DT 29937 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29937

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29937

Hints and tips by Stephen L

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from a bright and sunny South Devon where there’s definitely a Spring like feel in the air. Today our esteemed setter has given us a puzzle to hopefully put a spring in the steps of all. Nothing particularly new in his repertoire, just the usual concise clueing and witty surfaces with a touch of innuendo. I enjoyed it a lot though it’s very much at the straightforward end of his spectrum.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a        Agreeable rustic type trapping Labour’s leader (8)
PLEASANT:  An agricultural labourer surrounds (trapping) the initial letter of Labour.

9a        Democrat with more eccentric ramble (6)
DODDER:  The abbreviation for Democrat and a comparative adjective meaning more eccentric or stranger.

10a      Student wanting overmuch training initially? (4)
SWOT:  A typical Mr T first letters (initially) clue.

11a      Spreading glue inside frameworks (10)
GUIDELINES:  Anagram (spreading) of the following two words

12a      Worst gambler? (6)
BETTER: Double definition, the first a verb the second a noun. Here’s Supertramp.

14a      Entitled lie with bilge broadcast (8)
ELIGIBLE:  Anagram (broadcast) of LIE and BILGE

15a      Covering of short dress giving flash (6)
STROBE:  Start with the outside letters (covering) of ShorT. Add a dress.

17a      Church officer in charge describing cross? (6)
CELTIC:  Three abbreviations needed here. One for the Church of England, one for an army officer and one for In Charge. The solution is a type of cross.

20a      Bottle from ship’s crew to persevere (8)
SCREWTOP:  Hidden in the clue as indicated by the word FROM.

22a      Beer keeps radius more extensive (6)
LARGER: A refreshing beer goes around (keeps) the abbreviation for Radius.

23a      Brains in cranium, as term indicates (10)
MASTERMIND:  A (very good) lurker. The word IN indicates thus. Below is the famous chair.

24a      Submissive male with surprised expression (4)
MEEK:  The abbreviation for Male and an expression of surprise or mild shock

25a      Awards Globe followed by shocks (6)
OSCARS:  Append a synonym of shocks (in the sense of traumatizes) to the letter that looks like a globe

26a      It delays going abroad regularly (8)
STEADILY:  Anagram (going abroad) of the previous two words….interesting indicator.


1d        Perfect female out of control (8)
FLAWLESS:  The abbreviation for Female and a word meaning out of control, not confirming to rules.….think a certain Russian

2d        Queen inclined to be fascinated (4)
RAPT:  The Latin abbreviation for queen and a word meaning inclined or liable to.

3d        Ultimately, dead nettle could create risk. (6)
DANGER:  The final (ultimately) letter of deaD plus a synonym of nettle in the sense of irritate.

4d        A dodgy club admitting the man’s tacky (8)
ADHESIVE: A from the clue, and an old fashioned word for an unpleasant club contain the pronoun for the man plus the S.

5d        Doctor is trained purchasing minute supply (10)

ADMINISTER: Anagram (doctor) of the following two words plus (purchasing) the abbreviation for Minute

6d        Cancel physical, taking exercise (6)
REPEAL:  A synonym of physical in the sense of material surrounds (taking) the usual two-letter exercise

8d        Piglet, finally greased, sweated (6)
TOILED:  The last letter (finally) of pigleT and a synonym of greased or lubricated.

13d      Driving rain let loose below storm’s centre (10)
TORRENTIAL:  Start with the three letters that sit in the centre of the word sTORm. Add an anagram (loose) of RAIN and LET. Excellent clue.

16d      Save lock of hair for support (8)
BUTTRESS:  Save here is cleverly used as a conjunction. Add a lock of hair

18d      Skilfully caught handle on empty lavatory (8)
CLEVERLY:  A handle follows the abbreviation for Caught. Add the outer (empty) letters of LavatorY.

19d      Spring up catching concealed insects (6)
APHIDS: Reverse (up) a spring and insert a simple synonym of concealed.

21d      Obscene programme for the audience (6)

COARSE:  Homophone (for the audience) of a synonym of a programme or a plan.

22d      Book margin held in both hands (6)
LEDGER:  A synonym of margin is inserted (held in) between the abbreviations for Left and Right (both hands)

24d      Crazy sweetheart scored (4)
MADE:  Just squeezing in on the final clue is this setter’s swEeetheart, it follows a synonym of crazy.

Very enjoyable as ever, my top spot goes to 13d.

Quickie Pun Author + docks = orthodox.


87 comments on “DT 29937

  1. A 7a, if not 1d offering toon a Toughie grid, MP and all subsequent contributors rated it not tough at all, leaving me a little deflated. Still, not your job to nurse my fragile self-esteem. Thanks for the hints and tips as always and to today’s generous setter.day. One could 9a 26a without being a 10a or 23a, just following the 11a. I was a bit slow to spot the lurker at 20a. LOI 6d. Maybe I’ll try the Toughie later with cricket.

    1. Thank you, I enjoyed your post! I had to rely on the hints for some clues but nice steady solve.

  2. Well I finished but there are one or two I’m not too sure about. One such is 9a. My answer fits the clue but I’m not sure that it means an eccentric ramble. Neither do I understand 2d….. oh, I have just got it! Very clever. The SW corner caused problems and took a while to sort out. My COTD is 19d.

    Many thanks to Ray T for the challenge and to SL for the hints.

    Sunny but chilly in The Marches but a spot of gardening will warm the bones.

    Wordle in 5 and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all our Irish friends.

    1. I’m not sure about ramble either. I think it’s more of a country walk, 9a is what I do because of dodgy legs!

  3. This was on the gentler side for a Ray T. Thanks to him and StephenL.

    Did anyone (other than muggins here) write in sexton for 17a (set on = charge, containing X) and thus make 18d impossible until a rethink was needed?

    Top clues for me were 12a, 15a (LOL) and 1d.

    1. I didn’t write sexton in but I it was certainly the first word that came to mind….and stuck there for ages.
      Should be pleased that anything sticks in my mind now really, I suppose.

  4. For me, Ray T appears to be auditioning for a transfer to Mondays with a very enjoyable puzzle for which solving was as close to the proscribed term as I have ever got with one of his puzzles – 1.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1d, 4d, 19d, and 22d – and the winner is 1d.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  5. Went off a little slowly from the tape, but hit the finishing line at a gallop: nothing to alarm the equines in this typically witty, concise, and enjoyable RayT production. All clues eminently fairly constructed, no arcane knowledge required, and some lovely red herrings along the way. Hon Mentions to 23a, 24a, 6d, 13d, with COTD to the super smooth surface and answer of 17a.

    2* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to RayT for the coffeebreak challenge, and to Stephen L for the review.

  6. Another great puzzle today. LOI the little 2d which held me up for ages, otherwise not too much head scratching. Lovely day here with a nippy wind just right for our WI ramble this afternoon so hope my back holds out but am borrowing Mr M’s sticks just in case. Thanks to the setter and Stephen L. Wordle in 4.

      1. Actually Merusa, it was more like a yomp and I felt I really overdid it – thank goodness I had the sticks as I needed them – I think we must have covered about 4 miles, rather too far when you are recovering from a dodgy back!

  7. Lovely crossword – needed Stephen’s help in understanding how I got to a few answers.

    I opened the back door for Lola after she decided to miaow at me rather than go through the cat flap, thus saving herself a joule of energy, and noticed that it is a warm spring-like day. I feel this may lead to a lovely walk in the Surrey Hills and a late luncheon/early tea.

    Here’s a photo of H and The Youngster at Moulin Rouge on Tuesday.

    Thanks to Ray T and The Splendid Stephen L.

    1. Nice to see a pic of the ladies in your life, Terence, or a least two of them – Lola was presumably not included in that particular outing!
      Enjoy your walk in the hills.

  8. Psyched up for a RayT but, lo and behold, solving just enjoyably flowed to completion.
    Loved some old favourites and some very crafty lurkers.
    So, */*****
    Many thanks, RayT and Stephen L.

  9. A very 7a puzzle but either I was very quickly on wavelength or this one was step 1 of the straightforward end of his spectrum. No particular favourites but the clueing as always is 1d.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Stephen L.
    Wordle in 4

    1. Interesting Wordle in 4 for me too. I got last letter in right place at third go with two other letters in wrong place. Then took ages as not many options but got it in 4. Opposite of yesterday when there were so many options for the first letter.

      1. Yes, I crashed yesterday, there were so many options and I chose the wrong one in the end.

  10. A very floughie RayT offering this morning but still very enjoyable. No underwear or lingerie on show today. Thanks to both setter and blogger. Our very own Silvanus is on Toughie duty today. I found him to be in a very generous mood. Well worth a gander.

  11. Not very Spring-like here but nevertheless a Red Letter Day for me given my two favourite compilers appearing in the back-pager and the Toughie. Hurrah! All we need to complete the picture is a visit from Kath.
    Mr T definitely on the soft pedal but as enjoyable as ever. Top three for me were 1,13&19d.

    Devotions as always to our setter and many thanks to Stephen for the review.

  12. A steady Thursday puzzle with some difficult charades thrown in,Favourite was 17a.
    Not sure of ‘o’ for globe in 25a, thanks to SL for the traumatizes explanation for the rest, as I thought it was scares without the E!
    Liked 19 and 22d.
    Going for a ***/***

  13. An enjoyable puzzle for me too today which I completed alone and unaided and understood the parsings….very unusual for me on a Thursday….hurrah!

    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL

    After a beautifully sunny if cold morning we now have clouds and a stiff wind here…..looks like there will be rain later. Scottish weather I suppose…..

  14. Mastery from Arty, as always.

    I’m very happy that there’s a 21d word at the end of 21d.

    1. I’ve just spotted that, not only is Arty how you pronounce his initials (my original shout), it’s also an anagram of his name.

      To quote another master of his craft, Stanley Unwin….deep joy.

  15. This was 7a enough. SW slowest corner. Thinking around wedding vow confuses my parsing of 22a. Slow in the uptake on 4d whilst I tried to incorporate ‘his’ for man’s. Fav 16d but also liked the surface of 21d. Thank you RayT and StephenL. Has anyone else suffered the Saharan sandstorm deposit overnight – now for a visit to the car-wash.

    1. My mate who is in the window cleaning & patio cleaning business is rubbing his hands in glee.

    2. Oh yes – count me in the number. Just arrived back home following a visit to the car wash!

  16. 1*/5*. What a light delight with too many good clues to single any out for special mention.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. Plus a Thursday shout out to Kath, hoping to hear from her later.

    1. I am going to be lazy and piggyback your comments RD. A cracking puzzle.

      Thanks to Mr T and SL.

  17. I’m agreeing with Granimal Dr – it’s looking a bit complicated for me on first go- still I’m going to come back to it later before looking at the hints. Thanks to SL and MrT- I’ll pop back later and let you know how I get on. Thanks to Robert C for recommending Slough House- I’ve only just started it and I’m totally hooked. Also we’ve had lots of Saharan sand in Surrey yesterday- luckily the rain washed it off!

    1. You’re most welcome, Granny H. Oh, the places you’ll go! I’m finishing #6 now, #7 is on its way, and I must again thank Corky for the great escape.

  18. Not exactly a doddle but certainly as gentle as this setter has been in some time. I liked the lurkers, as well as 1d, 17a, and 25a, just because it’s almost time for them again and I grew up loving all that glitz and glamour: the movies! Sold popcorn at a local cinema for two years in my teens, put the letters up on the marquee, ushered, and became a projectionist part-time! All of that sometimes on the same day. Saw every movie released in that little suburb from 1952-54. Yowza! Thanks to Mr T and StephenL. Hello to Kath. ** / ***

  19. I found this puzzle definitely on the hard side so thanks to RT & SL. However I got wordle in 2 today. A record for me . Starting with one of my usuals words I got 1st, 2nd & final letters in right places. Then a harder effort to get the other 2 letters.

  20. Iwas on track for 2* time until I hit the SW corner, which eaised thedifficulty to 3*
    Generally an enjoyable puzzle (4*). I liked 20a, 17a and 13d. Thanks to the compiler and to to MP for the hints. Deep joy, mycast is off and my keft arm feels lighter than air with just a wrist brace.

  21. Splendid puzzle. I did most of it swiftly in one go but was left with five in SW and NE. Parsed them all although 10a puzzled me somewhat. Favourites 15 and 17a and 1 and 22d. Thanks Ray T and Stephen. A bit of a slog for me as struggling with a broken arm. Waiting to be called in for Op so my next appearance could be from hospital bed.

  22. Hello everyone.
    Not too much trouble today – just left to say thanks to Ray T and to StephenL and to everyone else too.

    1. I echo Merusa, Kath. It sounds as though you are well on the road to recovery. Terrific news. :rose:

    2. That’s our girl – well done indeed, Kath. Sounding as though you’ll be back in full song in no time at all.

    3. Much love and glad you are the up and up. What I would give for a pint in Little Venice!

  23. 2/4. I needed two sittings for this. The first went very smoothly then came a stall with the NE corner. Can’t see why in retrospect. Lots of really good clues with 11a my favourite. Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

  24. This was a RayT? I was encouraged when 7a went in immediately. I did this mostly (note mostly) all on my own and failed with 20a and 19d, heavens knows why, we had 20a quite recently. Lots to like, 15a and 17a floated to the top of the heap.
    Thanks RayT for the fun, only iffy was 9a, and appreciate StephenL’s help. Wordle today in 4, Better than the ignominy of yesterday.

  25. Once again I found this tough today but Ray T puzzles I seem to have trouble with most times.
    3*/3* for me today. Needed a lot of the hints today just to get through it.
    Clues I liked include 9a, 24a, 1d, 16d & 18d
    Thought 20a and 23a were well hidden lurkers too. Took me forever to spot them.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

  26. This was Ray T at his most benign and I for one thank him for that. It was a most enjoyable solve completed over breakfast before golf, something that I can never remember doing with one of his puzzles.
    Lots of great clues but my COTD award goes to 20a.
    Thx to all

  27. Evening all. My thanks as always to StephenL for the decryption and to everybody else for your observations.


    1. Good evening, Mr T, lovely to hear from you as always. Would you be kind enough to let us know what you intended the inference to be for 9a please.

      1. Hi Jane,
        Chambers gives:
        1. To shake, to tremble, to totter or progress unsteadily, as a result of age
        2. To potter
        3. To ramble in talk
        4. To be decrepit in mind or body

        1. Got it! I couldn’t get past a country walk, but I get it now. Number four describes me to a T!

  28. A gentle puzzle from Ray T, with fine clues providing an enjoyable but not too taxing solve. No stand-out favourite this time. 2*/4*.

  29. Bit of a struggle but got there in the end 😳***/*** Favourites 1 and 3 down 😃 Even found the Quicky tricky in parts. Off now to try and finish Wordle. Thanks to Stephen L and to Ray T

  30. Thanks RayT I really liked the lurker in 20a – thanks also to StephenL and good to read Kath’s comments

  31. Very enjoyable. Between this and the toughie, Thursday seems to be the new Monday. Thanks to RayT and StephenL.

  32. As easy as it was enjoyable, I almost underlined rain as part of the definition of 13a before I realised I needed it for the fodder and RayT would never allow double duty. I had an E going spare in 25a before I got the right shock.
    Thanks to SL and RayT

  33. I made harder work of this than I should have no idea why, apart from incompetence, I just did. I thought 13d could read as an all in clue. But I enjoyed it anyway as I always do. Favourite was 8d as I was led up the garden path for far too long. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  34. Relatively straightforward solve; just held up with 18d – had 17a as the church ‘officer’ whom Donne had toll the bell!

  35. It’s taken me from 8am this morning but the final clue has just fallen into place. 20A really shouldn’t have held out so long! Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. Well done Jon on your perseverance, must have been satisfying when the last one fell. Regarding that clue, it’s always worth remembering that this setter usually includes a couple lurkers.

  36. Finally I finished this very enjoyable crossword. However I did have to read a few of the hints which did point me in the right direction. Annoyingly I did have a couple of correct answers but needed reassurance from SL. Many thanks to Ray T and SL. Having read the blog I think I’ll have a go at the toughie. Very foggy start to the day in the SE.

  37. Just about finished this but failed on 21d, which was described as a homophone of a synonym of a programme, now how did I miss that 🥴. Thanks to all.

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