DT 29949 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29949

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29949

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

Good morning everyone from a sunny deepest Devon.
If, like me, you rose this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed and with a spring in your step anticipating your fortnightly challenge with Mr T then you’re going to be a bit disappointed as I’m pretty sure this is not his work. Instead we have a pleasant puzzle that I found pretty straightforward with a couple of unusual words thrown into the mix. Who is the setter? I have my suspicions

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Galvanise York, say, almost swamped by river (6)
EXCITE: An example (say) of what York is, minus its last letter (almost) is surrounded by (swamped) one of crosswordland’s favourite rivers

4a Supplied with a grave? (8)
ACCENTED: The grave here is not a crypt or a catacomb but one of those marks that goes above French vowels in certain situations

9a Some indoor phantom appears for unfortunate child (6)
ORPHAN: Hidden in the clue (some)

10a Leaders of English nature club wanting Hampshire delights (8)
ENCHANTS: The first letters (leaders of) the following three words and a shortened name for the county of Hampshire

11a Murderer good? A right baddie! (9)
GARROTTER: The abbreviations for Good and Right into which is inserted A from the clue, are followed by a baddie, a cad or a scoundrel

13a Detectives attending the Queen drink (5)
CIDER: Some of the usual detectives followed by the queen’s royal cypher.

14a People walking out for the count? (13)
SOMNAMBULISTS: The “out for the count” here refers to people sleeping. I clocked this immediately but still needed most of the checkers.

17a ‘Money has the last word’ — agree in essence? (13)
FUNDAMENTALLY: A charade of some money in the sense of a kitty, the last word of a prayer say and a verb meaning to agree or correspond

21a Boys possessing nothing or a great deal? (5)
LOADS: An informal word for some boys surrounds (possessing) the letter that looks like nothing

23a Survival skills in the cunning devices of two US Presidents? (9)
BUSHCRAFT: Split 4-5 we have the surname of two related and relatively recent US presidents and a synonym of cunning or guile

24a Writer, for example, enthralled by unusual sites (8)
ESSAYIST: A word meaning for example is surrounded by (enthralled by) an anagram (unusual) of SITES.

25a Like dry wine, a litre that’s beastly (6)
BRUTAL: An adjective (of wine) indicating very dry, A from the clue and the abbreviation for Litre

26a Record call that is getting to the point? (8)
TAPERING: Verbs meaning to record and to make a telephone call give a word that means narrowing or coming to a point.

27a Material is wonderful and sumptuous, not hard (6)
FABRIC: A shortened or informal synonym of wonderful and a synonym of sumptuous losing the abbreviation for Hard.


1d You’ve reached the limit?  Then it is what it is! (6)
ENOUGH: One of those where the answer is easier than the hint. When you’ve reached the limit then “the solution is the solution”.

2d Decoration of a capital city? Something fraudulent about it (9)
CAPARISON: Start A from the clue, add a capital city, the one that sits on the Seine. Place a short word describing something fraudulent around the result (about)

3d Char comes into this parlour (7)
TEAROOM: The char is an informal word for the nation’s favourite drink. Add a space or an area

5d Test Rubicon somehow presents (11)
CONTRIBUTES: Anagram (somehow) of the preceding two words.

6d Occupants of Lambeth I call ‘principled‘ (7)
ETHICAL:. Hidden in the clue (occupants of)

7d Moved round without resistance — fit to play? (5)
TUNED: A verb meaning to move round or rotate loses the abbreviation for Resistance. Neat little clue

8d Suffering of duke with lover heading off (8)
DISTRESS: The abbreviation for Duke is followed by a female lover (not sure how PC the term is these days) losing her first letter (head off)

12d This base man wanders around riverside region (6,5)
THAMES BASIN: Anagram (wanders) of the previous three words. Thought the fodder in this was a little too close to the solution.

15d Employer of agents unusually smart, yes? Must keep quiet! (9)
SPYMASTER: Anagram (unusually) of the following two words and (must keep) the abbreviation of the musical instruction to play quietly.

16d Well-off ace, loud and articulate (8)
AFFLUENT: We have the opposite musical instruction to the previous clue here. It’s preceded by the abbreviation for Ace and followed by a synonym of articulate as an adjective.

18d Analyst — idiot always right (7)
ASSAYER: Start with one of crosswordland’s favourite idiots, follow it with an adverb that can (especially in Scotland) mean always and the abbreviation for Right.

19d Group of stars given censure before beginning to receive thanks (7)
LACERTA: A not very obvious synonym of censure in the sense of criticise followed by the first letter (beginning) of Receive and an informal word for thanks

20d Not upright as a character (6)
ITALIC: The character here is a letter or typeface that slants.

22d Storyteller needs the drink served up before work (5)

AESOP: Reverse (served up) an informal name for a large body of water and follow it by the usual two-letter abbreviation for work. That reminds me, my daily dips will be starting soon.

Quickie Pun GLUE + COSE = GLUCOSE.


73 comments on “DT 29949

  1. Enjoyable, nothing esoteric (with 19d fairly clued if unusual), and a half-cup of still-hot coffee left at the end. Plenty of smiles from this well-crafted puzzle, and a generous helping of red herrings. Hon mentions to 14a and 17a, with COTD to 23a.

    1.5 / 3

    Many thanks to the setter and to Stephen L

  2. Found this enjoyable and satisfying.
    Last in 1a and 2d which put me into *** time.
    17a one of many excellent clues.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Stephen L.

  3. 2*/2*. I was rather underwhelmed by this puzzle today but perhaps my mood was affected by the absence of RayT whom I was hoping and expecting to see.

    There were two new words for me in 2d & 19d, and I couldn’t make sense of the surface of 5d.

    Thanks to the mystery setter and to SL. And as always on a Thursday, best wishes to Kath.

    1. Hi RaDa

      5d is saying ‘Crossing this Italian river could be tricky’ though, for Caesar, it was a walk in the park, so to speak.

  4. Areasonably challenging puzzle, which I enjoyed (2.5*/4*). I likedthe lego clue 17a aand geographically inspired 2d but the cryptic definition at 14a was my COTD. Thanks to SL for the hints and to the compiler (not Ray T? But well clued nevertheless). I don’t know about Spring, SL, we’ve had snow flurries all morning here in Oxfordshire brrr.

  5. I immediately knew that the compiler today was not Mr T from the quickie; his are always single-word clues. So on to the cryptic: after one pass, I had three solved, and I began to sweat a bit, but working from the bottom upwards, solutions fell rapidly and I finished in fast time for a Thursday. All of the long answers came in good time, with the two across ones (14a, 17a) duking it out for top honours along with 23a and 19d, my LOI. Lots of clever misdirection here, with 4a and 1d winning special Clarkies (clues that tickle me). Most enjoyable fare but no idea who set this one, so thanks to Stephen L, whose review I’ll read now, and today’s compiler. ** / ****

  6. 14a was my top clue this morning, mainly because it is such a terrific word. I did not find the puzzle particularly testing, but there were enough misdirections and humour to rescue it and make it an enjoyable solve.

    My thanks to our Thursday setter and SL.

  7. A pleasant solve and nothing more. It was nice to see the return of an old favourite at 2 down. I remember trying to find a suitable illustration for it a couple of years ago. No food again but I’ll make do with the alcohol at 13 across, a summer drink on this snowy day. Thanks to the setter today and to SL.
    My Wordle is again different to Saint Sharon’s. Her answer today is the same as mine was yesterday. It seems that I am ahead of the game.

    1. I don’t want to spoil Wordle for anyone, but does your word or SS’s mean humble? I just wondered where I was on the Wordle scale. Rather spoils it otherwise. I did it in 5 today and yet to tackle Quordle

      1. Mine did Manders. I may be mistaken but I’m sure I read somewhere that the English version is a day behind the NYT having rejected a word.

      2. Mine could mean that, got it in 4, but Peter beat me as usual, doing it in 3. Sad to say, I bombed today in Canuckle.

        1. Tried Canuckle for the first time. Strange only today I commented I couldn’t recall a certain feature cropping up in Wordle so far but it is clearly not the case with Canuckle.

  8. Unlike MG it was a 3 cup of coffee solve for this foggy brain. 2&19d also unfamiliar to me & arrived at via the wordplay. A pleasant enough puzzle but I too was disappointed not to see Ray T. I like to kid myself that I’m (with the help of this site) getting better at crosswords but I’m still often embarrassingly slow to twig the obvious – with 23a I was mentally trawling back through the chronology of presidents (can get to McKinley in order without cheating) looking for the second one before that penny dropped. Thought the across clues better than the downs with ticks for 10,14,17,23&27.
    Gloriously sunny here in Harpenden but chilly.
    Thanks to the setter & Stephen plus TTFK.
    Another phew with Wordle & struggling with half a dozen left in the Toughie.

      1. Thursday Thoughts for Kath? (Note to self press refresh before writing a reply!)

  9. Like others I was looking forward to a Ray T Thursday but this substitute was pleasantly enjoyable – **/***.

    Candidates for favourite – 4a, 14a, 2d, and 22d – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL and Thursday thoughts for Kath.

  10. Had to look in my diary to make sure it was Thursday. Straightforward and middle- of-the-road.
    Like others 19d new but easily gettable and I wonder whether anyone uses 11a.
    Nothing stood out I’ll go for 9a as MP hasn’t used the term for a while.
    Thank you to setter and SL.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying is my verdict on today’s offering. I did need the hint for 19d but all else succumbed after engaging a few synapses. I was expecting Ray T but it was not he given the structure of the clues both in the Quickie and Cryptic. Whoever set it provided plenty of fun and I have ticks against 1a, 11, 23a, 1d and 8d. My COTD 14a for the penny it caused to drop.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to StephenL for the hints.

    A cold and bitter wind blows across The Marches today and snow lies on the hills. Glad I didn’t sow any seeds last week.

    A Wordle fail today. Had five letters and picked the wrong last one.

    1. Me too Steve. Very disappointing my second failure so I stand at 98%! I just chose the wrong consonant.

  12. I didn’t think much of 19d. My ignorance of constellations ran right into an obscure synonym, although thankfully there weren’t any real alternatives. The rest was pretty straightforward.

    Thanks to today’s setter and SL.

  13. Certainly a better Thursday puzzle than some we have had. My only gripe is with 19d, if you are going to introduce a strange word then the wordplay should be clearer. Having said that I really liked 17a and 14a. Overall an enjoyable crossword.
    Thx to all

    1. I tempted to keep a list of Brian Quotes. One day they may make Rookie Corner redundant

  14. I really enjoyed that gentle exercise with only 4a holding out whilst I tried to parse accepted but when penny dropped it became my Fav although perhaps not so for everyone. 27a and 2d came with a bit of electronic help. Thank you lenient Mysteron and StephenL.

  15. Well this certainly wasn’t a Ray T puzzle, but to me didn’t feel like a Giovanni either, but considering I thanked Jay for yesterday and was wrong, I make no calls on this one.
    Solved this Wednesday pm, so no hints available. Rate this one 2.5*/4* today.
    Favourites include 4a, 10a, 17a, 16a & 20d with winner 10a but 20d a close second.
    Unknown words for me in 2d & 19d but with al the other letters filled in they had to be what they were.
    Got a chuckle out of 1d and 23a

    Thanks to setter and StephenL for hints.

  16. Not too bad today, a couple of new words for me. Perishing cold here and the decorator is having to leave the front door open! Who is our setter today I wonder? Anyway thanks to him or her and Steven L. Managed Quordle in 6.

  17. A nice surprise to find it wasn’t RayT and an enjoyable crossword too

    Thanks to the setter and StephenL

  18. Another slow solve for me, and I resorted to crossword solver for 19D. 4A was my first in and favorite. Thanks to Stephen and the setter. Hugs to Kath.

  19. I really liked 4a, it made me laugh when the penny dropped. 1d was last one in. 10 & 14 & 26a and 22d got Daisy stars though I’m sure we have had 14a in the past. Anyway, a very nice puzzle (apart from 19d ) on a very cold day so many thanks to Setter and Hinter and love to Kath.

  20. Well we know this wasn’t Rayt but when I got to 12d and saw the first word I thought of Kath’s favourite detective but he worked for ****** Valley. If Miffs wants something to eat he will have to use a bit of 23a and catch his own (preferably before too much 13a has been consumed, alternatively 3d may provide a scone or two. 2d and 20d my choice today and just for Kath 2d the one for me.
    Thanks to setter and SL

    1. Is the 3 down licensed to sell alcohol? I’m not going if it isn’t. Anyway I’ve got this

  21. Unlike most of the commentariat on here I was pleased it was not a Ray T as I would not have finished it. 23a my favourite even if it was obvious.

  22. I got the new words through the play then stumbled on 1a & 1d, pencilling in ‘though’ ruined my day. Thanks setter & SL for straightening me out.

  23. 17a was a bung-in for me but I’ve just lined up the Lego bricks! Beautiful.

  24. 2/4. Quality puzzle and very enjoyable. 2&19d were gettable but for me very obscure. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to all.

  25. I found this very difficult, just couldn’t get on wave length, two words I’ve never heard of , or don’t remember, 2 & 19d, didn’t help. And as for 4a I have enough trouble with English and know nothing about marks that sometimes go above vowels in the French language. Thanks to all.

  26. Hello everyone,
    Oh dear – just when to expect and look forward to a crossword by Ray T on the usual alternate Thursday – WRONG!!
    We used to recognise Ray T’s crosswords by his trademarks – today’s was obviously not his by several omissions.
    I don’t have a clue who could have been the setter today but so far no-one has ‘owned up’ and neither has anyone had any suggestions to make.
    Thanks to the setter, who he or she might be, and to StephenL.

      1. Yes I have just been to the dentist in Dorking and witnessed a few flakes but now back home and sunshine across the border in West Sussex.

    1. Hi Kath, good to hear from you.
      Not sure who set this one either but it was enjoyable enough so the disappointment of a “non Ray T” didn’t last too long!

  27. I’d certainly never heard of ‘to cose’. Am I the only one? Kicking myself regarding 1d, otherwise hard but fair. Thank you Stephen for your efforts as ever and thank you also to the mystery setter.

  28. Didn’t find this easy, but it did restore my confidence after my abysmal failure yesterday. 2d and 19d were new words for me. I hesitated before penning in 11a, having never heard that before, but if someone can be called a strangler, then it makes sense that this works too. Did enjoy 14a and 26a. Thanks to setter and StephenL. Do hope those Red Cross buses make it there and back ok.

  29. I’m in the tricky camp, the SE was what did me in, not that any of it was easy. I wasn’t fooled by “grave” or “people walking”, so something in the brain is still working. Of course I didn’t know the group of stars but google did. Fave was 2d, conjures up lovely visions of Ivanhoe.
    Thanks setter and StephenL, I needed you this morning. Wordle in 5.

  30. A dnf for me. 1d is beyond my comprehension even with the hint and answer.

    2d, 14a and 19d are all new words to me.

    23a had me looking for 2 presidents with different names…

    Thanks to all.

    1. Hi bananawarp.
      Re 1d …when you’ve reached the limit “enough is enough”. Hope that helps.

  31. Haven’t got time to read the comments but I found straightforwardly enjoyable even though I hadn’t heard of 2d or 19d but they were fairly clued. Favourite was 17a. Thanks to the setter and SL.

  32. There were so many interrogation marks in this crossword that I wondered if I should continue.
    Both the clues and my brain were littered with them.
    Needed a few hints to finish.
    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the help.
    Hello to Kath.

  33. Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the review and hints. I was 8 answers short, 4 in each of the NW and SE corners. I resorted to the hints for 2&19d, had never heard of either of them. Managed to get the rest with the checkers. Was 3* / 2* for me.

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