DT 29963 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29963 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29963 Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

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Good morning from sunny Warrington. It looks like Cephas is making a quick return with his 1,501st puzzle. It’s a pangram and has all the hallmarks of his cluing. A couple of the clues don’t quite seem to hit the spot, but maybe I am being a bit foggy this morning.

My week has been somewhat restricted. I tested positive on Sunday after my visit to the hospital and after two years of taking every precaution no to get it, I ended up with the wretched COVID. I’m still feeling a bit rubbish and cannot do anything yet, as I tested positive once more yesterday. It’s not as bad as most, I guess, but I have the really fuzzy, foggy, aching head, various aching joints, a nasty cough, and worst of all, I can’t taste anything.

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.


7    Would this hot spell raise sea temperature? (8)
This spell of hot weather might well, if split 4,4, be able to raise the sea temperature

9    Briefly state one’s game (6)
The short name for a US state (The Volunteer State) and the possessive form of the number one.

12    No longer required, it is still in the supermarket (2,3,5)
If you are this, you are surplus to requirements, and if so, where you’d be found in a supermarket.

14    Stupid for the most part, that’s 12! (4)
If you take four-fifths of a word meaning stupid, you get a word meaning part of the answer to 12.

17    Flashy black marketeer personalities back (4)
The word for a shady salesman from wartime is the reverse of an acronym for celebs.

18    Sewer suffering same strain (10)
In the way that a river could be said to be a flower, one that flows. So here… the definition is an anagram of same, plus a word meaning strain.

23    Spots city maze complex (6)
The postcode representing part of London (the East Central bit), plus an anagram of maze.

24    Lounge Dad and I included, it’s sweet (8)
A word meaning to lounge around, plus a word for Father, with I dropped in between them.


1    Ticket’s about to go (6)
A short word meaning about and a word meaning a go in a game.

3    Going from one side to the other in the French game (8)
If you traverse from one side to another, you go this way. Place that inside a French article. You get the name of a sport.

6    Referring to one that is extraordinary (8)
A double definition. Something that is one of a kind can be described as this, as well as something that is extraordinary, unique.

8    Old iron part in package sent by special messenger (7,6)
A short prefix meaning former, a large type of iron, and something linked with part (see Mrs Bradford).

13    Not a complete 9 1? (4,6)
Something that is not the full answer to 1 in 9.

15    The man Patrick I reportedly see with a plant (8)
A word sum. A short word meaning the man + an abbreviation for Patrick + I + the letter that sounds like see + A = a beautiful spring plant.

16    Band together (8)
A French word meaning together and a posh name for a group of musicians.

18    Viceroy’s South American gin (6)
An old name for a dignitary is found by taking the abbreviation for South American and adding what a gin is in the world of the countryside. (you’re not getting a picture of one of the vile things)

22    Aforementioned oral (4)
Something that has been mentioned earlier is described as this and a word meaning oral.

Thank you to Cephas for today’s challenge.

Were you fired up by today’s puzzle, or was it more of a damp squib? Have your say below. As usual, please play nicely or the naughty step beckons, and we’ll hide your Easter Eggs. I’ll see you next Saturday.

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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.


Let’s have something nice and bright for music today. Try this by Lavinia Meijer, a very talented young Dutch musician.

69 comments on “DT 29963 (Hints)

  1. 2*/3*. I enjoyed most of this light pangram with commendably brief clueing, but I thought that 4d was a bit weak and there were a couple of slightly questionable surfaces. I did like to see “see” preceded by “reportedly” in 15d.

    Many thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit, who I hope makes a full recovery from Covid very soon.

  2. Dear me that was tough! Managed to complete but only with help from the excellent hints. Vaguely heard of 18d before but still needed to look in the BRB to confirm. A real struggle. Not one to enjoy more for the satisfaction of completing.
    Thx for the hints.
    PS is it only me who get irked by these clues that need you to solve one clue to receive the full clue to another. Annoying!
    Apologies for the double comment but I am trying to switch away from Chrome with it’s annoying ads.

    1. Sadly Brian, the crossword world is divided. Those of us, who really like those sorts of puzzles, and those of us, who don’t. M’learned friend Crypticsue hates them. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

      Those of us who cut our solving teeth on the Grauniad crossword learned to love them through tackling the venerable Araucaria’s puzzles. Altair was another one who set puzzles where one answer led to defining the others. Even the current Sunday setter is not averse to using them. Some editors allow them, others don’t.

      They are fun and something different to the norm if used sensibly.

  3. Sorry to hear you have covid. Sounds like the early version. This for the tips. Think you need to edit 18d or it’s the naughty step!

  4. Really nice to see the SPP on the back page today. 1d and 10a were my last ones in today. 18d was a bit of an obscure word but fairly clued and dredged up from the lower parts of the Beehive. working out 13d helped get 1d.
    Thanks to Tilsit (thanks for the follow – I won’t be burning up the Twittersphere but have added a few cruciverbalists) and Cephas?
    Thanks for the music Tilsit and get well soon.

  5. Quite gentle for a Saturday.
    Last in, 7a, to my shame then 11a and 8d.
    So, just nudged ** time.
    Many thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  6. An unexceptional, even rather dull Saturday puzzle, all reasonably straightforward. I usually share Brian’s gripe about interconnected clues, but at least on this occasion 8d fell without needing the other two answers.

    17 hints for only 26 clues in a prize puzzle – wouldn’t be a surprise were the DT to insist on no hints and review until after the closing date for entries – as is the case with The Times and the “Times for The Times” site.

    2* / 1.5*

    Hope your recovery is swift Tilsit, thank you for the review and thanks to the setter.

    1. I look forward to reading your next blog and seeing your next puzzle in print.
      If you don’t like it, go and haunt the Answerbank, they are short of mealy-mouthed contributors these days.

  7. Couple of clues that I wasn’t very persuaded by but overall an enjoyable SPP.
    Top three for me were 7&10a plus 8d which all raised a smile.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints.

  8. This American didn’t exactly find this SPP gentle or light, but it was a worthy challenge. What, for example, to do with ‘Charlton’ (besides grabbing that rifle from his ‘cold dead hands’ and taking his unnecessary Oscar away?). My bung-in there was, luckily, the correct solution, so thanks for checking letters. I didn’t much care for the 1 9 13 connection either, but I got there in the end. No special favourites, just glad to finish this one without hints or googling. Thanks to Tilsit, and I hope you get well soon, sir. And to Cephas: I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy this one much, but thanks anyway. ** / **

    1. Re 20a they’re a football team. Never seen them play but saw The Who on my 14th birthday playing in their old stadium

    2. Is it wrong for a UK crossword to have UK references, like Charlton?

      If you live in, say, St Lucia, and compile cryptic crosswords for a local paper using local references, does a person from
      Laos knock a star off their rating when trying to solve it?

      I often see people from overseas mentioning this. I assume it’s a passing comment, saying it makes it harder for them, as opposed to a criticism?

  9. While solving, I thought that CS might be getting her expected NY Doorknob puzzle a day late but then verification of the pangram showed otherwise, but surely it is our setter’s 1501st puzzle or did I miss one somewhere during the week. **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 20a, 21a, 6d, 8d, and 15d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit.

      1. And that should have registered with me from the Puzzles Newsletter that told us all about Cephas’ crosswording career. Thanks.

        P.S. But, see Cephas’ comment below at 22.

  10. A few hmms from me too – particularly 11and 22a and surface of 24. Having said that it was pleasant solve overall. **/**
    Thanks to the compiler and Tilsit for producing the review and hints when clearly indisposed! Hope recovery comes quickly.

  11. Enjoyed this a lot – 14a held me up because for some reason I was trying to spell it incorrectly, silly me. I had the right game in 9a but deleted it when I couldn’t parse it only to reinstate it having read the hint. Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit – so sorry you have succumbed to the dreaded lurgy and hope you are on the mend soon – dreadful to lose your sense of taste.

  12. Enjoyed this one, a steady solve. 18d is a new word for me. Also not a huge fan of clues that reference one another but they don’t seem so bad when I get the first one!

  13. I found this tricky in a couple of places & somehow the 2.5* solve time felt longer. Last in was 23a where I was fixated on another 2 letter city & different spots until I realised what letter was still needed for the pangram. I didn’t mind the 13d / 9a&1d connected clues but was disappointed that I missed the context of briefly state at 9a. I wasn’t fully convinced by 11a as surely the answer doesn’t necessarily involve condemnation.
    No real favourites but a pleasant enough puzzle.
    Thanks to the setter (Cephas) & to Tilsit & 🤞for a swift recovery

  14. I started off well but eventually ended up in the mire causing an unenjoyable slog to the end. I needed a lot of Tilsit’s hints and I still haven’t worked out 22d even with the hint. Having said that, it was the proverbial egg and I did like 20a and 23a and 6d although I have no COTD.

    Many thanks, Cephas for the challenge but I could not do it the justice it deserved. Thank you, Tilsit for the much needed hints and I do sincerely hope you shake off the dread Covid soon.

    Wordle in 3.

    1. SC, re Whiplash. It was on BBC3 last night at 9pm (and last Sunday night also), but I didn’t read your comment till 11pm – too late to tip you off. Be careful who you watch it with, there is some very strong language and scenes of bullying – that bandleader/conductor is a ruthlessly strict taskmaster and a bit of a monster!

      1. I gathered he was a bit of a monster when he said to the drummer in the clip you posted “What do you think you’re doing?” and his reply was “I’ll show you!” A case of the worm turning?

        Anyway, thanks for pointing the film out, Jose. As for strong language, Mrs. C. won’t mind – she does, after all, live with me! :grin:

  15. NE corner gave me trouble because I kept trying to make the wrong answer for 1D fit. All sorted, though, when the penny dropped for 7A. No particular favorites. I just enjoyed the overall solve. Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit. I hope you feel better soon. I have avoided COVID so far and trying to keep it that way so a mask is my constant companion.

  16. A little beyond my reach. Managed about three-quarters. Like some others above, I’m not a huge fan of the ‘solving a clue to gain an insight into another clue’ but I fully accept there are probably many others who enjoy them.
    I don’t agree with Mustafa, but are the responses a little….terse? I know – none of my biz.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit – get well soon. I recognise your symptoms so clearly from when I succumbed in January!

    1. MG’s choice of words was a tad clumsy and the responses were most certainly to the point.

      Hopefully, we’ll seem him again as I like his observations.

      He most definitely has the ratings bar raised highest amongst us!

      A tough man to please which I applaud

    2. Sometimes terse is deserved, and sometimes they have the effect of sending the offender away to a site more suited to their superior intelligence.

      1. Does his post really merit him being sent away? It wasn’t that bad….was it?

        Put it this way, I’ve seen a lot worse with no knuckles being rapped.

        1. He hasn’t been sent away. If he makes constructive comments then he is welcome. There was no supporting evidence about why he hated the puzzle so much.

          You would all be a bit stuffed if the DT decided to ban the Blog from posting hints on Saturday and Sunday, and the suggestion that the DT should do it crossed several lines. I am not apologising for what I said and like BD, who owns and pays for you all to enjoy this blog, I consider the matter now closed.

  17. Slow off the starting block but then enjoyed an engaging challenge. North less troublesome than South. 4d has to be but can’t completely parse it and likewise 13d. Needed help with 15d which was a new one on me. 7a raised a smile. Thank you Cephas and Tilsit to whom all good wishes for a full and speedy recovery from Covid.

  18. I always think that Saturday mornings must be a tough gig for the setters as he/she has to follow our excellent “triumvirate” of Friday compilers plus has a remit to make it fairly gentle.
    I thought 4d a tad weak (unless I’m missing something) and had the same thoughts as Huntsman re 11a (though I’m sure the setter can justify it). Those apart an entertaining puzzle with the linked 9a,1&13d particularly appealing but my favourite simply because it was my last in was 22d.
    Many thanks to Cephas and thanks and best wishes to Tilsit.

  19. I enjoyed this sitting in the sunshine with my lunchtime salad, though I did seem to struggle a bit I put it down, like Tilsit, to the post Covid effect which is something I had not really anticipated. There is the initial relief of being negative again and it is over, you have survived, and then the after kick. Ouch. Thanks for taking my mind of it all setter person and thanks to Tilsit for explaining 7a which sadly was my LOI. Pleased that the old brain dredged up 18d! Happy Easter🐰

  20. Thank you for your kind comments. This is cryptic and quick no. 1501. The General Knowledge crosswords are not included in this number.

    1. Thank you sir, especially for clarifying what does and does not count in your magnificent total number of puzzles.

  21. I seem to do better with the Saturday crossword than most of the rest of the week and today was no exception. An enjoyable time with my salad, and I never thought I would say that, and some enjoyable clues. Like Brian I do not enjoy linked clues and never start one where either there are several of them or the rest are all linked to one clue.

    Thanks to Cephas and best wishes to Tilsit for a speedy recovery.

  22. The odd linked clue doesn’t bother me but I rarely complete puzzles where there are a lot of linked clues sending you backwards and forwards all around the clues. This was a nice start to the day. Thanks setter and thanks Tilsit. Ooh that’s tough Harlequins 59 – 60 Montpelier

  23. Enjoyable and doable but tricky, I did complete it with a little e-help, particularly in the SW. Charlton meant nothing to me. It’s been a long time since 18d appeared but it used to be a regular visitor. I rather liked 15a.
    Thanks Cephas and Tilsit for our Saturday fun. Wordle in 3

  24. Mr Meringue rode to the rescue with 15d, horticulture not being my strong suit , otherwise an enjoyable unaided solve.
    I’m not too keen on the linked solutions either as I invariably cannot solve either of them…not today, though.
    But, as Tilsit says, each to his own. I enjoy anagrams but I know others do not.

    Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit…I do hope you feel better soon.

  25. A tougher Saturday puzzle this week I thought. 3*/4* for me today.
    Favourites include7a, 15a, 4d & 6d with winner 7a.
    In the hint for 24a, shouldn’t the underlined definition be the last word of the clue rather than the first??
    The answer would seem to indicate that.

    Thanks to Cephas and Tilsit

    1. You are quite right. In Tilsit’s absence I have altered the underlining. I do hope he doesn’t mind

  26. Delayed by croquet, but I thought this was about right for a Saturday. I’m not a fan of linked clues but on this occasion they proved helpful in reverse. Couple of google look ups required to confirm words I wasn’t familiar with.

    Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter.

  27. Late to post again today but I enjoyed this speedy romp through crosswordland. My only hold up was 18d but the wordplay was very fair and I remembered the word once I had entered it into the grid.

    My thanks and congratulations to Cephas on his 1501 puzzles, and to the ailing Tilsit; get well soon.

  28. Good steady solve. Also not so keen on cross-referencing clues but adds to the variety provided it is kept in bounds. I think the Friday Toughie overdoes it sometimes.

  29. Just a normal Saturday. At least the back page really was on the back page! COTD 24a,
    Came to it late after finishing the Saturday General Knowledge puzzle. Is there anyone who doesn’t find the size of it difficult to cope with?
    Sorry to hear Tilsit is unwell. As usual, the dreaded lurgy seems to be worse for men! Not being catty, I really want to know why? My experience was just a nasty cold.

    1. I have never been a big fan of the GK. You either know the answer or not. At least with the cryptic there are extra information to help with the solving.
      I did have a go at the Scrabble © today and rarely for me, I seem to have found a word that exceeds the target score. I might just submit it to see how I am slapped down in flames.

  30. Not quite as enjoyable as 1500 but still enjoyed this pangram, thanks Cephas. Last one in was 23a….odd really, as a lifelong sufferer of the condition but I don’t think of it as spots!
    I appreciated the quickie pun, the world could do with more leaders like him!
    Thanks to Tilsit for the blog, hope you’re on the mend soon.

  31. I’m a DNF. Got two thirds done, and lost interest. Had more fun doing Kate Mepham’s Giant GK, the only GK puzzle that I enjoy. Thanks to Cephas and especially to Tilsit, for much needed clues.

  32. Thanks to Cephas and to Tilsit for the hints. Get well soon Tilsit. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found a bit tricky in parts. Didn’t mind the linked clues. Suspected a pangram quite early, which really helped when trying to solve 11a,which was my penultimate one in. Last was 14a. Favourite was 18a, which had me confused before I realised it was a partial anagram. Was 3*/4* for me.

  33. Started slowly then got a few in a rush. Somehow not as satisfying as recent others.
    Hope you get better soon Dave.

  34. In your hint for 8d I do not understand the reference to “Mrs Bradford”.
    Am I missing something?

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