DT 29955 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29955

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29955

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Beaver Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Let’s play guess the setter. It is one of your favourites and definitely not RayT or Giovanni

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Disagree having fewer commitments is example to follow (6,6)
OBJECT LESSON: Begin with a verb meaning to voice disagreement. Add a word which when split 4,2 means to have fewer things to do

9a Tactful broadcast about university beginning to embrace change (9)
FLUCTUATE: An anagram (broadcast) of TACTFUL surrounds the abbreviation for university and is capped off with the first letter of the word embrace

10a Stupid article fiancée regularly defends (5)
INANE: The alternate letters of the word Fiancée surround an article. The articleI have just used

11a Acclaims opening vote on Wednesday essentially being rejected (6)
EXTOLS: A three part charade. 1 The essential or central letter of Wednesday 2 The letter used to cast your vote 3 The reverse of an opening such as one that money passes through in your money box or one armed bandit

12a One who suffers if workers are idle? (8)
APIARIST: If these insect workers are idle we will not have any honey. This person looks after the workers that make our honey

13a Extremely good sailor returns to visit island (6)
TOBAGO: An adverb meaning to a higher degree than is desirable contains the reversed term for an able bodied seaman and the abbreviation for good

15a Suggest I’m at ease receiving valuation (8)
ESTIMATE: Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word received

18a Edge over towards European wearing fine scarlet stole (8)
PILFERED: Begin with a three lettered synonym of the word edge. Reverse it (over) add the abbreviations for European and fine in the order suggested by the wording of the clue. Add a colour descriptive of scarlet

19a Free to think once more? (6)
REDEEM: Split 2,4 an archaic word meaning to free from slavery by paying a ransom will mean to think again

21a Quality  goods (8)
PROPERTY: A double definition. The second being goods one owns

23a Archaeologists find them buried in rows, reportedly (6)
SKULLS: These parts of the human skeleton might be discovered by an archaeologist sound like a synonym of the word rows. Rows in a single person boat on the water that is

26a Poet’s son promoted to something important in brewery (5)
YEAST: A Nobel prize winner in 1923 this poet needs the letter which abbreviates son moving to the left to find a major ingredient used in a brewery. Our setter is most generous. Knowing that I like a bit of food and drink in a puzzle he has provided an entire brewery for me. Cheers mate

27a Some clinics sent penicillin back, showing incompetence (9)
INEPTNESS: Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some. To make it harder to see it is reversed as indicated by the word back

28a Fine centre running, about to break through obstruction (12)
INTERFERENCE: An anagram (running) of FINE CENTRE contains (to break through) a two letter word favoured by setters and meaning about


1d Bad live act shunned by clubs that’s unusual (7)
OFFBEAT: Begin with a word meaning bad which is often used for rotten food. Add a short verb meaning to live or exist. Add the word act from the clue minus the abbreviation for clubs

2d Not entirely smart trip (5)
JAUNT: Find a somewhat stretched (in my opinion) synonym of the word smart and remove its last letter. Checkers will be your friends here. If you don’t like synonyms being described as stretched You are just going to have suck it up because It’s the word I favour

3d Got a clue easily, accepting answer in list (9)
CATALOGUE: Anagram (easily) of GOT A CLUE plus the abbreviation for answer  thanks to Young Salopian for the edit

4d See American female making bloomer, maybe (4)
LOAF: Begin with an archaic exclamation used to draw attention to something. Add the abbreviations for American and female. This bloomer does not flower. It does make nice sandwiches though

5d Embarrassed, rather like you on the radio? (8)
SHEEPISH: A homophone based upon the similarity between the word you and a female farm animal. Clever clever clever.

6d Board of Unilever implementing joint agreement initially (5)
OUIJA: The initial letters of five consecutive words in the clue will provide your answer

7d Prove vat ideal for cooking (8)
VALIDATE: Anagram (cooking) of VAT IDEAL

8d Annoy Head of English after in-depth talk occasionally (6)
NETTLE: The initial letter or head of the word English follows the alternate or occasional letters of the words in depth talk

14d Vocal support for male dog around royal residence (8)
BALMORAL: A word meaning spoken supports the reversal of the abbreviation for male and a type of dog which comes in yellow, black or chocolate colours and slobbers a lot

16d Cousins or Dean perhaps Eric takes swimming (3-6)
ICE SKATER: Anagram (swimming) of ERIC TAKES. John Cousins and Torville’ partner (Can’t remember his name) in the Olympic sport once described as ‘twatting about on ice’

17d Defend greatest attraction at Alton Towers? (8)
BESTRIDE: Split 4,4 this might describe the superlative attraction at any theme park

18d Fruit always consumed by father (6)
PAPAYA: A term for ones father surrounds an old way of saying always.

20d Essential to visit sacred figure in French museum (4-3)
MUST SEE: The abbreviation for a sacred or canonised figure needs to be inserted into the French word for a museum

22d A number following cybercrime ultimately put away (5)
EATEN: A three part charade consisting of: 1 The final letter of the word cybercrime 2 The letter A gifted by today’s setter 3 A number, one that lies between nine and eleven will do

24d Extra morning rest, with student that is popular! (3-2)
LIE IN: The usual letter associated with students is followed by a Latin abbreviation for that is and finished off with a word meaning popular or trendy

25d Complaint left one lacking in confidence (4)
BEEF: Find a synonym of the word confidence and remove the letters suggested by the words left and one. Thanks to Stephen Lord and Cryptic Sue for help with this one

Quickie Pun Choler  + Beaune = Collar Bone


100 comments on “DT 29955

  1. Top quality puzzle with a couple of PDM’s and smiles throughout the grid.
    It’s hard to look beyond the excellent 1a as favourite but I think the brilliant 25d just tops it with 12a plus 5,14,&17d getting big ticks too.
    Many thanks to the setter (super smooth surfaces 😉) and MP for the top notch entertainment.

    1. Sorry, I can’t work out how ‘you’ sounds like she on the radio, unless the you is female. I solved the clue before looking at the hints. Can she enlighten me?

      1. The you is a homophone (on the radio) of ewe, a female sheep Rob, the rather like being “ish”

        1. The you on the radio is the same sounding of YOU but refers to the animal (female sheep) ewe. On the radio means that it just gives the sound of the word. Greg

  2. A long winded slog for me I’m afraid and not my cup of tea (5*/1.5*). I really find it sifficult to get on this setter’s wave-length, although I did eventually finish the puzzle. The anagrams were the best clues for me. Thanks to the setter and to MP for the hints.

  3. I really enjoyed this one. 25d was my standout clue from several candidates although 1a ran it very close. Hugely entertaining with some excellent surface readings tells me this was probably the work of Silvanus, so thanks to him and MP.

  4. The bottom half went in swimmingly but the top half took me ages. I was struggling to spell 6d having not realised it was neatly spelt out for me. Agree with Chriscross, quite a slog really. Wordle in 3 (lucky) and Quordle in 6 yesterday. Thanks to the setter for the slog and MP for showing me how I got there.

    1. The common misconception is that 6d originates from the amalgamation of the French and German for yes.

      But it’s a neat way to remember its spelling.

  5. The Shakespearean 17d (“…he doth 17d the world like a Colossus”), the witty 5d, and the stymie-ing 12a (I needed MP’s hint for that one, having gone through the alphabet and failed) get my top votes on this very taxing puzzle for me. I just could not properly focus on ‘suffers’ or ‘workers’ for 12a and now could kick myself all the way to Savannah. Enjoyable nonetheless, with thanks to MP and today’s setter. ***** / ***

    Opening Day for Major League Baseball, my passion. Go, Braves! Go, Red Sox!

      1. For workers I thought of bees and ants. Suffers from a lack of honey. Greg

    1. It’s also the opening day of this year’s cricket County Championship. I wonder if those usually co-incide?

      1. Didn’t I tell you last year how much I love the Cubbies? Spent a terrific week at Wrigley Field back when I was still travelling. It’s mainly that the Braves are just across the state line from me, and I am obliged to cheer for the Atlanta squad. I always wish the Cubbies well.

        1. Robert I saw them in Spring Training in Scottsdale one year & started to follow them

  6. Really enjoyed the solve, excellently clued with some D’oh moments thrown in as per 17d. favourite was 6d for the clever surface, last in was 5d -thanks MP for the parsing. Took a while to parse 9a until the penny dropped.The key to the puzzle was 1a and I completed the bottom half before I saw the light-another top clue.
    Going for a ***/****

  7. Like all good puzzles, this one drew me on to the next part whilst still leaving doubts about finishing it. Always good when your ‘reach’ just exceeds the boundaries of your expectation. actually finished it before Big dave’s post. That is good for me! My mother used to say that it took longer fro her to prepare a meal than it took to eat it and i think the compiler represents my mother in that analogy. Thanks !!

  8. Reckon YS’s punt on this being a Silvanus production a good call. Some super smooth surfaces & clever misdirection added up to an extremely enjoyable albeit a pedestrian solve for me. 12a&20d the main culprits & both took me an embarrassingly long time to eventually twig. Loads of ticks on my page – 1,12,18&26a plus 5,6,20&25d the standouts.
    Thanks to the setter & to MP whose review I’ll read later.
    Wordle in 4

  9. Yes, YS and Huntsman are correct, well done!

    Thanks to MP for his Hints and Tips, I think he has mixed up John Curry and Robin Cousins though! Remarkable how a country with so few ice rinks as ours could produce those Olympic champions in 1976 and 1980 and also the Ice Dance gold medallists in 1984.

    Thanks to all for your contributions thus far. Rather than “guess the setter” I tend to play “guess the adjective Brian will use”. It probably won’t be “ghastly” as he opted for that one last Friday, but whatever it is I suspect it won’t be complimentary!

    1. Aha! I suspected this might have been your handiwork, Silvanus. I could see immediately this was not a RayT puzzle (and in any event he is appearing in the guise of Beam in the Toughie slot today), and very soon afterwards it was apparent that this was not the work of our other, now less regular Thursday setter.

      I thought this was one of your best ever compositions and too good for a 5* enjoyment rating! I could have selected a top ten (or more) but I’ll settle for a fabulous five: 1a, 21a, 5d, 17d & 20d.

      Very well done, Silvanus and many thanks.

    2. I should imagine a “ghastly” from Brian is a badge of honour for a setter Silvanus!
      Thanks again for a very fine puzzle.

    3. Your Quickie pun was no walk in the park either.
      Thanks for popping in & enabling an early settlement of bets.
      You never know Brian may surprise you – he’s been known to throw the occasional curve 🏈

    4. I thought Cousins and Curry were the same chap Silvanus. They were famous in the middle of the last century. Far too long ago for me to remember

  10. A slog for me today with little enjoyment I’m afraid.
    Did not help myself by confidently entering the poet rather than the brewery ingredient at 26a.

    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  11. One a Toughie standard solver would find right up their street I guess. For a mere mortal like me a very difficult and a long, furrowed- brow, head scratching session. However dogged persistence got me there. In the end it was satisfying to complete unaided.
    There were a lot of well crafted clues like 5d & 12a where both brilliant but, fed up with Boxers & Setters always in the limelight, Biggles insisted that 14d gets COTD.
    Thank you to setter & MP for the hints. (You can add Fox Red to your list of “shades of Labrador” by the way)

    1. I’m still having the heebie jeebies thinking about the black Lab we called The Devil Dog that came into my pub occasionally

  12. Very good puzzle, much more challenging for me than the average backpager and one which I thought would not have been out of place as an early-week Toughie. Enough red herrings for a good meal, very clever clueing, lovely lurkers, great variety and no specialist knowledge of the bizarre and arcane required.

    Could have ticked most of the clues, but will limit Hon Mentions to 27a, 5d and 25d, with COTD by some margin the silky smooth and clever 20d.

    3.5 / 4

    Many thanks to the Setter (Silvanus?) and to MP

    Edit – I really should try to read all the comments before hitting “send” – nice to have chosen correctly with Silvanus, and thanks once again for a great puzzle.

  13. An excellent Thursday puzzle. Consistently fine clues providing a good challenge and much enjoyment. Too many great clues to isolate a favourite. 3.5*/4.5*.

    *Note to reviewer: there is absolutely no “stretched synonym” included in 2d. And that is a fact, not my opinion.

      1. I too thought the synonym for smart stretched credibility a bit , Jose. It wasn’t just MP, who perceived it in that way.

          1. Never seen a Setter defend him/herself before! You inhabitants of Olympus should leave that to us mere mortals… But thanks for an excellent puzzle, and to MP for confirming my understanding. P.S. Beaten by the top two across in the Quick!

            1. It does happen from time to time, NB. I can remember Giovanni, Django, and others, popping in to defend/explain some of their clues.

          2. Indeed! And supported by every other dictionary and thesaurus I can lay my hands or eyes on.

            1. There is nothing inherently wrong with synonyms that stretch credibility, Jose. They are the bread and butter of cryptic crossword compilers and I did, not without a sense of surprise, find this one in the BRB, eventually. I simply agreed with MP that this synonym was more unusual than most.

              1. How can a definition stretch credibility, CC? It’s either accepted, ie credible, or not.

                I’m more than happy to go in circles with this one ad infinitum.

                  1. Magic, Lebron and even MJ himself can’t get through our Zone defence, Cardinal Jo!

                1. I looked at the checkers and thought,”Could it possibly be jaunt? No, that would make smart synonymous as jaunty, no way.”. In other words, I was incredulous, so this synonym stretched my abilty to believe it until, h,aving left it blank, I looked it up in the BRB. I I felt a little better when MP and LROK were in the same boat and I hope my comments have made others who didn’t know the synonym feel more comfortable rather than being made aware of their shortcomings.

              2. So, you (and MP and maybe some others) were unfamiliar with that (perfectly valid) synonym. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The setter, myself, and I suspect many others, knew straight away that jaunty = smart is generally well-known and not particularly untoward. It simply doesn’t warrant the claim “stretch credibilty” or “stretched”. To me, the term “stretched” seems to suggest some sort unfairness or possible inaccuracy by the setter rather that the solver’s own lack of knowledge of semantics and synonyms. Why use “stretched” instead of “unfamiliar” – which is what it was to a few people?

                1. We had no way of knowing that some people regard the word jaunty as synonymous with smart Jose, since we had not heard it used in that way, nor did we know that it was ‘generally well known’ until we looked it up or were told so

                  1. Exactly! You have eloquently described/admitted that you were “unfamiliar” with the perfectly valid synonym. Therefore, to you, it was an “unfamiliar synonym”. How can it be described as “stretched”?

          3. Silvanus
            Thank you for a superb puzzle.
            Perhaps it would be better if “stretched” were replaced by “rarely used”.
            I cannot recall having heard of or seen “jaunty” used in the context of “smart” so to me it is very rarely used (& I assume the reviewer is the same).

            1. “Stretched” is nearly always the wrong word, but occasionally it is germane.”Unfamiliar” (to the person claiming it) is better. There’s a significant difference between “unfamiliar” (to the individual) and the generic “rarely used”. In my world, jaunty = smart/dapper isn’t particularly rarely used or unfamiliar.

            2. I’m with you all the way, El Rock.

              ‘Stretched’ needs to be confined to Room 101 or should that be….’1 oh 1’.

              1. G273. Shouldn’t that be “consigned” to Room 101? Sorry, I’ve got me pedantic/dogmatic head on today. Unless people are absolutely 100% sure, “stretched” shouldn’t be used (which means virtually never). “Unfamiliar synonym” is the best/safest term to use – that is unfamiliar to the individual commenting.

                  1. btw, I agree with you Jose. If setters used the most common synonyms every day i think the crossword world would be far less interesting

        1. C. That synonym of the shortened answer is as straightforward, direct, unambiguous as a setter could reasonably ask for. Sorry to sound so dogmatic, but people incorrectly/robotically using “stretched synonym” really gets my goat!

          1. Stretched is the word I used. Ive explained how it fits the bill before so I’m not going to repeat myself. It was a throw out the bait and reel em in comment.

            1. Stretched rarely fits the bill and in this case doesn’t at all. Smart is a straightforward, direct and unambiguous synonym of jaunty – confirmed by many dictionaries and thesauri. Just because it is unfamiliar to you personally does not make it “stretched”. Thank you and goodnight!

                  1. Do you remember Jake Thackray Merusa.
                    Something has reminded me of this song of his

                    1. Saw Jake Thackray at Poynton Folk Club in the late 60s. He appeared regularly on TV – Braden’s Week and later That’s Life! Rather liked his quirky songs …

                    2. And yes, the song is very pertinent. An obvious reference to your, and others, repeated misuse of stretched – again and again and again …

                    3. I don’t know how to say this, but I’ve never heard of him! My knowledge of pop music is so lacking, I’m really quite ashamed!

  14. Could not get into this one. After a couple of triumphant weeks, it’s back to earth with a bang.
    Ta to all.

  15. Couldn’t parse 25D and now I’m kicking myself. Had to reveal a letter for 21A, which earned me a second kick once solved! Not my fastest solve by any means but enjoyable. My top picks are 12A, 21A, 23A, and 17D. Thanks Silvanus and Miffypops.

  16. Very slow start and then onto a haphazard solve. Trio of Favs (apologies Kath!) 12a, 5d and 20a. Feel a bit bereft as completed today’s Wordle and Quordle just after midnight before retiring. Thank you Silvanus and MP.

      1. Thanks for your forgiveness Kath. I fear I am a regular offender. Anyway it ‘s so good to have you beginning to take an active part again. 💐.

  17. 🤷‍♂️ I might as well give Thursdays a miss, think I managed ten on my own ,then went to Miffy’s hints. There followed much groaning and what’s!! , plus other terms not used in polite conversation. Thanks to the setter for his efforts, wasted on me today ,and to MP for the hints.

  18. Super fun thank you, Silvanus, although 4 squares remained blank at 17d before reading M’s hints (what would we do without them!). I also appreciated his explaining 11a. Fave clue? 16d’s John and what’shisname 😆

  19. Top half a doddle today, the bottom needed quite a few hints from Miffs to get there. 17d my favourite when the penny dropped. I did consider a pangram for a while, but fell with three to go(much like my Grand National pick usually does)
    Thanks to Silvanus and Miffs.
    12a would have got ahead by a bees whisker but 17d won on the nod.

    1. John
      Amazing that you can hint the Sunday Toughie yet needed some hints for this.
      I don’t contemplate attempting the former yet solved this unaided. Also I completed the South (except for 17d) with only 3 in the North.
      That’s the fascination I suppose.

      1. Haha as I said to Robert the other day, I am like a Swan, usually calm on the surface but paddling furiously below. All means fair or foul are employed when the puzzle appears on the website, It amazes me how many parsings come to mind after a sleep. Even then it is a toss up whether the unhinged clues are “easy” or “unparsed”. There are many helpful souls out there who have helped me parse a few.

  20. I admit that I was completely foxed today – I expected to see Ray T today and so I did!
    6d was, of course, one of his answers used the first letters and so on etc – it used to give us the heebie-jeebies when we were at school and eventually it was banned.
    I appreciated 23a and 20d. My favourite was 5d – the ones that end ‘ish’ always make me laugh – sorry to be boring and predictable.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to MP.

    1. Kath
      With your little lambs I guess 5d applies to you. Lovely to see you on “your day”.

  21. Waaaay beyond my capabilities. Having solved five clues and feeling like swimming in molasses, I threw in the towel.
    Thanks Silvanus. How on earth you understood this, M’pops, is beyond me. I have a Monday brawta on hand just in case, so I’ll now have a go at that. Wordle in 4.

  22. Disappointing start to my day, as we appear to have two Toughies on offer, one masquerading as a regular Cryptic. Having solved a meager 7 I am giving up, and that was with the picture hints for 2 of them. I know I could finish if I looked at a lot more hints, but no satisfaction in that. Fine for the smarter solvers, but not my cup of tea. Nor for a lot of lurkers I suspect.

  23. Given the difficulty I had cracking this one open and then parsing many of the clues, I would have guessed this to be a Silvanus puzzle. As I see from blog, I would have been correct.
    I find some of his clues really hard to crack. Nonetheless, thats my problem, but rate this 3.5*/3* today.
    Got there in the end with 17d last in with a huge *THUD* at the PDM.
    Clues I liked include the two well hidden lurkers in 15a & 27a, as well as 18a, 26a, 5d 14d & 17d with winners 14d & 17d

    Thanks to Silvanus and MP

  24. Tricky in places but fun. Needed the hints to solve 25d which beat me completely..
    Thx to all

  25. Psyched up for Thursday.
    Didn’t disappoint.
    Hard work but got there eventually in ****.5 time.
    11, 12, and 13 across gems among others.
    Many thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and to Miffypops

  26. Sorry this was way too tricky in parts but so clever 😳 “ Fell at Beechers”🏇 Thanks for all the help to MP and also to Sylvanus for a far too cryptic puzzle! 😬

  27. A very hard solve for me today but extremely satisfying to solve without help.

    In the circles I move in, if I used jaunty to mean smart I would be thrashed with nettles and mocked for an eternity. Maybe I need new circles… 😀

    Thanks to all.

  28. Having breezed through the toughie and one contributor saying it was marginally harder than the back pager I was expecting an easy ride. How wrong can you be! It’s a long time I struggled so much with a cryptic, east not too bad, west was the total opposite. I stumbled over the line mentally exhausted. Favourite was 23a. Thanks to Silvanus and MP. Now to re-string my guitar in readiness for an open mic performance tomorrow, my first in nearly 3 years.

  29. Late on parade because 1a foxed me yesterday, woke up this morning with the answer! Thank you Silvanus and MP for a cracking challenge and blog, with 5d as my favourite.

Comments are closed.