DT 29958 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29958

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29958

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa, where the conditions have been ideal for maple sap collection (temperatures above freezing during the day and below freezing at night) apparently resulting in the largest production of maple syrup in several years.

I found today’s puzzle from Campbell to lie a bit on the more difficult end of the scale. However, that may be due to getting a very late start and being even more under deadline pressure than usual.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Concept, but ahead of time (7)
THOUGHT — a synonym for ‘but’ or ‘despite the fact that’ followed by the physics symbol for time

5a   Johnny-come-lately‘s winning jump (7)
UPSTART — winning or in a leading position and jump or flinch

9a   Open at an end? Head for Turnberry (5)
OVERT — at an end or finished and the head or initial letter of Turnberry

10a   Sponsor priest on trail going west (9)
GODFATHER — a form of address for a priest follows (on in an across clue) the reversal (going west) of a verb meaning to trail persistently

11a   Praise the old man’s attempt to make sausage rolls ingredient? (4,6)
PUFF PASTRY — string together some exaggerated praise, another informal term for your old man (including the trailing S) and a synonym for attempt

12a   Fit? Quite possibly (4)
WELLdouble definition; the second in the sense of “this ill-advised move may quite possibly lead to his downfall”; triple definition; I have changed my assessment based on comments from several readers and after discovering in one British dictionary that the use of the word ‘quite’ as an intensifier (as in my example) is a North American usage

14a   Prevent attendant getting prison sentence in final part of play (8,4)
STOPPAGE TIME — a charade of a word meaning prevent, a knight’s attendant, and a prison sentence give the final part of a football match

18a   Bird caught next to Peak District river (8,4)
COLLARED DOVE — caught or arrested (nothing to do with cricket) and a river in the Peak District (although any of several other English rivers could have been featured)

21a   Good penalty (4)
FINE — double definition; the second being a monetary penalty

22a   New hit list prepared? Blow me! (3,7)
TIN WHISTLE — anagram (prepared) of the first three words in the clue

25a   Getting better, continuously swallowing them (2,3,4)
ON THE MEND — a (2,3) phrase meaning continuously enveloping THEM from the clue

26a   Style of painting embraced by Picasso particularly (2,3)
OP ART — hidden in (embraced by) the final two words of the clue

27a   Eccentric daughter in golf club (7)
DINGBAT — a charade of D(aughter), IN from the clue, the letter represented by golf in the NATO alphabet, and a club used in cricket

28a   Train European element in Parisian’s street (7)
RETINUE — the single letter for European and a metallic element contained in a French street


1d   Company or body of soldiers, from what we hear (6)
TROUPE — a theatrical company sounds like (from what we hear) a body of soldiers

2d   Unique type of switch saving energy (3-3)
ONE-OFF — a two-position switch wrapped around the physics symbol for energy

3d   Move ahead before second eleven gradually gain more impetus (3,2,5)
GET UP STEAM — a (3,2) phrase meaning to move ahead (as in a race), the physics symbol for second, and what eleven is a metonym for on a sports field

4d   Flower you and I name first (5)
TAGUS — an informal term for a name precedes (first) an objective personal pronoun for you and I giving a whimsical cryptic crossword “flower” on the Iberian peninsula

5d   Secret Service? (9)
UNDERHAND — a cryptic definition of a tennis service in which the ball is struck below shoulder level

6d   Large number left secure (4)
SEAL — a word meaning a large number or large amount (often seen applied to red ink) and the abbreviation for left

7d   Strong cat, lithe, jumping (8)
ATHLETIC — an anagram (jumping) of the two middle words in the clue

8d   US actor, Ben, having blown top, strangles her heartlessly in suspense film? (8)
THRILLER — remove the top or initial letter from the surname of an American actor who, in his career, has spent more than one Night at the Museum; then wrap the result around H(e)R from the clue after removing its heart

13d   Desert Italian abroad? Don’t do that (5,2,3)
LEAVE IT OUT —link together a word for desert or abandon, the abbreviation for Italian (either the language or the vermouth), and a word meaning abroad or not at home

15d   Papers carried by current head of state (9)
PRESIDENT — the sort of papers a young person may need at a bar contained in a word meaning current or existing now

16d   A loud female during lecture must leave platform (8)
SCAFFOLD — the A from the clue, an abbreviated musical direction to play loudly, and the single letter for female are placed inside a verb meaning to lecture or reprimand

17d   Seafood board not put up? (8)
PLANKTON — another word for a board or piece of timber and a reversal (put up in a down clue) of NOT give the principal seafood meal for a whale

19d   Air in small coach (6)
STRAIN — the clothing symbol for small and a synonym for coach or teach produce a musical air

20d   Heart and clubs put down picked up (6)
CENTRE — the abbreviation for the suit of clubs and a collection of letters that sound like a word meaning to put down (in a ledger or log book)

23d   Looking embarrassed, a wife over boot (5)
WADER — string together and then reverse (over) the colour associated with embarrassment, the A from the clue, and the single letter for wife

24d   Basil, perhaps, in another book (4)
HERB — hidden in the final two words of the clue

I always enjoy a good cryptic definition, so my pick of the litter today is 5d.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): SHATTER + LANE = CHATELAINE

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : SHAH + PUNNING = SHARPENING

103 comments on “DT 29958

  1. After last week’s (for me) minor blip, a return to form today for our Monday setter.
    Hadn’t heard of the duck or the American actor, no surprises there, but both solutions were easily attainable from the wordplay and checkers.
    Podium places go to 10,14&18a.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  2. Thanks Campbell and Falcon for the divertissement. Spent ages looking for a Nina along the lines of 7 & 19d, but seems simply coincidental. New PB for me for the prize cryptic! Yay!

  3. An interesting **/*** Monday affair in which I did need Falcon’s hints to understand why my answer to 5d was correct. Very clever! My LOI was 6d as it took me a while to work the large number element out. All in all some excellent clues a few of which were a little tricky to unravel. Thanks to the setter.

  4. 2.5*/4*. I found this slightly tougher than a normal Monday but a lot of fun as ever with 14a, 5d & 20d making it onto my podium.

    In 4d, surely “you and I” leads to “we” not “us”?

    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  5. Interesting that 16d, with an extra three letters, featured very recently and the element in 28a was also in another clue in this puzzle.
    I enjoyed this a lot….particularly 18a. Thanks to the setter and for the hints.

  6. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: although, he does seem to be continuing the trend of being more Tuesdayish than Mondayish, especially when comparing his back pagers to his weekly OLPP – 2.5*/4*.

    I almost awarded 3* for difficulty as I was temporarily ‘fixated’ on a different American actor with the first name of Ben, which, unsurprisingly, I couldn’t get to work, for 8d.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 11a, 3d, and the ‘Top Pun’ – and the winner is 11a.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  7. Nice Mondayish puzzle, I came to check 6d as I didn’t quite see the sea. Earlier on in the solve, I misread 5d as Senior Service and bunged in Cigarette as it fitted the checkers I had at the time. (Not Senior Service more of a senior moment)
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

      1. Your mum and my grandad, He even called them “coffin nails” but it didn’t stop him.

          1. As a youth I recall being able to buy single Park Drive cigarettes at the café in Stoney Middleton in the Peak between climbs thinking I was awfully grown up. Managed to give up 30 years later😳

            1. Mama Bee’s Flour jars. Inherited from her mum. They must be 100 years old by now.
              Sunripe Ciggies were going in the 1920s

              1. The little labels (self raising is on the other side) were probably stuck on by me or sister Bee in the early 70s a free gift in Good Housekeeping magazine.

          2. They did for my godfather 60 a day but he was over 80. They told him he had lung cancer and would die with it not of it.
            He died next day. They said it was the shock.

          3. Capstan did for my Granddad, he used to send my younger brother to buy them and would then slip them into a packet of supposedly milder cigarettes so my grandmother wouldn’t notice. However he was a stoker on coal fired battleships and a fireman in the Blitz, so that might have also contributed!

      2. My grandfather gave Peter a Woodbine – he found it so disgusting that when he got home he threw his own Rothmans away and never smoked again. That was his late teens. A blessing in disguise.

        1. For me it had to be cocktail Sobranies….all those pretty colours with gold tips! Luckily I grew out of them at 20.

      1. a word meaning a large number or large amount (often seen applied to red ink) – from the hint
        + L for left
        I won’t say the synonym was stretched but I had overlooked it for sure.
        Falcons’ hint cleared the confusion.

        1. Thanks for your hints for yesterday’s days toughie – looked at it for ages last night and managed only 19d. This morning I fared better and then with the hints completed it! Hurrah.

          1. Well done, I usually go to sleep after filling the grid and it is amazing how many parsing a come to mind overnight.

      2. I didn’t get that one either. Had the s and the a, but couldn’t get any further with that one.

    1. Anyone who has never seen an 18a should visit our Hampshire garden where they out-number the sparrows. Thanks Falcon, (which bird does not feature here, although we do have a red kite) and Campbell.

  8. I liked 11a as it brought to mind a favourite tv character. when my children were young. Another old man,

  9. Very Mondayish until last in 18a.
    Spent an inordinately length of time experimenting with letters until I guessed correctly.
    A fluke.
    16d, certainly deja vu. Last week?
    Many thanks, Campbell, for the enjoyment and Falcon.

  10. Had a few pauses for thought over the likes of 5a/d, 8d & 14a (that sort of play!) but everything else slotted in quite well.
    Top two here were 11a where I think I had the same character in mind as JB, along with 18a.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

      1. Thank you all – it was a strange place to inhabit and I’m delighted to be out of there!

    1. Glad that you’ve recovered from the visitation from your two grandchildren – your elder daughter’s had diagnosed correctly!

  11. Like Stephen the bird was new to me but unlike him I didn’t twig the wordplay so cheated & looked up types of. A DNF for me therefore or certainly not an unaided one. 6d was the other head scratch where the penny stubbornly refused to drop for a while. Haven’t looked at the bonus online puzzle yet but it will have to go some to better this, which I thought top notch. Favourite a toss up between 5&8d & with plenty of ticks elsewhere – 10,11,14&27a plus 16d.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon
    Wordle in 3

  12. A little tougher than a normal Monday but more enjoyable as a result. 6d was what it was but I have never knowingly heard of the word meaning a large amount. That was my only slight hiccup, with 14a and 8d coming out as co-favourites.

    Thanks to Campbell for the fun and to Falcon.

    1. Hamlet had quite a few troubles – How did I forget Shakespeare?
      To be, or not to be: that is the question:
      Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
      The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
      Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
      And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
      No more; and by a sleep to say we end
      The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
      That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
      Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
      To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
      For in that sleep of death what dreams may come…

      1. That’s probably the best example there is, SJB. But I think the synonym is fairly common. I justtified it with the more prosaic battleground analogy: a sea of dead bodies.

  13. Agree with many who think this was a harder than usual for a Monday…but I thought last Monday’s was pretty tough too.
    Last one in was 5d which I needed Falcon’s help to parse.

    Thanks to Falcon and to Campbell.

    Good news about the maple syrup….yum yum!

  14. My favourite is 26a, because it would (differently enumerated) also work as a clue in a general knowledge crossword — just with a completely different answer.

    I struggled with both quickie puns, guessing at the Persian ruler in the bottom one, and taking a few goes at working out the spelling for the top one so I could look up what it means.

    The general feeling in Ilkley seems to be that people are happy we’ve been declared the best place to live in the UK, in one of those pointless lists that only exist to sell newspapers (and clicks) … but if we get a sudden influx of new residents who choose their homes based on listicles in the Sunday papers, maybe it’ll be self-defeating?

    Thanks, all.

  15. A very well constructed and enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    I share RD’s dislike of ‘you and I’ in 4d.
    I took 12a to be a triple definition.
    Top clues for me were 5a, 27a and 5d.

    1. I have changed my assessment and revised the hint based on these comments and after discovering in one British dictionary that the use of the word ‘quite’ as an intensifier (as in the example sentence I used in the hint) is a North American usage.

  16. Lots of fun, while it lasted (which was a little longer than the very enjoyable online-only additional Campbell challenge, 703, which I had erroneously tackled earlier: came here, saw Falcon’s difficutly rating and my brow furrowed for a moment until I realised I’d started on the wrong side of the print-out) and I fully appreciated the shortage of anagrams!

    6d and 20d were bung-ins, I just couldn’t parse them for toffee until coming here. Hon Mentions to 27a, 4d, and 16d, with COTD to the laugh-out-loud 11a.

    1.5 / 2.5

    Many thanks to Campbell for both the puzzles, and to Falcon for the review.


  17. Enjoyable crossword; my last one in (as so often) was a four letter-er. 6d – even though I had two checking letters. I thought “Well it has to be” and I suppose it does.

    Yesterday, we went for a lovely walk and had a late luncheon in the Dabbling Duck in Shere, within a marquee/yurt in their garden (pictured); then missed the start of the Manchester City v Liverpool match due to H requesting a stop at a garden centre where a rhododendron was liberated despite my vocal misgivings about the need for acidic soil. My ‘advice’ fell on stony ground.
    The football match, despite us missing the first ten minutes, was one of the games of the season; and The Masters was terrific with Rory McIlroy just falling short with his last round heroics.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

    1. Worry not, Terence, an annual application of a slow-release feed usually does the trick – good old MiracleGro have one that works well for my non-acidic soil.

  18. Tougher than usual for a Monday for me. That bird in 18a took me forever to catch. but I got there in the end. The bonus cryptic is much more accessible, I think, but much less engaging, so this one gets my pick today. I must say that Mr Stiller is one of the last ‘Ben’ actors that came to my mind as I ploughed through my cobwebbed brain; his mother, much more gifted, was the divine Anne Meara of course (married to Jerry). No particular favourites, just glad to finish it. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. *** / ***

    1. Thought the anagram at 12a in the bonus cryptic a great surface read & noted Brando/De Niro/Pacino popped up in both – 25a here & 10a in the back pager.

      1. Aha! Nice spotting, Huntsman. Did you see Pacino and DeNiro with Coppola at the Oscars? I agree about 12a–almost like an all-in-one or &lit, or whatever that’s called.

  19. Another nice Monday Campbell offering to start the non-work week. 1.5*/4*
    Candidates for favourite include 22a, 25a, 2d, 5d & 13d with winner 5d.
    27a, 2d, 13d & 17d all made me laugh.
    16d showed up again (more or less) from Sunday’s puzzle

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the hints

  20. That was a bit of a struggle, I had no idea about 13a although I guessed a page was involved. Durst not think what it means. George has tested negative this morning and was sparking on all cylinders getting 18 and 22a immediately, I’m still a bit befuddled. 6d LOI. At Rotary partners evenings we often have a sheet of 27s to solve, I think they are great fun. Where does the word come from? (Or for Robert, from whence comes the name?) Many thanks to setter & hinter.

    1. Hi, DG: Since you mention me, I can add that since ‘whence’ means ‘from where’, it’s redundant to put ‘from’ before it–for what it’s worth.

  21. I usually finish a Campbell but came up a couple short (6 & 20d). Still plenty of smiles especially 5d.
    Thanks for the helpful hints Falcon.

    Two tired and hungry Campbells are huddled in Glencoe. One says ‘ I could murder a Macdonald’

  22. The bark of this was worse than its bite – after a hesitant start I gradually got into the swing of it. Parsing 10d baffled me as did 14a.
    Trio of Favs – 3d, 5d and 15d. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

  23. I agree Falcon with your assessment of 5d – brilliant! Thank you Campbell for yet another good’Un!

  24. Well I finished it but thought it was quite tricky and had quite a few bung ins. So thanks for the challenge and the hints. Wordle in 5 today and my run of 12 Quordle’s came to an end with the first word left with only two letters. Hey ho.

    1. Have you seen Lingo on ITV? Discovered it by chance this afternoon. All these word games!

  25. Tricky in places, but very enjoyable. Didn’t know the bird, the final part of play (despite getting the second word) and clueless in 6d 😂. Otherwise quite a satisfying solve. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    We’ve been spoilt with 3 days of low humidity and temperatures in the 70sF. Just glorious, and enabled me to get outside and pot up a lot of orchids that had been neglected for too long. Any day when we can have the patio doors and windows open is such a treat here, especially with summer lurking just around the corner.

  26. I am no fan of Campbell puzzles but this one plumbs new depths. Far out of my ability especially in the bottom half.
    Defeated me all ends up. Monday is becoming the new Thursday.
    Absolutely no fun at all.
    Thx for the hints.

  27. Just did the CPP 703 and it was as nice as the backpager … nothing to scare the horses.
    Nice solve with some fun clues. 1.5*/4*

    Thanks to Campbell for the fun.

    Also Wordle and Canuckle both in 3 today.

  28. I thought this was pretty tricky – a bit like last week – never mind.
    It must be something to do with Mondays – I always had trouble with them even a long time ago with Rufus crosswords.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  29. Yes I found this mostly straightforward but with two that I took quite a while to “understand” namely 6d & 20d 🤔 Any way ***/*** plenty of favourites but 18a, 25a and 27a 😃 Thanks to Falcon and Campbell

  30. Always allow myself to look up my last solution if I cannot find it after some time. But I cannot relate to 20 down. Heart yes but “clubs put down picked up” is nonsense to me does not really rhyme with “enter”. Enjoyed rest of puzzle.

    1. The answer is CENTRE where the C is an abbreviation for clubs (the card suit) and the remaining collection of letters (ENTRE) is pronounced (picked up [by the ear]) the same as ENTER (put down) or write an entry in a ledger or log book.

  31. I enjoyed today’s puzzle though got held up with 4d (looking for a flower doh!). I also delayed the answer to 14a despite having the checkers. Not a term I’m familiar with.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon. Lovely to be hearing from Kath regularly. I didn’t get time to blog over the weekend but pleased to see you back in the saddle, Kath.

    Also, seen the messages to Jane and send best wishes.

    1. It took me a while to twig to the correct meaning of “flower”. My initial thought was LOTUS as LOT is a name in the Bible.

  32. Managed to complete this unaided although needed the hint to sort of get 6d. What has sea got to do with red ink?

    Maybe I’m being pedantic, but shouldn’t “must leave” for 16d also be underlined?

    Thanks to all.

    1. It is common (at least in North America) to see businesses in financial difficulty being described as ‘drowning in a sea of red ink’.

      Regarding 16d, I see the definition as merely “platform” with “must leave” serving as a link phrase between the wordplay and definition. The clue has the sense of “if one carries out the instructions in the wordplay, one is left with a word meaning platform”.

      1. Thanks for the informative reply.

        Somehow I’ve never heard the drowning in red ink phrase.

        I was thinking along the lines that a scaffold is a platform where you must leave, as in die. Must be my weird brain… 😀

  33. I found this tricky and not much fun, so I gave up and did the Monday Brawta instead. I really enjoyed that.
    To cap it all, I crashed and burned at Wordle. Maybe I’m getting a message?
    Thank you Campbell, and of course Falcon for helping me cross the finis line.

  34. I’m afraid my love/hate relationship with Campbell’s puzzles continues and I still ain’t loving them! Monday is the least enjoyable cross-wording day of the week for me these days. I find clues like 8d really annoying (although I did work out the answer). Thanks to Falcon for the hints.

  35. I was surprised by the amount of commentators who had not heard of 18a. They made their way across Europe and arrived in England in the 1970’s they’re now widespread. By far the most straightforward Monday for some weeks thankfully, as it had been straying into toughie territory. Favourite was 5a. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. I agree. I must only know half a dozen types of birds and even I have heard of them. A pair even frequent my mother’s back garden.

    2. How was the Gig TG?
      Nice clip of a young guitarist coping with a string break here. I think I saw him many years ago in School of Rock and apparently, that gig paid for his VW.

  36. Finally I appear to be back in the land of solving cryptic crosswords. It’s been such a long time since I’ve been able to do most of one on my own. Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon. I also enjoyed the quick crossword. One of my neighbours has had 4 Covid injections and has just caught it again. Not sure what’s going on with infection rates but quite worrying.

  37. I thought ‘quite possibly ‘ was when you say ‘well’ because you are considering it as a possibility. Common speech! I liked 11a but only because I enjoy sausage rolls!

  38. Well, I thought 6D was nothing to do with a sea of ink. Isn’t the large another word for the open sea. Plus the number 50 = L

    1. But wouldn’t your word-play be: Large (SEA), number (L), left (abbr. L) – giving the answer SEALL?

  39. 3*/3*…
    liked 11A ” Praise the old man’s attempt to make sausage rolls ingredient? (4,6) “

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