DT 29943 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29943

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29943
Hints and tips by Miffypops

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be me
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
Crisscross Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment *****

Good morning from our little barrel where the sun is shining brightly already. I think I am going to enjoy the day today. It’s off to a good start with a cheerful puzzle which sits perfectly in the Thursday slot. My only gripe is the lack of food. Just some dry flat bread. I’ll see what Saint Sharon can conjure up to go with it. Jasper Carrott and Bev Bevan at the lovely little Albany Theatre in Coventry tonight should round the day off nicely.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


7a Couple book absorbing week overseas on vacation (7)
TWOSOME: The abbreviation for week and the outer letters of the word overseas sit inside a large, heavy, scholarly book.
Can you find The Gruesome Twosome?  How many other Wacky Races drivers can you name. Answer below

8a Photo captures ultimate source of environmental pollution (7)
PLASTIC: A short word for a photograph or snapshot contains a synonym of the word ultimate

10a Thought student is going for meal (9)
REFECTION: A serious thought or consideration needs to lose the usual abbreviation which denotes a student or learner

11a Brownish-coloured river visited by swans regularly (5)
TAWNY: A Scottish river contains two alternate letters of the word swans

12a Woven material provided from the East? That is right (5)
OSIER: A word meaning provided is reversed. The Latin abbreviation for that is Id Est follows. The abbreviation for right rounds things off very nicely thank you

13a During hours of darkness, mistake having change of heart (9)
OVERNIGHT: An unintentional failure to notice or do something needs its central letter changing

15a Various English beaches may be covered with it (7)
SHINGLE: Anagram (various) of ENGLISH

17a This month everything will be set up (7)
INSTALL: A four-letter abbreviation for instante mense meaning a date of the current month is followed by a word meaning everything

18a Leaving hotel, star in huge Rolls giving autograph (9)
SIGNATURE: Anagram (Rolls) of STAR IN HUGE minus the letter denoted by hotel in the regular phonetic alphabet

20a Round flatbread? That’s mine, thanks! (5)
PITTA: A mine or colliery is followed by a word meaning cheers or thanks

21a Made faux pas picked up in London’s East End (5)
ERRED: A homophone based on how a cockney might say a word meaning picked up aurally

23a Spiritual leader from Koutiala, Mali, a lady upset (5,4)
DALAI LAMA: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word from. It is reversed as suggested by the word upset. That it is there for all to see means we do not have to struggle with its spelling

24a Disappointment in state of one’s car tyres, perhaps? (3-4)
LET DOWN: A double definition both obvious but more so with checkers

25a Pop off after function for an indefinite period (4,3)
SINE DIE: The function here is trigonometric. It is followed by a word meaning to stop functioning altogether as we all must do one day


1d Conceding why bride-to-be is with dressmaker reportedly? (10)
FORFEITING: Find a reason split 3,7 why a bride to be might visit a dressmaker. Put the two words tougher and find a homophone meaning conceding. My last one in which held out for longer than it would have if it’s first letter had been checked

2d Agree in acting together to withhold payment (6)
CONCUR: Find an adjective meaning acting together at the same time and remove the payment from the end. A bung in the obvious answer from the definition and worry about how it works later type of clue

3d Native American, one miles adrift (8)
SEMINOLE: This Florida based Native American is an anagram (adrift) of ONE MILES

4d Drunkard from Kent area acquiring bad smell (6)
SPONGE: A strong unpleasant smell sits between the compass points used to describe the location of the county of Kent

5d Possesses items second husband dropped in battle (8)
HASTINGS: Split 3,6 two words meaning owns items need to be joined and the second of the two abbreviations for husband discarded

6d Pack Stuart’s case with pained expression (4)
STOW: Begin with the case or outer letters of the word Stuart. Add the word yelled after hitting one’s thumb with a hammer perhaps

7d Resort hotelier’s lost cat (13)
TORTOISESHELL: Anagram I hope of HOTELIERS LOST. Resort being the anagram indicator

9d Type of ball towards winger, hotshot in football team (7,6)
CRYSTAL PALACE: The type of ball used by a fortune teller. A close friend and a hotshot or person who excels at a sporting activity

14d Creature adapting easily to eat half of peeled banana (5,5)
GIANT PANDA: Peel the word Banana by removing its outer letters. Take either half of what you have left and insert it somewhere in an anagram (easily) of the word ADAPTING

16d Relative number extremely shocked, near rage occasionally, is rising (8)
GRANDSON: Begin with the abbreviation for number. Add the outer letters of the word shocked. Add the alternate letters of the words near rage. Reverse what you have. Not a wasted word in the clue which you may need to read carefully to understand just how each word works with the explanation above

17d Romantic dates I arranged, embracing Liz endlessly (8)
IDEALIST: Anagram (arranged) of DATES I plus the first two letters of Liz

19d Individual supporting a French duke’s tip is ruined (6)
UNDONE: A single individual number follows the French for A and the abbreviation for duke

20d Flexible recruitment essentially in factory (6)
PLIANT: The central letter of the word recruitment sits inside another word for a factory

22d Value degree (4)
RATE: A double definition both rather obvious


Quickie Pun  Bruise + Four + Sycthe = Bruce Forsythe 

There is a corking Toughie today to complement this little cracker. Well worth a crack


66 comments on “DT 29943

  1. I thought this was super, great fun, full of wit and gentle misdirection.
    Had to check the first part of 17a though the solution was obvious and the spelling of 1d never seems natural!
    I liked several, 18 (super surface and anagrind)& 20a plus the lol 4d with top spot going to 9d, though more familiar with wingman than winger. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter (Mr Ed ?) and to MP for the top notch entertainment.
    Cracking Beam Toughie too.

  2. What a sparkling pu zzle, just right for Thursday, indeed MP (3*/5*). Yhere were so many great clues, it’s hard to single out a few. 1d was a great variation on a homophone, 23a a super reverse lurker, 7d an outstanding anagram a d1d agreat lego clue but I had a special fondness for the wellmisdirected 5d. Many thanksto the compiler and to MP for the hints

  3. Really enjoyable puzzle. Everything is there if one looks for it, and no Chinese dynasties.

    I always rooted for Rock Slag and Gravel Slag in the Boulder Mobile. They won three races, but if one looks at top three placings, then the Slag Brothers were the most successful of all the Wacky Racers with fourteen top three placings from thirty-four races.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic (album), and from it, ‘Any Major Dude Will Tell You’

    Thanks to the setter and The Miff.

  4. I had to check what day it was as I thought this crossword would have been friendly if it had appeared on a Monday. Enjoyable on any day of the week

    Thanks to the setter and MP

  5. A cleverly clued puzzle today ,as MP suggests,I bunged in the last solve ,2d ,and parsed the payment later.
    Many clues could be favourites,liked the 15a anagram, the 23a lurker and the omission in 13a.
    Thanks to our setter and MP for the pics. Going for a ***/****

  6. 1d was also my last one in, MP, in this delightful Thursday puzzle, which I finished in fast time. I particularly liked 13a, my COTD, 14d, 16d, & 10a, though there really isn’t a dud in the grid. Thanks to MP and today’s setter. **/*****

    Beam’s Toughie is just perfect.

  7. A slow solve for me, and I was defeated by 12A because I clearly can’t spell 1D. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. Thanks Miffypops and today’s setter.

  8. ID my last one in too.
    Great puzzle requiring a bit more effort for me than it appears to have done for others.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP

  9. Jolly good fun whilst it lasted. Like others 1d was my last in. Thanks to MP and today’s setter.

  10. Great puzzle but not sure why ‘second’ is there in 5d. I spent ages thinking there must be a ‘u’ in there!

    1. Welcome to the blog

      If you look at the component parts of 5d, there is an H in the first word (possesses) and another in the ‘items’ – to get the solution you need to drop the second Husband from the items

  11. Finished but filled in a couple because the fitted rather than understanding!
    The quick crossword pun was Bruce Forsythe. I don’t think you put that in.


  12. A speedy but very enjoyable solve with plenty of fun to keep us interested. I thought some of the clues were excellent, and I especially liked 4 and 7d, with 15a my favourite.

    My thanks to our setter and to MP for his comprehensive review

  13. I sympathise with OM as this was a bit of a workout for me but no less enjoyable for that. NW corner last to acquiesce mainly due to hiccup with 3d. I spell 17a with single letter at end but it had to be. Fav was 1d. Thank you Mysteron and MP.

  14. It’s not Friday but it is one of my puzzles today, a big thank you to Chris Lancaster for thinking of me when he needed someone to step in for the scheduled compiler.

    Many thanks also to Miffypops and to all those commenting, Wacky Races was a childhood favourite of mine and Jasper Carrott is a comedian I’ve always liked a lot, I was quite shocked to discover he’s now 77! How the time has flown.

    I’m very pleased that you all seem to have found many varied clues to enjoy.

    P.S. The anagram fodder for 7d is HOTELIERS LOST, I’m sure MP will tweak his hint though.

    1. I’m kicking myself as I put in my original draft that I had a hunch it was you!! Great puzzle Silvanus, many thanks.

    2. Hi Silvanus. It was clear to me very quickly that this was not the work of our normal alternate Thursday setter. With the benefit of hindsight, the ultra-smooth surfaces were a bit of a giveaway.

      Well done for stepping in at short notice and many thanks for a superb puzzle, during the solving of which I learnt a new word in 3d. My top three clues were 1d, 7d & 14d.

    3. There’s nothing quite like–or as good as–having both Silvanus and Beam (aka Ray T) going mano-a-mano on the same day. Thanks for another excellent grid, which as I said above is worth all 5***** from me.

    4. Many thanks for today’s puzzle, Silvanus, and thanks also to CL for giving me my dream team again today!
      I did have to check on 3d and also the winger in 9d, although with a slightly different ending the latter might well have occurred to me.
      7d was a gift of a gateway clue, loved the indicator in 14d and smiled broadly at 24a.
      Podium places went to 8,15,17&20a plus 5d with a mention for 16d as I’ll be seeing my young one this weekend for the first time in almost a year.

      Very happy bunny here!

      1. Meant to say, I’m reasonably sure the illustration shown is of a Tabby cat, not a 7d.

        1. This Granimal Doctor has retired but I thought the same Jane. There is a tiny hint of ginger on the upper right lip which is all it takes to be tortoiseshell, strictly. So we probably have to stick with umpire Miffypops’ call.

          Once I finally twigged the anagram ( having looked up the names of all T S Eliot’s cats), the western half yielded and I got home.

          Lovely work from Silvanus and MP

        2. I’m willing to bet that’s M’pops cat, a bit of showing off, he/she is a beauty, at the expense of accuracy!

      2. I never suggested it was a tortoiseshell. You’ve seen the cat before. It’s Itchy. Here he is with his identical twin brother Scratchy in December 2014. They grew up and fought all the time. Scratchy went to live with the people across the road in Downtown L I where he still lives now

      3. You’ve seen the box before as well. “Where are the lateral flow tests.” I asked Saint Sharon. “In the box with the pegs” she replied. Silly me. It should have been the first place I looked. Itchy sat in the box this morning in the sunshine and I thought I would share the moment with you all. I stopped putting photos of animals when the Kitties opened their pet shop. Too much is too much and doesn’t need adding to

        1. Now I have to disagree with you, we(or I) can never have too much of the animals, they brighten my day.

    5. I would like to add my admiration and belated thanks for a terrific puzzle. I normally spot your compilations but not today.

    6. Top quality puzzle. So much to like. Vowels dressed as nouns and vice versa. Great stuff. Many thanks, Silvanus.

  15. Thank you Silvanus, A steady solve today with a couple in the NW holding out the longest. 2d as Miffs said a bung in and work out later clue. I had to reminisce about concerts at the Leeds Uni Refec before the penny dropped on 10a and LOI 12a as I had forgotten the Wicker Man.
    Thanks to Sil and Miffs, If those concrete balls your 16d’s are on are the same as the ones in our garden centre they are about to get a soaking!
    Off to watch the Red Arrows fly past due overhead at 14:00

    1. Snap Sloop John Bee! It reminded me of the same place and the “Hops” there.
      Super puzzle. Congrats to Silvanus and thanks as ever to MP

    2. You lucky person with the Red Arrows . When we lived in the Cotswolds they were stationed at Little Rissington and used to fly along the valley behind my house until someone said they frightened the birds. The RSPB has been omitted from my charity list ever since!!

      1. A blink and you miss it moment for sure – I didn’t manage to get any decent photos but they flew past in two Vee’s of 4 and banked north to head over Linton then Harrogate. They left Scampton in Lincs at 13:50 and flying up the A! to as far as Stokesley near Middlesborough a quick U-turn and they were back home in just about half an hour.
        It seems they are on the move again as this is a quick tour before they move from RAF Scampton to RAF Waddington.

  16. Apart from the NW corner, where I needed MP’s excellent hints, I found this an enjoyable diversion. I didn’t know the phrase at 25a but it could be nothing else given the clue. I liked 21a because it raised a smile but my COTD is 5d.

    Many thanks to Sylvanus for the fun and to MP for the most enjoyable blog.

    Another warm and sunny day in The Marches so am busy planting up tubs with pansies and violas much to Hudson’s disgust. He wants to roam the fields.

    Wordle in 4.

  17. Best puzzle of the week, backpager or Toughie – not a single duff clue, no obscure knowledge required, everything perfectly fair, smooth surfaces throughout. Over far too soon.

    Delighted to see my “second” team making an appearance in 9d, while for COTD I can’t decide between the tremendous 1d and 10a. Reflecting on refectories recalled to mind the college buttery, from which we could get excellent – and excellent value – college port and sherry. I rather suspect it’s more expensive now! (& having checked, gosh … there’s a few decades’ worth of inflation in the price today).

    2 / 4.5

    Many thanks indeed to Silvanus & to MP.

  18. Solved this puzzle on Wednesday evening without any hints/blog, and it did not seem like a Giovanni to me.
    Anyway clues I liked included 11a, 13a, 15a, 25a & 14d with my winner 15a
    12a unknown to me and parsing for 8a …???
    24a made me smile though.

    Thanks to the setter and MP

  19. I really enjoyed the crossword today- maybe it was walking among the spring flowers and blossom at Wisley in this beautiful sunny weather that helped! Many thanks to Silvanus for both crosswords and to Miffypops for a few hints. Also to let Robert C know that I’ve finally finished Slough House and it was absolutely brilliant ( would have been much sooner but every single one of my four granddaughters decided to go down with some bug or other and I couldn’t give the book the time it needed). Now I’ve just bought the first three books in the series and I have a whole week free of granny duties so whooppee – can’t wait to get reading.

    1. Hi again, Granny Helen. I have about 50 pages to go in the very last (#7) of the series, wondering just what I’ll do without Jackson Lamb around to stink up my reading quarters until he makes an encore appearance. I am so glad to hear how much you enjoyed #1! I just learned a few days ago that Gary Oldman is set to play Lamb in a televised series over there, by the way. I know that you’ll enjoy your free week of ‘sloughing’ it!

  20. Snap Sloop John Bee! It reminded me of the same place and the “hops” there.
    Super puzzle. Congrats to Silvanus and thanks as ever to MP

  21. Delightful puzzle, elegantly clued.
    Loved the anagrams.
    First reading, I will never complete this.
    But worked steadily to complete in just over ** time.
    Many thanks, indeed, to the setter and to Miffypops.

  22. Just back from lovely pub lunch with friends. Made them laugh giving them the clue for 1d and then giving them the answer. My last in by a country mile but what a great puzzle so thanks to Silvanus and MP. Wordle in 3 and still to tackle Quordle today.

    1. I’ve given up trying to explain clues to non believers. All I get are blank stares

      1. Yes – I agree with you – trying to explain the clues are impossible to the ones who just don’t get them. The Lambs are the worst of the lot. Oh dear!!

  23. It’s Thursday and I solved this with only thesaurus, dictionary and one clue with e-help, must be a record. I did need M’pops help for unravelling a couple. I spelt 25a incorrectly, soon fixed when 9d went in. I waited to get checkers for 12a, thought that was the plant not the material; wouldn’t wicker be the material? I liked 15a, and living in Miami, 3d was solved in a trice.
    Thanks Silvanus for the fun and M’pops for your help. Those young men are getting so big. Wordle in 2.

    1. Following our chat at comment No 15 yesterday I used COMFY as my start word today. There was little chance of my Wordling in 2 after that.

      1. I lied, I got Wordle in 2! My first word contained 3 correct letters in the wrong order so quite a good guess for the second word.

        1. My seed word had the middle letter wrong, the rest in order and all I had to do was remove that and put another letter in front, bob’s your uncle.

          1. I was quite chuffed to bring up my 60 in 3 as my usual start word wasn’t much help.

  24. Enjoyable puzzle providing you ignore the dreadful wordplay in 7a, 13a,1d,4d and 5d and just look for the definition.
    Thx for explaining the above whose logic I would never have followed.
    Apart from the above I found it an excellent crossword.
    ***/**(**** if you ignore the above)

  25. This one put me in my place after a good run of unaided solves! Thank you Silvanus and MP in equal measure for the education- 20a as my favourite clue

  26. At first look it looked difficult but the answers slowly started to drop into place becoming a very nice solvable puzzle 😃 ***/*** Favourites 1d, 9d and the Quicky phrase 🤗 Many thanks to Miffypops and to Sylvanus. Off to look up the meaning of 25a 😬 my last one in!

  27. Another mixed bag for me, with some clues stubbornly refusing to yield their answers (10a, 12a, 17a and 25a). If I remember the answers it will probably help me in future. But at least I got Wordle in 2, so the day is not a total disaster. Thanks to Silvanus and Miffypops.

  28. Well I’m blaming lack of sleep, golf & a 100 mile drive home for the pedestrian solve. Half thought it may be a Silvanus production. Comfortably the best back-pager this week so far (haven’t had time to look at any of the Toughies yet) & as others have said not a duffer in there. Knew 3d from the ultra exclusive Donald Ross designed Florida golf course but wasn’t familiar with 25a which required confirmation. So many good uns to choose from but 18a takes top spot for me over 4&14d.
    Thanks to Silvanus & MP.

  29. I needed the hints to parse 12a and 2d and found this marginally harder than the toughie. I also spell 17a with 1 L. Favourite was the splendid 1d.. thanks to Silvanus and MP.

  30. Just completed after getting two days behind. Didn’t find it as easy as CS (no surprise there) but did get there unaided.
    COTD was 7d.
    Thanks Silvanus and MP..

  31. 3*/4*……
    liked 14D ” Creature adapting easily to eat half of peeled banana (5,5) “

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