DT 29945 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29945 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29945 Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from sunny Warrington, where the tree in our front garden has regained its foliage in the last seven days.

Another visit from Chalicea today and today’s puzzle seems a little trickier than usual and I’m guessing we’ll have a lot more visitors because of one explanation. It feels like it may have fallen off the Tuesday Toughie shelf by mistake. It’s nice to have something more challenging. In fact, most of today’s back page puzzles are by setters known for slightly trickier puzzles. Today’s Guardian prize puzzle by Vlad is an absolute beast. The Financial Times is probably the exception by our Sunday setter.

If you are wondering around Stirling today, and spot some familiar faces, it’s the annual Listener Crossword Dinner organised brilliantly each year by Jane Teather and John Henderson (Elgar).

This year it has made a return to Scotland after a number of years. The dinner will be at the University, but if you are in the vicinity, you could meet some of your tormentors during the afternoon at the Meadowpark pub nearby from around 12 until 6pm. Do go and say hello and introduce yourself, you’ll be made very welcome. I know Chalicea will be there! Sadly, work prevents me from attending, but I will try to make next year’s. It’s a lovely event. Hopefully by the end of the year, we will be able to plan one of our gatherings.

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.


4    Angry about university recruitment, essentially, following good financial gift (8)
After the abbreviation for good goes a word meaning cross or tetchy, and inside that, you need to fit something representing a university and the middle letters (essentially) of recruitment.

8    Vitality of black feline (6)
After the abbreviation for black goes an alternative word for the snow-leopard.

11    Ceremony with religious song lacking special mysticism at heart (6)
You need to take the word for an American religious song, and remove the abbreviation for special and the middle letter of mysticism.

12    Element of regret over narcotic (8)
A word for regret reversed, plus the name of a drug.

23    Manufacturer adding barrels to stocks (8)
A cryptic definition for someone who uses barrels and stocks, but not in the way a cooper would.

24    Dreadful toccatas with each note disconnected (8)
An anagram of toccatas to give another musical term.

25    Unaccompanied student merely goes round Spain (6)
After an abbreviation for a student goes the word merely wrapped around the IVR code for Spain.

26    Abuse whisky on a trip, initially (8)
After a type of whisky goes a short word meaning on or about, plus A and the initial letter of trip.


1    Rough cover left on casing of uranium (7)
The name for a rough criminal can be found by taking the word for a cover is followed by left and the outside letters (case) of uranium.

3    The old folk, one a Gulf inhabitant (6)
An ancient word for ‘the’ plus some people and the numeral for one.

4    Rile person by acquiring their browser? (3,8,4)
Now then! I suspect some of our constant moaners will be seething about this, but it is entirely fair. An expression that means to irritate someone is found when you say that you are going acquire their animal that browses (look up the meaning of browse in any reputable dictionary. If you want to, you could rewrite the clue as ‘Be cross when fetching another’s butter?’

5    Supplies of aid from harassed prison-guard lacking working gun (8)
In the same way as last week’s clues features an anagram with an anagram of letters removed, here’s another. An anagram of PRISON-GUARD, minus an anagram of the word GUN.

6    Worry mates publicly climbing houses (5)
A reverse hidden.

15    Unruffled involving publicity for lover’s song, maybe (8)
I thought about playing Renee and Renato’s Save Your Love to illustrate this, but no-one has been that naughty this week (apart from V Putin Esq). A word for peaceful or tranquil with a short word for an advertisement inside.

17    Lack of movement as one European boards broken-down train (7)
One and the abbreviation for European goes inside an anagram of train.

22    Ornament with little loops in centre of hand-picked baby bed (5)
A type of ornamental work in crochet is made up of the middle two letters of hand-picked and the name for a baby’s bed. The pictures are always here to help.

Have you dined royally on today’s puzzle? Or was the fare on its way back to the kitchen? Let us know your thoughts and as usual, please play nicely.

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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!

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The Quick Crossword pun: PAY + PERT + RAIL = PAPER TRAIL

Music today is in honour of the Oscars. From a film generally regarded as one of the worst of all time (it was a sequel to a much more admired film) came this Oscar nomination, and it’s simply lovely. Enjoy.


56 comments on “DT 29945 (Hints)

  1. Usual tough Saturday which needed considerable thought. 22d was a new word to me (thx Google) and I liked 12a, 2d and 3d but not 4a which I thought was clumsy.
    Lots of lovely anagrams although sometimes difficult to pick as in 5d.
    Thx to all

  2. Well, I thought that this mavellous puzzle was just the bee’s-knees, and I loved it. Tougher than the usual Chalicea gift but even more engaging because of that. Took me a while to twig the ‘browser’ reference, but once I did, I laughed out loud, and 4d leapt to the top of the charts for me. I also liked 4a, 23a, 11a, 3d, & 5d. Great fun indeed, with thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea.
    2.5* / 4.5*

  3. A.tricky little.devil of..SPP(4*/3*), especially in the NW. i enjoyed23a.and 12a..best of.the clues. and.srill.have a.feI.can’t.parse, so I shall have.to.wait.for the review . Thanks.tjo Chalicea and.to.Tilsit.for.the.hints.

  4. Just popping in to thank the Puzzles Editor for changing the position of the Giant GK Crossword in the puzzles section to make it much more solver-friendly

    1. As we’re doling out thanks, may I say thanks to you for the hints on DT 26310 a mere 12 years ago. I’m working my way through the first book of cryptic crosswords and that’s where I’m up to!

  5. I found this very hard, but it is, of course, an excellent puzzle, and I (eventually) completed it without help from Tilsit. I find the most satisfying ‘solves’ come from a starting point when I look at the page and think, “Oh Gawd – I can’t even get one!”
    Then I find an anagram, perhaps a lurker, and I’m up and running…

    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  6. Indeed as Robert says this was the very joint that allows my leg to bend in the middle.
    A couple in the NE were slow to parse (11a) but 4d was a great PDM and Mama Bee the knitter here liked 22d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  7. Strangely given the foregoing comments, I didn’t find this at all hard. Checking my BRB for the answer to 22d was my only hold up. It was a pleasure to solve and I thought it was absolutely excellent with 4d my runaway favourite.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

  8. Very enjoyable and reasonably straightforward although I did have a couple of Hmms on the way to completion, but as CS always reminds us, our Floughie Lady setter always verifies in the BRB, and so should we – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 23a, 2d, and 15d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

  9. A verrrry slow start, then a race to the finish line. Loved it… especially the “browser”! Thanks Chalicea and Tilsit. 2*/5*.

  10. All done in decent time…and before daybreak thanks to the dreadful daylight savings time. 4D was the runaway favorite for me. Thanks Tilsit and Chalicea.

  11. Nice to see Chalicea has given us a bit more of a challenge today & enjoyed it immensely. A little annoyed that I failed to twig the fairly obvious parsing of 11a & I also had to confirm what 22d is but otherwise reasonably straightforward. 4d my favourite clue by some distance with mentions for 4,12,23&26a plus 1,3,5&17d. Lovely stuff.
    Thanks to C&T – can’t seem to access the music so curious as to what the film is. I’m hoping POTD & Jane Campion triumph at the Oscars & Benedict beats Will.
    Ps Wordle in 4 today – reckon a few sequences may end with this one.

    1. Will (who is indeed very good as Father Williams) appears to be a lock, and I still haven’t seen POTD, darn it. I really liked the extraordinary Jessica Chastain as, of all things, Tammy Faye (in a rather messy and schlocky movie that I watched the other night). Campion appears to be the favourite over here, with CODA coming on strong as Best Movie.

      1. Well done on your Elgar completion yesterday. I may be inspired to have a stab at it. I’ve a week’s worth of Graun puzzles + Tues/Wed Toughies to catch up on.

    2. “That’ll Do, Pig” from Babe…but I thought it appeared in the original and not the sequel. Shows what I know.

  12. Any doubts about the authorship of this one were dispelled by 22d – not something I’ve ever mastered!
    26a raised a smile and my favourite was 4d

  13. First of all, my huge thanks and appreciation for all your good wishes for Mrs. C. after her fall. She has had a good night’s sleep (as have I) and is feeling much better apart from a very sore derrière. After nine hours on a hard wooden floor it’s not surprising. I have promised to get a carpet fitted!

    On to the puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was not surprised to see it was by Chalice as it had her stamp all over it. Many head scratchers to irritate the follicles and dropping pennies galore. I hadn’t heard of either 12a or 22d but they were quite gettable from the clues. My absolute favourite and COTD is 3d.

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

    Another sunny day in The Marches so I spent the morning stacking logs – Joy! It’s a satisfying pastime and I believe it is an art form in Scandinavia.

    Not tackled Wordle yet but managed yesterday’s while waiting the nine hours for the ambulance. On a day when I wanted it to take some time, I got it in 3.

    1. I don’t know if you get the dead tree version of the Telegraph, but there’s a story about an elderly gentleman who fell and broke his hip while at a concert – the band played on while he waited for an ambulance which took ages to arrive

      1. Yes, I have just read that article, CS. It was fortunate there were medical folk available and how nice of the orchestra to continue playing and some members of the audience staying with him. Mrs. C. had to put up with me and Boom radio! :grin:

  14. Interesting letter on the letters page about the dangers of doing the DT back pager on the underground by Stephen Woodbridge-Smith.

  15. Although you certainly didn’t need to be 16a to solve this it was good fun throughout.
    Nothing jumps out at me as a favourite but I thought the surface read at 2d was quite sweet.
    Many thanks to the setter and blogger.

  16. Chalicea more user friendly for me than usual today making for an altogether enjoyable workout. Social creature in 2d failed to ring a bell but rest of word made solution obvious. Read first word of 22d as omament but that made no difference. Once again (note to self) remember 18d is an alternative spelling. 23a is possibly not the first thing to come to mind as being a manufacturer. 4d was fun to figure out once the correct browser had been identified. Thank you Chalicea and Tilsit particularly for the “Kind of Steady Heart” (perfect as I celebrate my late husband’s 106th birthday (he was older than I!) in the glorious sunshine.

  17. Definitely a harder and trickier Saturday puzzle than recent offerings that took me well into 3* time. Top was much harder than the lower section. A couple of hmm’s in this one but some nice clues too. Favourites include 9a, 13a, 23a, 1d & 17d with winner 17d. Several gave me a chuckle like 1d & 20d.
    Never heard of of the animal in 8a being called that or being known by that word. Just thought it was a weight measure.

    Thanks to the very tricky Chalicea today & Tilsit for the hints.

    1. I believe there are more appearances of that particular feline in cryptic crosswords than there are actual examples of them in the wild!

  18. Late on parade today but I really enjoyed this excellent puzzle, with 4d the clear winner by a distance. Certainly at the tougher end of our usual setter’s spectrum but all the more rewarding for it.

    My thanks to Chalicea for the challenge and to Tilsit.

  19. Thanks to Chalicia and to Tilsit for the hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I needed the hints to parse 11a&25a and 5d. Favourite was 12a. LOI was 25a. Great fun, was 3* /4* for me.

  20. Chalicea comes up roses once again. I had to use e-help for 12a, my science knowledge is extremely poor, however, I’ve muddled through life without it. Many crackers here but 4d gets top spot hands down.
    Thank you Chalicea for the fun and Tilsit for the hints and tips. Medvedev just creamed my Murray, oh dear, and a “phew” Wordle in 6. At least I didn’t crash and burn.

    1. Murray didn’t play his best but put up a noble fight against the world No.2. Sad that two more Brits, Heather Watson and Dan Evans, also went out today.

  21. I was swimming against the tide today, unusual for a Chalicea. Normally I need few hints to finish, but not the case today. Biggest hold up was my lack of science knowledge in 12a. We did cover it in school but I was totally switched off in chemistry and physics, and only slightly interested in biology (life cycle of the amoeba, yawn). And I forgot the name of 23a, which is pretty pathetic living here where their products are so popular. But enjoyable nonetheless. Just prefer it when I don’t need any hints. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  22. My thanks for hints , although I still haven’t got the answers for all the hinted ones.
    for me, this one is going to need quite a lot of Danword or Crossword Genius help! Never mind, it sits there on the CCTV to be looked at on and off for days!!

    Last saturday’s I was only able to do on Thursday, because Synthetic Dave wasn’t functioning properly, but that was just right for me, although I couldn’t do first and third letters of ‘schemes for identification.

  23. I seem to be against the majority but I didn’t take to this. Didn’t like 4d, 25a, 14d (not a clue why it’s the answer) and hadn’t heard of 12a. Maybe I had too much sun! Thanks for the hints – just finished it.

  24. What a very fine crossword, thanks Chalicea! Favourites for me were 12a and 16a and 2d, the latter because I did run away with my beloved to wed at Gretna Green! Thanks to Tilsit for the hints.

  25. Oh dear predictive text not checked! For ‘walk ring’ read waiting. Anyway, finally they have gone and I’ve done the crossword – a great pleasure, lots to like. I smiled at 22d which I thought would probably catch the men – payback for some of the obscure sporty clues which stump me. (Stump – haha) many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  26. Thank you Chalicea for the workout today! I thought you had me totally stumped with a very slow start, however, with a couple of anagrams and some grinding & head-scratching, I eventually completed a very satisfying puzzle…in the end! 😅
    Nice to arrive here and immediately see a couple of Tilsit’s pictures which confirmed 3 of the more awkward clues – thank you Sir for the blog ‘n hints as ever.👍

  27. Brilliant, very challenging and satisfying to complete unaided.
    Loved 3d.
    Last in, to my shame, 26a which pushed me into nudging **** time.
    Many thanks, indeed, Chalicea, and Tilsit.

  28. New member here.
    As usual, some clues that could be rattled off quite quickly, and some that were really deep!
    Favourite was 4D…I needed several of the across ones first to get me ‘thinking out of the box’!

  29. Chalicea here. I couldn’t join you to comment yesterday as we were very busy in Stirling, at the Listener Setters’ Dinner from Friday evening on (till the early hours this morning). Some time later in the week I’ll be able to put about a hundred photos on the Crossword Centre Message board (of the various pub gtherings, the dinner and the presentations). Shark’s wonderful crossword about the first telegraph message that caught a murderer won him the Ascot Gold Cup. David Giles won the Solver Silver Salver. Crossword runners-up were Poat and Enigmatist (known to many as Elgar). A truly wonderful event in a dazzlingly beautiful and cloudless Scotland which is performing its best.
    As always, I am really pleased that the Saturday prize competition went down well. Thank you for the lovely comments and especially to Tilsit for the time he puts in and the warm welcome Chalicea ones get.

    1. Who said crossword setters don’t know how to enjoy themselves?

      You may all be interested that the prize for the best Listener Puzzle of the year, as voted for by setters themselves is the Ascot Gold Cup. It was kindly donated by the setter Allan Scott (his pseudonym for barred puzzles was Ascot) and it is neither gold nor IIRC is it a cup but a salver.

      The Listener Puzzles are beautifully creative and do require that leap of faith. The Shark one that won was amazing, but I did prefer Elgar’s (Enigmatist) puzzle that recreated the cover of the Spice Girls’ first album with the letters of SPICE on ‘the cover’ each describing one of the members as described by their nicknames.

  30. I have tried to edit the comment, to add that Allan Scott was a DT setter for many years, although I think he has retired within the last 12 months.

    I can’t seem to get the editing device to work.

  31. There is also a newer trophy for the best record of new solvers for the year – the Roddie Forman Cup, and it was won by a young couple, Nick Butler and Abi. the issue with the Enigmatist puzzle was that you had to delete almost all of the solutions and just leave SPICE GIRLS in the puzzle and a ring (their first cover) and some of us who had votes (the 38 ‘all corrects’) don’t like all the effort of solving, then deleting.

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