DT 29960 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29960

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29960

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

We haven’t lit our wood-burner yet but have been sorely tempted to do so a couple of times this last week. Guess that once Easter is over, the next cooler evening might be the occasion. The estuary is taking on its winter look now too with the migratory birds now well gone.

It took us a while to sort out the parsing for 8d which took us into 3 star time for difficulty.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Ducks answer, bound by unions (10)
MERGANSERS : Unions or acts of combining contain the three letter abbreviation for answer.

6a     Quiet expression of sympathy for old ruler (4)
SHAH : A request to be quiet and an expression of sympathy or satisfaction.

10a     Horrify a mate, eating prawn’s head (5)
APPAL : ‘A’ from the clue and then a mate or friend contains the first letter of prawn.

11a     Dispute book kept by Gray twice revised (4-5)
ARGY-BARGY : An anagram (revised) of GRAY is repeated and placed either side B(ook)
12a     Blair, the writer, has Independent line for right source of energy (3,4)
OIL WELL : Start with the pen name of Eric Blair and replace his R(ight) with I(ndependent) and L(ine).

13a     The Seine perhaps covers one area that’s part of the South of France (7)
RIVIERA : What the Seine is an example of contains Roman numeral one, and finally A(rea).

14a     A lot led astray holding anarchic views must be a myth (3,5,4)
OLD WIVES TALE : An anagram (astray) of A LOT LED surrounds another anagram (anarchic) of VIEWS.

18a     Reworked last design as feature of church (7,5)
STAINED GLASS : An anagram (reworked) of LAST DESIGN AS.

21a     On air, encourage understanding (7)
INSIGHT : A homophone (on air) of a synonym for encourage or stir up.

23a     Current model chasing a French dress (7)
UNIFORM : The French indefinite article, the physics symbol for current, and model or style.

24a     Writer is free at last, okay (9)
AUTHORISE : Another general word for a writer, then IS from the clue and the last letter of free.

25a     A quip oddly used by Irish national (5)
IRAQI : ‘A’ from the clue and the first and third letters of quip follow IR(ish).

26a     Four of these may be found in eight (4)
TWOS : A cryptic definition. We suspect an intention to mislead people into thinking about rowers.

27a     Jumbled sound waves? (5,5)
WHITE NOISE : A cryptic definition.


1d     Maybe gutted, having trouble with field (6)
MEADOW : The first and last letters (gutted) of maybe, then a three letter word for trouble or fuss and W(ith).

2d     Repercussion as place found in mature surroundings (6)
RIPPLE : Mature, like fruit ready to eat, contains PL(ace).

3d     That may be so loaded long wall collapsed (3,4,3,4)
ALL WELL AND GOOD : An anagram (collapsed) of LOADED LONG WALL.

4d     Gulped, seeing son and wife given permission (9)
SWALLOWED : Abbreviations for son and wife and then given permission.

5d     Moore perhaps understood and agreed (5)
ROGER : The first name of Moore, the actor.

7d     Hussar, say, may see hard Viking losing head (8)
HORSEMAN : H(ard), then another name for a Viking with the first letter removed.

8d     Tourist disposing of old hat for farmworker (8)
HAYMAKER : Start with a word for a tourist or someone having a vacation and remove from within this O(ld) and a hat or cap.

9d    No abusive cop is possibly considered blameless (5,9)
ABOVE SUSPICION : An anagram (possibly) of NO ABUSIVE COP IS.

15d     Love tuna cooked and filled with very little pastry (3-2-4)
VOL-AU-VENT : An anagram (cooked) of LOVE TUNA includes V(ery).

16d     Candidate or worker after seeing hope curtailed (8)
ASPIRANT : Hope or have ambition without its last letter, and a worker insect.

17d     Voice that sings of wrong exaggerated uprising (8)
FALSETTO : Wrong or not true and then the reversal of three letters used to mean exaggerated.

19d     Language of love in southern African country (6)
SOMALI : S(outhern), then tennis score love and an African country.

20d     Province of politician in Ireland (6)
EMPIRE : The alternative name for Ireland surrounds a Member of Parliament.

22d     Part of body with temperature above normal? (5)
THIGH : The abbreviation for temperature and a word meaning above normal.

pause    +    whole    =    poor soul

90 comments on “DT 29960

  1. Good fun throughout, though unless I’m missing something I thought 26a a bit weak. Lots I did like though including the excellent homophone at 21a, the clever 24a, along with 8,22&26d but my favourite was the lol 11a.
    Many thanks to the setter (going for Jay) and the 2Ks for the entertainment.

    1. I thought 26a was good. I thought I was being clever looking for a rowing connection. It was a doh moment when the penny dropped!

      1. Like SL I saw the answer straight away so I thought it weak. I’m just a simple soul.

  2. I thought very straightforward for a Wednesday. Must be the Cornish air and my early morning newspaper carrier. I had no trouble with parsing 8d. Took a little time to get my last one in 1a. I had not heard of it but worked it out. 2* time. Thanks setter and 2Ks. Favourites 11, 24 and 26a and 17d.

  3. A most enjoyable, friendly for a Wednesday, crossword. Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks

    Just back from a walk across the marsh – this seems to be the best year yet for skylarks – there were loads of them in full voice this morning

    1. How lovely to see the skylarks. Keats would be so pleased! In Devon at the moment and birds are only just beginning to move into this new housing estate.

    2. A good year for skylarks on Morecambe Bay too, they’ve been singing and ascending since the warm weather in March. A lovely sound, especially when combined with the peep of oyster catchers!

  4. A very nice follow up to the accessible Django Toughie. My last one in was 22 down which despite having three checkers in a five letter word still took a bit of teasing out. 11 across and down made me smile. Thanks to Jay for a very satisfying puzzle and to the 2Ks who seem to be turning their heating on while we are turning ours off

    1. You and me too MP re 22d, where I was thinking the “above” in the clue referred to the position of the abbreviation for temperature rather than modifying normal.

    2. Really? How many body parts are there with those checkers. I admit I was looking for a synonym for normal below the temperature, but that apart it caused no problem.

      1. I have no idea why it wouldn’t come to me WW. I have more than the average number of legs so it shouldn’t have been as difficult as I managed to make it

  5. I didn’t care much for 26a either although there may be an element of irritation involved. It was last in & turned a ** time solve into *** time. 1a kind of rang a bell but not entirely sure I’d have got it in a GK puzzle without the wordplay. 11a immediately made me think of Sue’s imminent report (may run to a small book) & guaranteed to be highly critical – remains to be seen what, if any, 11a it causes. 8d my favourite for the penny drop parsing element just edging 9d’s smooth surface. As ever very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Jay & 2Ks

  6. All good fun. Can never remember those darned ducks and did indeed pause to consider rowing before solving 26a. Thanks to today’s setter and the 2Ks.

  7. Really enjoyable puzzle today so thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis. Gorgeous day here and a little robin has been singing his heart out for days now. Seems so unfair when those poor Ukrainians are just about to be pulverised. Wordle in 4.

      1. Mrs LrOK’s sister lives in Calgary and we now score on our combined Wordle & Canuckle scores. Modifying MP’s idea yof esterday I used my Wordle solution for the Canuckle seed word.

        1. That’s a good idea! I’ve only Wordled in 2 once, but my average is 4-5. My choice of seed word most often only gives one correct letter.

        2. I used yesterday’s answer for today’s Wordle and it yielded no return. I solved in 4. Nurse Ninepence used her usual two start words which both yielded no return yet she still solved in 4. She is a witch

  8. Defeated by 1A, but on the plus side I was not misdirected by 26A. I just thought it was a very poor clue. Loved 11A but my top pick goes to the splendid 8D. Thanks to the setter and 2Ks.

    Having a go at the toughie, a rare event for me these days so I’m badly out of practice.

  9. I was ok after I got past 1a which was very difficult if you have no knowledge of ducks even with the wordplay. Needed to Google the answer. Apart from 1a making me grumpy to start with, the rest was good. The anagrams were not difficult and there was a lurker which I always enjoy.
    Thx to all.
    ***/*** (would have been 4* for enjoyment if 1a was removed).

  10. Ah, quite wonderful, methinks. Knew the ducks immediately from old NYT / GK puzzles. I thought of Caesar’s wife (and surprised she didn’t make the clue!) with 7d (anyone else?). Also took me a bit for that body part in 22d, but over all, most enjoyable throughout, even with that riddle-y 26a. Podium winners: 11a, 8d, & 19d (how charming). Thanks to the Kiwis and to Jay. ** / ****

    Very pleasant and doable Toughie, though I stuttered a bit at the end.

  11. 2*/4*. I thought this was a really excellent puzzle apart from 26a & 27a both of which seemed very weak to me.

    Although spoilt for choice when picking my podium selection, I can’t do better than Robert Clark’s threesome: 11a, 8d & 19d.

    Many thanks to presumably Jay and to the 2Ks.

  12. A splendid work-out by, I assume, the midweek master.

    Over the last week or two, adverts are appearing at the top of my phone and at the bottom of the browser version.

    I click ‘Not interested’ every time and it says ‘We’ll try not to show that ad again’.

    I reckon I’ve clicked ‘Not interested’ about 50 times but they keep rocking up which could mean, I guess, one of two things:

    1. There are hundreds more to come
    2. It updates my data every week or two

    Thoughts from anyone would be appreciated.

    1. I have been having the same problem. I have no answer though. Now you mention it, it is only on this site.

    2. I don’t see any adverts on this site, or indeed anywhere else. I regard them as being entirely optional and avoidable, so if a website tells me to turn off my Ad Blocker, I simply go to a different website.

      Depending on what browsers you use, I would suggest updating (or installing) your Ad Blocker to the latest version, and having a look at your privacy settings, making sure all pop-ups are blocked, third party cookies blocked, cache & history cleared on every exit from your browsers etc.


      1. Thank you so much, MG. I have stupidly been suffering in silence for a while. On reading your comment I installed AdBlocker for Google Chrome. It’s free, it took 30 seconds, and the adverts have gone!

          1. Nice work, you MuG.

            Ad Blocker has done the trick on the lappy (hate that one?) but Apple won’t allow it on iPhones.


            To quote Muttley….shickin, flickin, rickin.

            To muttle should definitely be in the dictionary with two meanings:

            1. The aforementioned
            2. To snigger

            I couldn’t get enough of Wacky Races….

            Rock & Gravel: The Slag Brothers


            Thanks again 👏👏

              1. Sorry for the very late reply, Manders et al – have not been back.

                In Firefox one goes to Tools, then Add-ons & Themes, and the Extension is called “Adblock Plus” – it’s a free download and I’ve used it for many years.

                I don’t suffer from Adverts in Opera (Settings – Privacy Protection – Block Asd), Edge (Settings – Privacy – Strict) or Internet Explorer (which I realise I no longer use anyway).

                I don’t use Chrome (coz it’s Google, innit) or whatever the Apple one is called (coz it’s Apple, innit, and I have nothing from Apple), so I’m afraid I can’t help you with those two.

                Good luck!

      2. I agree. Whenever a site tells me I need to turn off my ad blocker I just go to a different site.

    3. There is a simple semi-solution at least on an iPad. The ad appears at the bottom of the screen, and at its top left you will find a down-arrow. Tapping that pushes the ad off the screen at the bottom. It seems to stay there for as long as it takes me to read the page.

      Ads aren’t just something Google puts there to annoy us! They are there with the agreement of a site owner and can provide them with an income which may well help to cover the running cost of the site. Apart from using an ad-blocker, I don’t think there is any way for the reader to disable this – and that, of course, cuts the potential income of the site owner.

    4. Click on the 3 vertical dots, select More tools, then select Extensions. There, you can install a free AD blocker.

  13. Only half a crown of my five bob is on this being a Jay production. However, it was good fun and not too demanding – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 24a, 4d, and 17d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis.

    1. Just watching our local news on Global, and sounds like your snow blower will be working overtime … 35-50cm of snow coming your way … Yikes!!

      1. It’s already here! Winnipeg is ‘closed’! Although, I don’t know how the amount of snow can be measured when the wind is 40km/hr gusting to 60km/hr and blowing it all over the place. It seems that there is some reliance on the predictive models.

  14. Always saddens me to realise how little some folk know about the feathered friends who share our world. 1a’s are delightful, with their scruffy hairdos and slightly upturned bills which lend them a rather superior air. The females do a great line in sharing baby-sitting duties and it isn’t unusual to see one mum gliding across a patch of water with a flotilla of twenty or more youngsters paddling furiously in her wake – highest count for me was 33 a few years ago!
    Really nice to see them making an appearance today and I’m more than happy to give them top billing in this enjoyable puzzle.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review – enjoy your cosy evenings around the wood-burner.

    1. I’m not a twitcher but I do know mergansers, why I don’t know. I, too, love their scruffy hairdos.

  15. Enjoyable and eminently accessible midweeker, with no specialist knowledge required and all fairly clued. Pushed into 2* time by the last few clues in the SW, and smiled broadly on the PDM for 26a. Thought the phrasing of 12a poor – “the writer” was not needed, it’s a cryptic after all.

    Hon mentions to 21a, 25a, and 2d; COTD to 17d (my LOI).

    2* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks

  16. Handy start at 1a for those with a first class honours degree in ornithology. I am not so blessed. I share Brian’s grumpiness on this issue.

    I have my hand up as another who had 22d as last one in even though I had three checking letters of five.

    I cannot comment on last night’s football match. I couldn’t get to sleep until after 2am due to the adrenalin and stress coursing through my nervous system. I may need therapy.

    Thanks to the setter and The TwoKays.

    1. Heart breaking. I got home from watching my lower league side abandon all form, play like an actual team and stick 3 stylish goals past top of the table opposition, only to catch the end of ET

  17. A delight to solve helped by seeing the ducks immediately. A birdwatching acquaintance once pointed out a couple of ducks on a Tarn and said “Look a goosander”,
    I replied “a goosander and what?”
    ” Correction they are 1a”
    Thanks to the 2K’s and I concur with the Jay option.

  18. A very enjoyable puzzle. Struggled in the SW for quite some time but on reflection not sure why. Loved the ducks and the farmworker, with the 21a homophone perhaps my favourite. Like RD and others, not so keen on either 26a or 27a – but the rest more than made up for them. Thanks to setter and 2Ks.

  19. Aș per normal for a Wednesday, this puzzle was a little tougher than the start of the week. 2.5*/4* for me.
    Favourites 1a, 11a, 24a, 25a & 20d with winner 11a with 25a a close second.
    26a made me laugh as did 22d.

    Thanks to the setter and 2 K’s

  20. I did something completely new wih this one. I had the clues but no grid, so I decided to quickly draw a 15×15 grid and do it as a Skeleton puzzle. Luckily, it is a straightforward grid and once 1a and 6a and 1d, 2d and 3d were entered in it was relatively easy, because they have symmetry, to suss out the full pattern with clue numbers. I found it a nice puzzle, quite mild, with mostly good clues providing an enjoyable solve. Spoiled slightly by 26a and 27a – two very weak cryptic definitions, and consecutive! A bit of a double whammy, so I have knocked .5* off my Enjoyment rating (sorry, setter). 2*/2.5*.

  21. George surprised me by appearing to be concentrating on his lunch or half asleep and suddenly producing a random answer. 26a was one such surprise when I was mentally in Henley. We seem to be getting a lot of geography lateley, not complaining – just saying. I still have my first Geography excursuses book with an exquisitely drawn shaduf followed by an equally charming ox bow lake. Those were the days. Thanks Mr Setter for a fun solve, nothing scary though I did think 8 down was laboured, but funny. And thanks to the two Kiwis also. Favourites, ooops, 11,14& 24a and 3,4,9d.

    1. I completed about two thirds this morning before I went out to my Art Society meeting on Rothko. 1a defeated me and the obvious 26a. Like you Daisy my Geography knowledge helped a little. I also remember drawing a Shaduf and Oxbow lake. We must have taken the same course. Overall I can’t think how it improved our education.

  22. On dear, my worst performance for a while. I’m not ashamed of my ornithological ignorance or failure to parse the excellent 8d, but I had a few gaps in SW which only 2 Kiwis could patch. Thanks.

  23. I had no problem with the 1a ducks … I have no idea of their migration path, but they seem to visit the DT back-pager on a regular basis.

  24. Pleasant enough but IMHO nothing special. North was smoothest ride. Sorry Jane but I have to admit to previously being ignorant of 1a and I needed help to work it out. I’m afraid I’m an ignoramus as far as ornithology is concerned although I do try to live and learn. Slang as per 11a does jar a bit. No Fav(s). Thank you Jay and 2Kiwis.

    1. Do try to learn a bit more – well worth the effort and very rewarding. Collins Bird Guide is the book I recommend to everyone, perhaps something for your Christmas list?

  25. Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky. Must admit that I guessed 27a & 8d, so thanks to the 2 Kiwis for the explanations. I suddenly remembered 1a, and then was able to see the wordplay. Favourite was 11a, an expression often used by my Dad. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  26. A milder Jay today but very enjoyable – 11a and 17d as joint best clues. Thank you also 2Ks

  27. Like MustafaG was held up by the SW corner in what was otherwise an average Wednesday solve. Lots of good clues and accessible anagrams.
    I like the term & it made me smile so 11a my COTD11a my COTD.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks.
    Still not recovered from replacing polytunnel cover over the weekend. Just need some warm weather now. Earlier this week we were 10C lower than the tropics down South.

  28. The following is a bit of a longshot but I always search a little harder when a clue seems to be a straight definition…..

    Could 27a be the noise waves make when they crash, ie when they are white (horses)?

    I’m more than happy to be shot down in flames …

  29. Very late to comment today as drove down to Lymington in Hampshire for a couple of days (business not pleasure). I did the crossword before leaving and can vaguely remember this being pretty straightforward but good fun, with just a couple of twitchy eyebrows over 26 and 27a.

    Many thanks, presumably to Jay, and the 2Ks.

  30. Couldn’t do 19d for toffee….doubt I would ever have got it.
    Otherwise OK.
    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  31. Great fun to complete.
    Would have been very speedily but for 1a and 27a.
    The first eventually constructed correctly and 27a a lucky guess.
    11a, as did some others, made me chuckle, very clever.
    Many thanks to Jay? and the 2Kiwisis.

  32. Like Jane, I had no problem with the ducks. Differentiating then from goosanders can be tricky for the unaware, but they are always a joy to see.
    I had torso at first for 22d which almost worked!
    Good puzzle.

    1. Me too for 22d – it really didn’t help at all, specially as I didn’t see my mistake and gave it a chance – oh dear – bad luck!!
      What a good thing that I’m not a hinty person any more.
      Thanks to Jay and the K’s.

      1. not a hinty person any more” – You may be temporarily sidelined, Kath, but the fantastic progress you’ve made convinces me that you’ll be back hinting in your inimitable style ere long.

  33. I loved this, as I usually do with Jay. I knew the duck, I’m sure I’ve had it before. I am so thick, I couldn’t see the “why” of 8d but it couldn’t be anything else, so I checked my thesaurus – of course, very clever, might be my fave. I do like 11a, but gets a point taken off for slang. I needed e-help to get 27a, so I can’t claim “unaided solve”, pity.
    Thank you Jay for the fun and 2Kiwis for your hints and tips. Wordle in 5.

  34. Evening all! Many thanks to all for comments, and especially to the 2Kiwis for their excellent analysis

  35. Morning all.
    So it was one of yours Jay. We were not totally convinced when we were solving so carefully avoided mention of a setter in our preamble.
    We do not have the 1a ducks in NZ (they do sound delightful), but we do know them from previous crosswords so they were not a problem once we had a starting letter.

  36. I was not familiar with the ducks, and am sure I never saw them when home in the UK, but something learned today. Getting 3d and 9d early on really helped. Can’t believe I actually finished a Jay puzzle, albeit with a few hints. COTD was 11a as I never hear that said over here. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

  37. Sorry – late on parade because I’ve done my back in. All I did was open the tailgate and felt something snap. Consequently, not able to do well with this agreeable puzzle because of discomfort. No matter, it will get better in a day or so.
    In the meantime, our daughter, Faye continues to take over the house – much to the disgust of Hudson.

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