoyed overall. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

    1. USP is not confined to estate agents. it’s a common place term in sales / marketing.

  28. Oh dear! Oh dear! Yet again it’s taken me far too long to get on Jay’s wavelength. I got there in the end without recourse to hints or electronic help and each clue once solved, or guessed, and parsed left me wondering why I didn’t get straight away, the genius of the setter I suppose. One day, one day! COTD 3d, great word. Thanks to Jay and 2K’s.

  29. Very late on today, another doctor’s appointment, then a friend came to cut my hair, then my A/C started dripping water, and so on, made for a very late day and erratic solving. I do enjoy Jay, I did need help in the NE to get going again. Fave was 3d, as a devotee of Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes for untold years, it was very familiar to me. I bunged in 18a, what else could it be?
    Thanks to Jay for the fun, and 2Kiwis for the hint to get me going again and unravelling a few. Wordle in 5.

  30. Not top drawer Jay for me but of course still very enjoyable. A pretty straightforward completion in just over ** time with no parsing issues. Off to Hudson’s Toughie if the eyelids hold out.
    Thanks all.

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