DT 29969 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29969 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29969 Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by Tilsit)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from Warrington on a sunny spring morning. We have what looks like a Mysteron on duty today.

Although it’s a pangram (nearly a double pangram), it doesn’t feel like Cephas’ concise cluing and it’s not our lady setter, so we have another chance to play ‘guess the setter’

Today’s teaser was a bit trickier than recent ones, I thought. Let us know what you thought.

The usual request to play nicely, or the naughty step beckons

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1    Cunning daughter going after animal (6)
The name of a small mammal, followed by the abbreviation for daughter.

4    Secretary in twisted braces that’s used by typist? (5,3)
An abbreviation that posh secretaries give themselves goes inside an anagram (twisted) of BRACES.

11    Yearn terribly to cover piano in table linen (6)
An anagram (terribly) of YEARN with the musical abbreviation for piano inside gives this unusual word for household linen.

14    Serving as an excuse for why it was once clear in middle of night (10)
A two-letter prefix meaning former, followed by a word meaning clear. This is followed by IN and the middle letter of NIGHT.

22    Extraordinary ordinary seaman takes the lead (8)
Another word for ordinary, with the abbreviation for a sailor at the front of it.

24    Rapid repair is only temporary (5-3)
A word meaning rapid and one for a repair join forces to give a phrase for a temporary one.

26    Place on the highest of high chairs? (8)
A cryptic way of saying to appoint someone to the ultimate top job.

27    Comment about mariner’s first boat (6)
A word sum. A short way of saying about + the first letter of mariner + an ancient boat.


1    Splash out on group to entertain new queen (8)
The name for a group of people with the abbreviation for new inside. Add to this, HM the Q’s short form.

3    Pirate’s charge for service reduced (5,3)
The annual charge for one of your services shortened gives a slang term for a man of the sea.

5    Humorous 27 from student among country-folk (10)
Inside a word for rustic people goes the abbreviation for student.

8    Staggered as swimmer gets left outside (6)
The name for a type of fish has a word meaning (politically) left around it.

13    Pub cheering new item (10)
The word for a pub, plus one for cheering or applause.

15    Blockage worker found going round alternative rally (8)
Something meaning a blockage, and a creature that ‘worker’ can describe go around a short word for an alternative.

16    Pudding from Isle of Man unhappy female leaves (8)
An anagram of ISLE OF MAN, minus the abbreviation for female gives you something you ‘enjoyed’ at school with a dollop of strawberry jam.

19    Brand of large tent not quite finished (6)
A posh word for a brand, much used by car dealers is the name of a large tent, minus its last letter.

21    Less prosperous dealer in the City? (6)
If someone was less prosperous, they could be described as this, although it’s not actually a real word.

Well were you on fire today, or was it more of a damp squib? Do let us know and try to be constructive. Setters like positive, helpful feedback.

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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!

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The Quick Crossword pun: BELLE + WRINGERS = BELL RINGERS

Music today is from a famous 1995 TV series. Hearing this always makes me think of sunny days and genteel folk. Enjoy!

84 comments on “DT 29969 (Hints)

  1. Enjoyable and I agree a bit more testing than previous Saturday back pagers. But got there on the end. The quickie on the other hand! 5d a mystery. Thanks to setter and Tilsit.

  2. An enjoyable pangram, 7d was my favourite clue this morning. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter.

  3. Another great puzzle – Chris the Editor is being kind to us. This pangram had the feel of one by Chalicea but I am probably wrong. As with the last couple of days, there is plenty to like and a couple of forgotten words such as 11a. I thought 10a was neat as was 13d. No real COTD but a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and Tilsit for the hints.

    Canuckle was close. I had the second letter only for the first five guesses then got it on the sixth. Pure fluke, of course. Wordle in 3 and Wheedle with five turns left.

  4. Satisfyingly completed in just nudging ** time.
    Would not have nudged if last in, 15d, had not taken so long.
    Brilliant clue.
    26a likewise and made me chuckle.
    Many thanks to the setter and to tilsit.

  5. Brain fog in the NW which extended the solve to nearly *** time (too much wine last night methinks). A very pleasant & enjoyable pangram (I too thought a double might be on the cards) that was pretty straightforward & ought to have been a much quicker finish. No particular favourite but well clued throughout.
    Thanks to the setter & to Tilsit
    Wordle in 4

  6. Whoever the setter is, I enjoyed the solve. 10A, 3D, and 15D get my vote, with 15D taking top spot because it’s such a lovely word. So thanks to him (or her), and to Tilsit.

  7. I didn’t find the crossword that difficult, but I did enjoy the solve and counting the letters to see if there were enough for a double pangram. Having been both a secretary and the person required for 4a, I’d take issue with both Tilsit’s remark about poshness and the roles being the same thing.

    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter (whoever they are). I’d also be interested to know if Manders is the letter writer in today’s paper with a splendid pseudonym ;)

    1. Not me CS, what a perfectly great name though! I deliberately didn’t reply to the original letter but everything ‘Nobby’ says is correct.

        1. Something to do with office clerks wearing a type of bowler hat called a “nobby”, I think.

        2. It was to do with some people changing the spelling of their names to sound more middle class, Clark had an E put on the end. People responded by calling them Nobby implying that they thought they were nobility. Spellings of other names were changed as well such as Smith to Smyth

    2. You beat me to it, I was going to say their duties are a lot more involved than secretarial work, and many bosses would be lost without them.

    3. Thanks, I too was a bit ticked off about 4a. I started my working life as a typist, working my way up to secretary, administrative assistant, and then for the last 10 years before I retired I was an executive assistant and earning a very good salary. It is certainly not a posh word that typists give themselves. A check of the different payslips will verify that. You have to be smart, diligent and thoroughly reliable to move up. When you are supporting top management they have little patience, and demand 100% performance in all tasks. It’s not just typing. Sorry Tilsit.

  8. I found this more challenging than some Saturday offerings but no complaints from me about that. Managed to parse different jacket for 7d but later came to. Somehow the surface for 2d doesn’t seem to read very well. My Fav was 21d! Thank you Mysteron and Tilsit.

  9. Lovely pangram, with the quickie taking almost as much time as the backpager. I too felt early on that it might be Chalicea but changed my mind as I hit the bottom half. I especially liked 15d, 1d, & 18a. Thanks to Tilsit (hope you’ve recovered from your Covid bout) and today’s setter. ** / ***

    Yesterday, Jimmy and I enjoyed our first lunch in six months away from home, some fine-dining with old colleagues, a bit of vino, excellent Lowcountry food (swordfish and grits and collards, for me), and superb weather, outdoors under a canopy.

      1. Think porridge but made of boiled cornmeal. I tried it once as a newly arrived expat. Apologies to Robert, but once was once too many.

        1. Thanks, Chris – not being a porridge fan, I probably wouldn’t try grits. Interesting name, though. Is the texture “gritty”?

          1. It is indeed gritted cornmeal, but to us Southerners it is ambrosial when cooked properly. I’m sorry that Expat Chris found it (never ‘them’) to be less than flavourful. Our grits, chez nous, are never gritty, but leavened with some Half-n-half and perhaps some English cheddar (which we often do), there’s nothing else on earth quite like it. Yesterday’s at the restaurant was smooth and scrumptious. It really is nothing like porridge at all.

                1. Forget it Steve. Robert is a man of undoubted discernment & good taste but I’d draw the line at grits.

                  1. Ha ha. ‘De gustibus….’, Huntsman. SC: tell me that you’ve acquired a box or package of grits and I’ll send you a recipe.

            1. Hi RC I just popped in to say that Bad Actors by Mick Herron was reviewed in the Telegraph today by Jake Kerridge. He gave it 5 stars! Will attempt the crossword later and comment.

              1. Thank you, Granny Helen! I’ve just pre-ordered Bad Actors, which isn’t available over here until 12 May. Can’t wait! Let me know how you’re faring with the series. Are you already up to #8?

          2. Not as I recall, but it was decades ago. Perhaps Robert will pop back in and explain better.

      2. George once asked that if a lady serving in a New Orleans diner and she answered ‘man, if you don’t know I ain’t got the time to explain’ so we never did find out!
        Porage is my guess

  10. As well as managing five consecutive days of doing the cryptic on the day of publication, we seem to be having an uncommonly switched-on week, with us just tipping a few seconds into ** star time again today. I fear that neither of these things will last!

    Really enjoyed that. Couldn’t possibly guess the setter, but thanks to whoever it was for the entertainment.

    1. I also managed to solve this crossword on the actual day.
      And preferred this pangram to the one your homonym sings.
      Not for the faint hearted.

  11. Bumbled along quite happily thinking this was Chalicea upping the ante a little until Tilsit said it wasn’t one of hers so now I’m at a bit of a loss. Not to worry, it was an enjoyable puzzle whoever penned it.
    Top two here were 10a & 7d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints – first time in weeks that I’ve been able to access your music choice.

  12. LOI 11a as I had to look it up to make sure it was a word. Otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable romp. 15d my COTD which I thought was very clever. Thanks to the setter (?) and Tilsit.

  13. Like Jane, I thought that this was Chalicea upping the ante but there was a sprinkling of clues giving me pause for thought on if it was her or not. So, I used to be undecided now I am not so sure. 2.5*/3*.

    While solving, I winced at the secretary in 4a and winced even more when I read Tilsit’s hint.

    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 5d, and 21d – and the winner is 27a.

    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  14. AristotleBe
    April 23, 2022
    Found this one quite easy but enjoyable. In fact only checked the site to listen to the lovely music. So thank you very much.

  15. Nice SPP that didn’t trouble the coffee pot. Thanks to Tilsit and setter. (My guess Donnybrook) because of 17 and 19d

    1. Alas, your video is unavailable in our country, something that is happening more and more frequently.

      1. Sorry, I don’t know why youtube persist with these regional restrictions on some things and not others. I will try and remember to use youtube clips sparingly in hints.

  16. A pleasant pangram for a Saturday morning although both 22a & 17d seemed very week to me. It actually came quite close to being a double pangram but that didn’t quite materialise.

    I made 18a more difficult for myself than it needed to be by initially reading the first word as “Em”.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

    1. Ditto RD. Looks like em in dead tree version. Also ditto to 22a and 17d.
      I’d also add 24a and particularly 18a: hack’s ok but hackneyed? Really? Or is that naughty step?
      Not for me today. Thanks to all.

    2. It still looks like “em” to me. I was just about to ask somebody to parse this for me, so thanks for posting this comment!

  17. Very enjoyable and innovatively clued throughout, though I have to say not the most contemporary feeling puzzle.
    My favourite was 9a
    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit and a Happy St George’s Day to everyone.

  18. I too spotted the pangram early on, there were an awful lot of ‘k’s. I always want to put an I into 11a but other than that it was all plain sailing. I agree with Jonners about 7d, nice clue and something very close to George’s heart! West Side Story went well last night although we only understood every third word of the dialogue. I wouldn’t say it was better than the original, just different, grittier. The music and dancing superb and the sets of course. Many thanks to Tilsit and Myster Ron. Post Covid languor washing over me again I shall have to have a little snooze – like an old lady, which of course, I am not.

  19. A pretty straightforward puzzle for this Saturday. Was on the lookout for a pangram early on with 17d and 24a solved early in the grid. Last area in was NW … quite tricky. Overall for today 2*/4*
    Favourites include 9a, 10a, 12a, 3d & 13d with winner 9a
    10a, 12a, 3d & 7d all made me smile.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  20. I thought this was just about the right difficulty for a Saturday puzzle, difficult enough to make it interesting. Completely missed the pangram, not that it made any difference, and in my opinion I don’t think it ever does.NW corner was the last to be cracked with 1a last in. Thanks to all.

  21. Yes, it is me again! Nice to have three Saturdays in a row! Thank you for your kind comments.

    1. Thank you for the puzzle and for popping in to confirm authorship, Cephas. CL is certainly giving our ‘setter guessers’ the run around at the moment, no doubt a source of great amusement for the DT team in Telegraph Towers!

    2. That was a most enjoyable contest, Cephas, and it was a pleasure to pick up the gauntlet you threw down. I’ve had a break from the prize crossword for a while because, after years and years of submitting entries, I finally struck gold last November and, at the same time, reclaimed my Saturday mornings.

  22. Good puzzle from whom? Will we ever know. Feeling pleased I managed 15d on first skim though. I have definitely improved over these last few months. Thank you Tilsit for your explanations of certain clues.

    We had a six week tour of Northern USA in autumn 2009 and although grits was explained to us we never tried it. What struck us in the various places we stayed was the sugared breakfasts most people seemed to eat. It was a very enjoyable trip with lots of fine memories.

    1. Yes, I agree they do eat a lot of sugared breakfasts. What I call French toast here is heavily sprinkled with sugar and fruit. The savoury French toast here is called Texas toast.

      1. Americans have very sweet teeth. I have to get my marmalade from England as all the local versions are so sweet.

  23. No Siena moment for me this week 🤨
    In fact a PB time by some margin . A very enjoyable puzzle. Last in and COTD 15d , delightful. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit .

  24. Well that was an oddball. 3/4 were excellent but then you come to the top left and it all goes for a ball of chalk.
    1d, 1a and 3d all very poor, clumsy and inaccurate. 1a would have made more sense if it had said astute instead of cunning.
    A real shame as it spoilt an otherwise good puzzle.
    Difficult to rate but 3/4 **/**** and 1/4 ***/*
    Thx for the hints.

  25. After failing miserably yesterday, I loved this all the way through, just up my straße! My only doubt was 3d, a bung in, it had to be, I kept thinking of church service; note to self, remember lateral thinking! So much to like, I had no problem in the NW corner, last to fall was the SW. I think my fave is 15d, I always like the sound of words, but 19d and 10a were good fun.
    Thank you Cephas for the fun, and Tilsit for the hints and tips. Wordle in 4.

  26. I’m almost finished, needing to figure out 2d, 6d and 18a. Setting aside for now, as very often the answers come to me by lunch time. A very enjoyable Saturday challenge. Thanks to setter and Tilsit. Off to Wordle and Canuckle later.

  27. Thank you Cephas and Tilsit. All completed early this morning. I found it enjoyable. My favourites 27a and 5 6 13 and 15d. Wordle in 4.

  28. On first read through, this looked horrendous but eventually got started and then everything slotted into place. Good fun. Don’t understand Brian’s beef about 1a, 1d and 3d. They seem perfectly fair to me.

  29. Many thanks for a great puzzle Cephas. And thanks too to Tilsit.
    Can you help me parse 1a in the 50-50 crossword: Result of approval: getting married for the first time (12)

    1. The wordplay suggests that an M is swapped for a T. So a word for approval swaps it’s T for an M to become a word for result. RATIFICATION becomes RAMIFICATION.
      I hope that fits in with other checkers as I haven’t looked at the 50-50 myself

  30. Finished at 5:0 p.m. with ony two hints required – thank you, Tilsit

    Stuck on 15d until my brain managed to remember the first three letters.
    Very messy when I’d finished, but that doesn’t matter because it isn’t going anywhere!

  31. Enjoyed this very much . Needed Tilsit’s help to parse 22a, then could not understand why I had been so slow to see it.
    Thanks to Cephas for a great puzzle and to Tilsit for keeping me right.

    I’d have given quite a lot for a spoonful of strawberry jam along with that pudding. Our school only served it with prunes…..ghastly hardly covers it. The only good thing about it was the competition to see how many prune stones the hardy eaters could spit into the empty water jug from their seats….as I didn’t eat them I was only a spectator…and yes, the competitors were all girls.

    Cotswolds are lovely….weather OK…generally having a very good time.

  32. Thank you to Tilsit for your help and thanks to Cephas for an enjoyable puzzle, which I have yet to finish. Will try again in the morning. 16d brought back horrible memories – even the jam used to have skin on it! Funny how some things bring instant recall.

  33. Thanks, indeed, Cephas. We, too, were wondering who had set this as I knew it wasn’t me (and the pangram suggested Cephas – I tend to avoid them unless they happen accidentally, as they demand words that are not always within the range of the ‘understandable’ ones required by the editor CL, for the cryptics). The grid suggested the work of Cephas too. We have a space restriction and Cephas commented to me that I tend to use grids with more clues than the ones he chooses. Look at the grid and you’ll see how it prompts a ‘Cephas’. I have taken his tip to heart.

  34. Are you happy with the 1d hint. Shouldn’t it have a different abbreviation for QE2″

    1. Welcome to the blog Roger

      Since Tilsit didn’t give an abbreviation, I’m not sure how it could be a different one.

      The answer is a little odd in that it contains two “abbreviations” for queen. The one that is referred to in the clue is the second one, which forms the last two letters of the answer.

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