DT 29939 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29939 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29939 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from a charming spring morning in Warrington.

Thanks again to my co-conspirators who covered for me at short notice over the past couple of weeks.

Here we go with today’s hints from another pleasant and friendly puzzle by our lovely lady setter, Chalicea. As usual, lots of accessible clues that won’t cause a great deal of head scratching and will make you smile. Just remember to read each clue carefully and follow what you are being asked to tackle to get the answer.

The usual request to play nicely and follow the guidelines by not giving inappropriate hints. You don’t want to end up on the naughty step, you really don’t.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1    Backchat and criticism for a cosmetic (8)
Two slang words for backchat and hard criticism join together to give something to help beauty.

5    Trousers, with top trimmed, might contain these (4)
A slang word for trousers, with its first letter removed gives something that can be found inside, in an expression.

10    Utilise printer’s measurement stratagem (6)
There are a number of words from the heyday of the printing industry that survive in Crosswordland, even though most of us now get our puzzles on line. Here we have the name of a measurement used by a printer. This one, if you are interested is the name for one 16-point space in a 16-point font. (Still awake?). Anyway, that measurement is used here and is added to the name for a stratagem (and a very fine setter of barred crosswords). Anorak off. If these are not in the vault, they should be!

11    Organisation of Easter Sunday not seen, sadly, on this earlier day (8)
Anorak back on. This is a rare example of an anagram that needs a word removed to give you the answer. In Crosswordland, rules dictate that if those letters are not in order when you remove them, they need an anagram indicator as well. Here you need to remove the letters of the word SEEN from EASTER SUNDAY with sadly being the anagram indicator, and then rearrange what’s left using the anagram indicator ‘organisation’. A very fine example unlike many of these clues, they don’t normally read well. Wake up!

18    Virology crudely interrupted by America using force? (10)
An anagram of virology and the abbreviation for America inside.

22    Submerges in river in undulating pasture-land (6)
The abbreviation for river inside a type of flatland found around the south of England.

24    In an orderly way, almost, with time for beginning of romance (6)
A word meaning almost where you swap the abbreviation for time with the first letter of romance.

25    Structures carrying transport through channels (8)
A Latin word meaning through, plus a word meaning channels.

27    In no particular place when year changes (8)
An anagram of WHEN YEAR.


2    Quietly enraged buccaneer (6)
The abbreviation for quiet and a word meaning enraged.

3    Man going into Conservative hypothesis (6)
A pronoun associated with a man goes inside a slang word for a Conservative voter. (This analysis has been written out of respect to a tedious bore who took me to task for being unkind to our honest and decent Prime Minister).

6    Many hesitant words interrupting common sense (8)
Two short words used as signs of hesitation go inside a word for common sense (or ‘we’ in French).

7    Use up about a pound on birds now and then — very impressive (8)
A word meaning to use up money goes round the symbol for a pound. Add to this the alternate letters from the word BIRDS.

9    Runs away from skirmish in the wild (4)
A word meaning a skirmish (as in ___ with the law) needs the abbreviation for runs removed to give a wild place.

15    Testimony of English study in immorality (8)
After the abbreviation for English goes a word for study inside something meaning immorality.

17    Press caught youngster resistant to change (4-4)
A word meaning to press, followed by the cricketing abbreviation for caught and a word for a young person. This gives an expression meaning resistant to change or a name for some types of warships.

21    Schemes of identification for low islands (4)
Two definitions. Think Florida for the islands.

Everything come up roses? Or muck and nettles? Let us know your thoughts and as usual, please play nicely.

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

The Quick Crossword pun: RUE + LET + WEAL = ROULETTE WHEEL

Music today sums up feelings of the world as it is at the moment.  See you next week.



75 comments on “DT 29939 (Hints)

  1. I thought this was super, not difficult but very enjoyable throughout. My only real pause for thought was the parsing of 11a but it came to me after staring at it for a minute. Favourite probably 6d but it was all good.
    Many thanks to the Chalicea and Tilsit.

  2. 2*/3*. A light and pleasant puzzle apart from the use of an American term in 5a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

      1. No problem at all, Banksie, as long as any terms which are not in common use in the UK are indicated.

        1. But don’t worry Banksie. It’s been established that it’s not a must. Just a personal preference.

          I smile when I see one, picturing RD’s American antenna bleeping like a good’un and waiting for his comment.

    1. While the term might be American for trousers, the saying itself is used a lot in England.

  3. Another fine Chalicea puzzle, with prwtty straightforward wordplay and afew head-scratchers with unusual synonyms or definitions. On the whole it was an enjoyable SPP(3*/3*). I’d almost forgotten the printer’s measurement in 10a, my last one in and favourite clue . 16d abd 23a were also on the pidium. Thanks to Chalicea snd to Tilsit for the hints.

  4. The dead tree has still not arrived (11:00 am) but I have cracked this online. As Tilsit says, a friendly puzzle with some nice crosswordy touches. 11a with its double anagrind being my favourite today. Nice pic of Ribblehead today, not many go the extra mile (literally) to take a pic from there. I think Mama Bee and I will take a trip there on this nice sunny day.
    Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea.

    1. We just got half our paper this morning. Jolly annoying when you pay £3.50 and do not get the weekly TV review or the Saturday supplement! It still had not arrived at 12.30. ☹️

      1. All of my paper is there in my iPad waiting for the sun to wake me up. £55 per year for a digital subscription. No messy papers to tidy up.

        1. I’m intrigued that your subscription is 55 pounds. We’ve just been advised that ours is going up to 249 at the end of the month!

          1. I have digital only so no vouchers and no free subscriptions for family members or friends. Just the paper delivered to my iPad every day before I wake up.

            You may have one of these subscriptions. Phone this number to discuss your options. If you are not sharing your subscription you shouldn’t be paying for a shared subscription

              1. Also I pay annually not monthly which makes it cheaper. I was paying more but called the number above to discuss my options and the lass I spoke to offered the digital only subscription at £55 per annum

            1. Hi
              I tried calling the number you kindly posted for me over a week ago. All I got when I called was an automated response advising me to go to the online site, no matter which way I routed through the options.
              I did then sign up on line for £99. I don’t know whether it is just me, but I then still couldn’t access the crosswords. Went back on line to try to cancel my subscription, and 11 days later still waiting for a response.

    2. We don’t have the choice to get the hard tree DT version, certainly not delivered here in South Florida. We used to get a daily delivery of our local paper but as it was usually full of tripe and hideously expensive we cancelled it. Another negative to delivered newspapers here is that they are tossed into your driveway. And even though in a plastic sleeve, when it rains before you get up, you find a sodden, unreadable mass waiting for you. To be fair, they will bring out a dry copy if you call, but that will be at least 2 – 3 hours, so a bit pointless if you like to enjoy the paper over breakfast. Our iPads are a godsend.

      1. I’ve just cancelled my Herald and now only get it on Wednesdays and Sundays. I chose those days as I like the editorials on those days. The rest of the paper was junk. On Super Bowl day, section A was 18 pages, 13 of those were about football. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read 13 pages of newsprint about football.

  5. A very pleasant and not too demanding challenge for my Friday evening – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 15d and 17d – and the winner is 15d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

  6. What Stephen said other than I’d substitute pleasant for super. All over in * time.
    Thanks to the setter & Tilsit.
    Wordle in 3.

  7. Another excellent puzzle from our nice, lovely lady who just gets better and better. 16d, my COTD, made me laugh. I also enjoyed the cleverness of 11a and 6d. A real pick-me-upper for me after a tedious, tortuous NYT enigma. Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea. ** / ****

    The Guardian Prize today is quite cleverly themed, although I have two to go to finish.

    1. I finished watching HBO’s wonderful adaptation of book 3 of Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet last night. Absolutely superb. I hope BAFTA belatedly get round to recognising it in the international category. I’ve only read the first book so must rectify that. Have you watched it yet?

      1. Lovely puzzle today !
        I also watched Ferrante last night. It is truly wonderful, brought me to tears ! The books are well worth a read.

      2. Yes, we watched the 4th episode of My Brilliant Friend (Bk 3) Monday night, and totally agree with you: it’s quite wonderful. Elena is not quite what I’d pictured her from reading the quartet, which I read in one fell swoop, but Lila is, almost exactly. Gritty and powerful stuff. Glad to hear that you found it so riveting.

        1. It’s wonderful that you are able to watch it. It’s only on Sky here. I think the BBC missed a trick which is a shame. The relationship between the two girls has been so consistent even when Lila has been difficult. Such clever observations by the author.

  8. Just sent in my puzzle, I did win the Sunday GK once !
    Anyway a sound crossword with my favourite 11a, thanks Tilsit for te robust explanation.
    Going for a **/***

  9. Favourites 1 5 9 and 25a and 6 and 15d. Also lots more! Delightful puzzle and bright and breezy. I did it in double quick time having done the Wordle in 3 so pleased my brain is functioning. I forgot to tell them at my pre-op assessment this week that I do the cryptic. I’m sure it helps if they think you are not beyond repair mentally! I am however going to revisit 10a as having looked at the hint I’m not convinced my answer is right. Thanks Chalicea and Tilsit.

  10. My COTD is 1a. Why? Because after 2 years of mask wearing I can once more look cheerful wearing it!

      1. I think JB is neither, but definitely more likely to be Janet rather than John.
        Did anyone else learn to read with Janet and John?

          1. No, I was born a Geordie to Scottish/Ashington stock but moved to Yorkshire just in time to watch Mama Bee’s schoolmates (Wor Jackie and Bobby Charlton) help England win the world cup in 66. but Janet and John were definitely the introductory readers in deepest Yorkshire in the 1960s

          2. I am, but don’t recall the books. We did teach the kids to read using the Ladybird books.

        1. Need to remember the wonderful Wogan – the Janet and John stories that he read in the mornings used to just about make people fall about . . .

      2. I certainly am. Isn’t it odd how we always assume everyone knows who we are? John Bee and I get confused hence his recent kindness in assuming a new identity. He is definitely male but when he mentions Mama B I’m tempted to believe she is his mother and not his wife but who are we to know? We all have our idiosyncrasies. and our secrets,

    1. Exactly. I have saved a bunch on lipstick and foundation that I haven’t had to buy for the past two years though 😊.

  11. This didn’t exactly “come up roses” for me but I managed to steadily work my way through it completing N first. Unaware of 10a printer’s measurement so bunged in as was the case with two other unparsed solutions – 11a and 7d. Can’t believe I failed to use ever popular press which caused 17d to be last to fall. Joint Favs 6d and 5a (in spite of US term). Thank you Chalicea and Tilsit (yes indeed Samuel Barber does catch the mood of the moment which is just so distressing).

  12. This was a cheery challenge; great fun to work one’s way through it. Devon and Cornwall held me up a little, especially the straightforward but foxing to me 24a! I got there in the end.

    Yesterday, we went to a very moving memorial service for the former Chelsea and England goalkeeper, Peter Bonetti. He was not only a great footballer, but a lovely, kind, man.

    Thanks to Chalicea, and The Wizard Of Warrington.

    1. Yes, Peter Bonetti was a truly great goalie. I saw him play quite a few times at Maine Road from 1966 to 1970, when my father and I had season tickets – Man City’s previous golden era. Did you manage to get your bid in before the window closed?

  13. Pleasant weather for once and a pleasant puzzle to accompany it.
    Ticks here went to 6&16d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit for the hints.

  14. I enjoyed this nicely-balanced, not too taxing puzzle. A nice way to end the morning. Now for a weekend of sporting diversion.

  15. A very pleasing puzzle that more or less filled itself in thanks to consistently tight flying from Chalicea. That 24a seems to be a Lady C signifier to this beginner. Thank you Tilsit. Missing the game today because of the virus so the garden may get some attention.

  16. A fabulous puzzle and I was not surprised to learn it was by my favourite setter. It required three sittings to solve it with a third being saved each time. In between the solving, I did some gardening so quite a productive morning. I can’t say I have a favourite clue because I found ninety percent of them very satisfying but I did like 11a. Two short ones were the last ones to fall – 9d and 21d – but both arrived with suitable pennies dropping.

    Many thanks to Chalicea for the fun and to Tilsit for the hints.

    Lovely sunny day in The Marches with a cool breeze so Hudson will get a long walk this afternoon with a dip in the river.

    Wordle in 5.

  17. First glance induced a moment of sheer panic! However, a more rational approach gradually yielded the answers. No real favs as it was all rather tough but life Is definitely too short for clues such a 11d which was just too verbose.
    All in all a little disappointing for a Chalicea puzzle which are usually much better than this.
    Thx to all

  18. Enjoyed this a lot but didn’t find it as easy as others did – I think I was trying to oversolve if that makes sense, but finished unaided. Wonderful day to start off my potato sacks. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit. Wordle in 4 and Quordle in 9 – the third word had no letters at all by the end of the sixth go so pretty lucky.

  19. Potato sacks Mandelshtam? I have tried growing in a tub but with limited success and not prepared to give up space in the potager when more exciting things may be grown. To the puzzle, a very pleasant workout with only 21d giving me pause and Tilsit helped me with that fortunately. George will be glued to rugby from now until bedtime which makes it pretty bleak for me! The ‘lads’ were all going to get together this evening but all our friends seem to be going down with Covid like ninepins, and they have all been triple vaxed like us. It’s getting a bit too close for comfort. Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit for diverting us.

    1. I started growing them in sturdy refuse sacks when I gave up the allotment but have bought 6 breathable sacks with handles for about £20 from Amazon so I will be able to move them around. The yield is pretty good too.

      1. I just might give it a try. But once planted up, I doubt if either of us could move them! By the way, I don’t know where Mandelshtam came from? Very inventive.

  20. A terrific puzzle to accompany a beautiful sunny Shropshire Saturday. 21d was my final entry, and my top clue was 6d.

    Many thanks to Chalicea for the fun and to Tilsit. An afternoon and evening of rugby awaits.

  21. Have I ever told you how much I love you Chalicea? That was so enjoyable, I didn’t want it to finish. You always makes me feel like a brainiac, so satisfying for a tiny brain. Fave was 6d, but I could have chosen any of them. Last in was 21d, to my shame I used e-help, we’ve had it before, when will I ever learn.
    Thank you Chalicea for all the fun. I didn’t need any unravelling today, Tilsit, but I always enjoy your hints and tips. Wordle today in 3, my cup runneth over.

  22. Nice puzzle for today. 2*/4*
    Favourites inc 1a, 25a & 16d

    Thx to Chalicea & Tilsit
    Off to binge watch the last day of six nation games

  23. All came together quite nicely after a morning down at the allotment reconstructing the polytunnel. I was a bit tentative on my answer for 21d but the hints have confirmed my thinking to be correct. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter.

  24. Went through this like a hot knife through butter until last one in 21d, which took a while but got there in the end.

  25. 2.5/4. Very enjoyable puzzle which fell into place so quickly until I got to the SW quadrant which took me longer than the rest. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit,

  26. I have really been enjoying Chalicea’s work of late. Today’s offering did not disappoint, nothing too taxing but still a delight . COD by some margin was 25a.
    An early finish today to leave afternoon and evening clear for Six Nations . Poor Wales, it was going to happen sooner or later, just glad it wasn’t England on the receiving end.

  27. Lovely puzzle as usual from Chalicea. Found it a bit harder than usual but that’s not a bad thing. It’s probably me anyway. We’re trying to move house and my head is all over the place.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit

  28. Pleasant, fairly straightforward SPP.
    Lots to like but nothing really outstanding
    At least it brought some smiles whilst watching Wales’ pretty dismal performance. Only bright points being the joy victory brought the Italians and Adams’ sporting gesture giving the Italian 15 his Man of the Match medal at the end.
    Thank you Chalicea for the fun and Tilsit for the analysis.
    Beautiful day up here with more forecast..

  29. Another Chalicea, another enjoyable puzzle. The entire left half went straight in, but I did have to ponder several on the right hand side. All my own fault, I just made heavy weather of perfectly reasonable clues. Thanks to the lovely lady and to Tilsit. Would say more but Peter has just persuaded me that we should go for a swim now. Darn, I was just about to take tackle the ironing…

  30. I really enjoy Chalicea puzzles and this one was no exception. Just right for me.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea.

  31. It’s wonderful to feel that the puzzle has helped so many to have a good morning. I have to confess tha CL’s tweaks often improve my slightly wonky clues. We were up at 5 a.m. your time, to catch the plane home (to deepest Yorkshire) – three hours before the flight required because of massive queues) and are now only eight miles from Ribblehead so what a joy to see Tilsit’s picture of our viaduct and Pen-y-ghent (we might even climb it tomorrow as the weather is glorious here in North Yorks, though very cold and windy). My father patrolled the viaduct at night during the last war – as part of the ‘home guard’ when sabotage was a possibility.
    We’re ‘home’ for the Listener setters’ annual dinner which is in Stirling next weekend – 100 or so setters, solvers, partners etc. gather for a lovely crosswording gallimaufry.
    (Tiny brain, Merusa? No way! I have immense admiration for people who can solve cryptics – I can’t – setting is very different from solving.)
    Thank you for those lovely encouraging comments – it makes setting feel worthwhile, and, of course, thanks to Tilsit – more Yorkshire pictures please!

    1. It was a lovely day today and more promised for tomorrow. Tilsit’s picture prompted me to head out that way today with Mama Bee and via Tea and scones in Malham and a trip to the cheese shop just outside Settle we probably passed in one of the many traffic jams around today.
      I hope you enjoy your trip up Pen Y Ghent as much as we enjoyed your crossword.

    2. Is The Listener Dinner at Stirling Castle? I saw Bob Dylan there in 2001. The middle of July. It poured with rain and there was a very cold wind. Typically Scottish weather

      1. Stirling Court Hotel, Miffy Pops.
        Indeed Sloop John Bee, the cheese shop on the A65 just north of Settle is one of those Yorkshire gems, as is Knight Stainforth – they do a Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

  32. 5 across made me smile.. At the other end of the scale, I needed help with 16 and 21 down… The solutions made the clues VERY cryptic 🙂

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