DT 29951 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29951 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29951 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from sunny Warrington, your blogger is still a bit bleary-eyed from working till silly o’clock this morning, hence the placeholder. Blame new regulations attached to my job from yesterday!

And we have another puzzle from our lovely lady setter who is a bit busy this weekend, with an appearance in the Inquisitor puzzle series, plus the opening puzzle in this month’s Magpie crossword magazine. These two puzzles are of the barred variety and relate to themes, but they are always the gentlest, accessible forms of these puzzles. If you fancy dipping your toes into these puzzles I’ll try and set up a link to the Inquisitor puzzle during the day.

It’s a fine day for puzzles with Brendan (our much-missed former Sunday setter) on duty in the Guardian as well. That’s here if you want it: https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/prize/28721/print

If you want a beast of a puzzle, then Tyrus (the Guardian’s Vlad) is on duty in the Independent – that will be a bit like doing a Sparks or Elgar Toughie. https://puzzles.independent.co.uk/games/cryptic-crossword-independent is where to find it, and you can print a large print copy if you need. You have to watch an advert for access, but it’s worth it.

Advance notice for next Saturday, we have a special anniversary puzzle to celebrate, and we’ll do that in style.

As usual play nicely and even though it’s nice weather, it’s a bit chilly to be consigned to the naughty step. Right, on with the motley and let’s go…

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    Makes sense of complicated realisations (12)
We start with a straightforward anagram.

9    Secret Conservative ratified, we hear (9)
A short name for someone who votes conservative (refrains from making a joke to upset one of our readers), plus a homophone (we hear) of a word meaning to ratify or conclude a deal.

11    Concerned with seeing passport endorsement left outside university (6)
The name for a type of passport, plus an abbreviation for left go around a letter that indicates a university.

13    Stay frolicking in harem, topless (6)
I am not given to posting hints to standard anagram clues, unless as our convention they are first or last clues in that section, as with today. The anagram indicator usually gives the game away. But this one isn’t actually standard. It’s an anagram of IN plus the word HAREM topless, i.e. minus its first letter. The next clue is a similar format, but I’m going to leave it for you to work out.

18    Senior army officer without energy securing one area of overseas dependency (8)

The name for one of the top brass in the army needs to lose an ‘E’ (for energy). Replace it with the numeral for one and something meaning area.

23    Returning, rents a large type of staircase (6)
A word meaning rents, as in tears up. Reversed plus a and the abbreviation for large.

26    Directly opposite in tendency, held back by rural opinions (5)
It’s hidden and it’s reversed (held back)

28    A new part of speech to reinforce public statement (12)
A simple word-sum. A + part of speech + a word to reinforce = the definition.


1    Restore and add protective layer again (7)
If you add a protective layer once more to something, you could be said to do something. The definition here is not a million miles from that.

2    Pays attention to fashions without worry essentially (5)
A word meaning fashions minus the centre letter of worry (essentially)

5    Diligence put to the test following Indian river (8)
After the name of one of the great Indian rivers goes a word meaning test.

6    Bird of prey decapitated dog (5)
The name of a dog minus its first letter.

7    Leaves clubs and agrees every now and then to host Swedish group (8)
Take the symbol for clubs in playing cards and the alternate letters of agrees, then insert the name of a Swedish pop group (clue: it’s not Ace of Base!)

14    Spy enthralling the French copper for a tiny bit (8)
Inside the word for a spy goes the definite article in French and the chemical symbol for copper.

18    Mysterious noble turning up in empty city (6)
The name for a member of the aristocracy is reversed inside the first and last letters of the word city (shown by ’empty’)

25    Old writing implement’s available (4)
The abbreviation for old and something you write with.

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: SEE + CUE + COME + BURRS = SEA CUCUMBERS

Were you on fire solving, or more of a damp squib? Do let us know. I’ll see you next Saturday. I am off back to bed for a couple of hours, but I’ll leave you with something nice from a Danish band who make very interesting music. Try this for size!



52 comments on “DT 29951 (Hints)

  1. I feared that this puzzle might prove to be an anagram-fest after finding four in the first seven across clues, but happily this turned out not to be the case.

    Many thanks to the setter for the entertainment and in advance to Tilsit for the hints and tips.

  2. Comfortably the easiest of the week & all over far too quickly but still very enjoyable. A rather good anagrind at 13a which added to the surface was my favourite.
    I won’t go all in but it’s a big wad on Chalicea as the setter so thanks to her & to Tilsit in advance
    A 3rd successive phew with Wordle – keep having play tactically to guarantee completion.

  3. Super puzzle with some elegant clues the best of which were 20d and 14d. I even got the biblical reference!
    Lots of nice anagrams and a couple of lurkers, what more could one ask.
    Thx to all

    1. I note that it is a Chalicea puzzle which explains the quality. Many thanks Chalicea for an enjoyable entertainment.

  4. I agree with our Brian – terrific puzzle. No Oriental exotica; all the answers are detectable, as they should be in cryptic crosswords, in my opinion.
    If any answer requires an in depth knowledge of the various kings of Persia during the Achaemenid Empire then that puzzle is not for me.

    Thanks to the setter.

  5. I believe this is the first time in many years of solving puzzles that I have gone through the entire grid, one by one, without missing a beat. The relative simplicity certainly removed much of the enjoyment for me, yet I can still appreciate the setter’s art. 1a was my favourite for the clever anagram.

    Thanks to our Saturday setter and, in advance, to Tilsit.

  6. Tilsit, heading to your post today shows 29945 (last week’s no.).
    This was a pleasant accompaniment to breakfast with which to kick off the weekend with no particular Favs but some fun along the way. Thank you Chalicea (?) and Tilsit.

  7. Good fun that didn’t last long enough – */****.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 28a (an oldie but goodie), and 14d – and the winner is 14d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

  8. A really accessible and gentle puzle and very 2njoyable too (1.5*/4*). 1a was a very clever use of wordplay and I also enjoyed7d. Thanks to Chalicea And to Tilsit. Timwe for an afternoon nap for you i s think!

  9. Would have preferred a bit more of a challenge but I enjoyed it whilst it lasted. 7d was my favourite. Thanks to today’s setter and Tilsit.

  10. As others have said, this was a very enjoyable puzzle with lots of smiles along the way. I liked 15a because it took me ages to suss the bishop and I thought 7d was quite clever but my COTD is 28a. I would say why but I fear the naughty step.

    Huge thanks to my favourite setter, Chalicea for the fun and to Tilsit for the hints, which were not needed today but will now be read.

    Still cleaning and polishing ahead of daughter’s visit and Mrs. C. and I can’t wait to see her. During her visit we are going up to Yorkshire for a few days.

    I “phewed” Wordle today.

    1. Had a lucky 4 for Wordle today but then again IMHO it’s not a word that exactly springs immediately to mind!

      1. It is not. The only time I have used it is at the end of other letters or the name of a famous endodontologist (whom nobody else will have heard of).

    2. Wordle in two which is ridiculous as I have never heard of the word before but it was the only combination which would fit given my first guess.

      1. I guess your first guess was my second and yes once there there was only one answer.

    3. I “phewed” Wordle today, too. I shot myself in the foot, I had a yellow letter and forgot it!

  11. Pleasantly enjoyable as usual from this setter, especially after a very punishing NYT shocker, the kind that one among us, though not I, might call a ‘horror’. 7d and 17d made me laugh, and I needed that. Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea. 1.5* / 3.5*

  12. I don’t often say this, but over far too quickly. A lovely, light puzzle and blessedly free from those weird and not so wonderful words that some setters love to include. Great start to the weekend. Many thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

    1. I am in total agreement. Very enjoyable crossword. (I could not match Brian on Wordle though). A new word for me as well.

  13. I found this very light indeed but good fun, a great puzzle for occasional solvers and those cutting their teeth in the cruciverbalalist art.
    I did this early this morning and think I had 7d as my favourite.
    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit for the fun.

  14. OMIGOSH … a much nicer puzzle for Saturday than yesterday’s horror … for me at least. Solved this on Friday night as I needed a good solve!
    This one fell into place nicely with no head contusions.
    2*/4* today.
    Favourites include 9a, 18a, 21a, 14d, 15d & 18d with winner … and because I still call it that is 15d. I refuse to use the Amercianised terminology. Runner up would be 14d one of several great Lego clues.
    21a and 4d were very clever and chuckle worthy.
    So many great clues today in the whole puzzle it more than made up for Friday.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for hints … although not available when I solved.

  15. Great fun. Always good when you go straight in with 1a. I thought 17d was a fresh angle on an old favourite answer and 7d made me laugh. We have very changeable weather today, lovely warm sunshine then a sudden sharp shower of hail. Surprisingly George said shall we go somewhere this afternoon and then the rain started again, so I suspect we ain’t goin’ no place. Many thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

    1. The Varsity Match is on the Freesports Channel although what they are doing holding it in April I don’t know

  16. Seeing that it had warmedup from the early 28 F, i popped out to dig up a few leeks for supper . A showet of sleet ensued only to stop, when I went indoors with the leeks. What did TS Eliot say? “April is thecruellest month “. It sure is.

  17. Thanks to the setter and for the hints. I think the hint for 28a might be missing the reason for the word “new” in the clue.

  18. I don’t usually choose a favourite but I loved 7d
    My favourite setter of course. I guessed from the quickie it was Chalicea.
    Very enjoyable after a couple of “no joy” days ie. A real slog
    Don’t think I’ve used the hints at all this week bit thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea.

  19. Straightforward but fun was our thoughts on this with favourite as 7d. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  20. It was on the easier side but still enjoyable and satisfactory to solve. It was a 20d to solve and lots to like. 14d was one and for a while I thought of Agatha Christies moustachioed detective until I remembered he was Belgian. As if I needed one 4d and 24d gives me the chance to post this treat.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea

  21. This was great fun and not too troublesome so thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit. Wordle in 4 and Quordle in 9 – I really have to think hard to do the latter within the 9. My muntjac repellent of bars of soap just may be working as I have not seen one since hanging the bars of soap on Wednesday. Beautiful day if rather cold.

  22. A rather light puzzle, sadly with no stand-out clues to remember afterwards, and over pretty much before the tea had even brewed this morning!

    0.5* / 1.5*

    Thank you to the setter and to Tilsit.

  23. Many thanks Chalicea and Tilsit. Straightforward but good fun. Favourites 1a and 27a. I’d echo Tilsit’s recommendation of today’s Inquisitor by Chalicea – a good intro to barred puzzles for anyone wanting to dip their toes in (of course, you’ll need Chambers but even the most obscure words immaculately clued).

  24. Rather dim about 9d – don’t ask!!
    I might getting a bit cocky now but off to have a go at the NTSPP.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the crossword and to Tilsit for the hints.

  25. A pleasant romp through some entertaining wordplay with one or two little hiccups en route. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints which were not needed today (unusually for me) and Chalicea.

    I don’t suppose next week’s anniversary is for I. K. Brunel’s birthday (shared by yours truly, who will sadly be reaching one of those ending in 0).

  26. Completed, entirely unaded, at 4:30 p.m. That was certainly just exactly the sort of Cryptic that I like most, so many thanks to setter. I did read through clues, but only to check that my answers were correct. No need to to change anything.

  27. Thanks to Chalicia and to Tilsit for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, quite on the gentle side. The only hold up was 9a which was my LOI. Favourite was 7d. Was 1*/4* for me.

  28. Perfect Xword for me, finished earlier but just now been able to comment. I needed no help but I did get 2d wrong, so I suppose it was a DNF. Fave was 7d but 17d was right up there with the best.
    Thank you Chalicea, you’re the best of the best, and Tilsit for your hints and tips

  29. Another lovely Saturday puzzle from the lady herself. Just three clues kept this from being all my own work, mainly from going down the wrong track in 7d. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  30. Many thanks – and apologies to those who found this too straightforward. We do have a strict limit of six anagrams in a puzzle so you don’t need to worry if four appear rather early in your solve. Sometimes we need to consider them when we have a long and awkward word to clue. Many thanks to Tilsit for the blog and the Inquisitor and Magpie recommendations. Indeed, you might find those ‘straightforward’ too but the Inquisitor is a gentle one between two difficult ones and the Magpie contains three D puzzles, one that took us several hours.

    1. Chalicea
      Thank you for the puzzle.
      A question if I may: are partials included in the “quota”?

      1. Technically yes – but you can maybe smuggle in a short anagrammed word over and above the ‘six’ permitted ones. Some setters get away with even ten, say (though solvers usually complain). If there is a device in a thematic cryptic (like misprints or extra letters in the wordplay) editors will tolerate more. It depends on the editor, too. Some are sticklers for Ximenean grids but tolerate lots of anagrams, some allow poor unching but fuss about the little word ‘to’ (cluing ‘add’ as ‘to sum up’ for example). You get to know editors’ quirks. The Listener editors will not permit linkwords if there is a device that means that the definition and wordplay don’t match – that has caught many of us out. It is a good idea to get an experienced setter to test-solve if you are a newer compiler.

    2. Don’t apologize, they can never, ever be too straight forward. Anyone who finds the Cryptic too easy almost always has a Toughie for their enjoyment. Us lesser mortals appreciate something we can actually solve.

  31. Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to setter, favourites 1a and 28a, more of the same for me please.

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