DT 29978 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29978

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29978

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Our beautiful autumn weather continues and we have even had a couple of evenings when we lit the wood-fire. As much for the cheery glow as really needing the extra heat.
Our family have reminded us that it is International Star Wars Day so ‘May the Fourth be with you’.

Today’s crossword gave us the feeling that things are back to normal with a ‘cheery glow’ of a puzzle to work with.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Hard work and energy, with erratic bowler’s age (5-6)
ELBOW-GREASE : The physics symbol for energy and an anagram (erratic) of BOWLER’S AGE.

9a     Two soldiers among Liverpool fans perhaps must be stars (3,6)
RED GIANTS : The colours sported by Liverpool fans contain an American soldier and an insect one.

10a     Horned animal seen in European country (5)
ELAND : E(uropean) and then a country or state.

11a     Last of Close Encounters reflected high opinion (6)
ESTEEM : Working from the right (reflected) we have a word meaning encounters and the last letter of close.

12a     Charge including many a collection of boats (8)
FLOTILLA : Charge or top up contains a word for many and, last of all, ‘A’ from the clue.

13a     Headgear graduate used during performance (6)
TURBAN : A Bachelor of Arts is inside a, possibly, comic performance.

15a     Approach height needing time for line (8)
ATTITUDE : Start with a synonym for height and replace its L(ine) with T(ime).

18a     Lover of beauty hates to move before summer in Nice (8)
AESTHETE : An anagram (to move) of HATES and the word for summer in the language spoken in Nice.

19a     Removes blunders by head of security (6)
STRIPS : The first letter of security and then blunders or loses one’s footing.

21a     Run courses about adult salad ingredients (8)
RADISHES : The cricket abbreviation for run, then A(dult) and courses of a meal.

23a     Crikey, I’m not sure British Standard is applied to credit (6)
CRUMBS : A two letter sound of hesitation and the abbreviation for British Standard follow CR(edit).

26a     Sketched daybreak across river (5)
DRAWN : Daybreak or sunrise contains R(iver).

27a     Spread grain out to be eaten by horse (9)
MARGARINE : A female horse surrounds an anagram (out) of GRAIN.

28a     Cautious male in big top maybe kissed, we hear (11)
CIRCUMSPECT : The entertainment often referred to as ‘big top’ contains M(ale), then a homophone of a word that could mean gave a quick kiss.


1d     The queen must keep a home deposit (7)
EARNEST : Her Majesty’s regnal cypher includes ‘A’ from the clue and then a home, possibly for a bird.

2d     Part of bathroom offer best regularly used (5)
BIDET : An offer that might be made at an auction and the second and fourth letters of best.

3d     Cover up heavy defeat (9)
WHITEWASH : A double definition. The cover up is often a political one and the heavy defeat is usually in a sporting contest.

4d     Downright repulsive (4)
RANK : Another double definition.

5d     4 may be unqualified (8)
ABSOLUTE : Even one more. Interesting to note that with 4d and 5d and their answers we have five synonyms, which we thought was clever.

6d     Put up before court after vacation (5)
ERECT : A poetic word for before and then the first and last letters (after vacation) of court.

7d     Exercises underpinning poorly rated bureaucracy (3,4)
RED TAPE : An anagram (poorly) of RATED and then the two letters for physical exercises.

8d     Cheese may be everything — and nothing in mostly damp environment (8)
HALLOUMI : A word used to describe moist warm weather loses its last letter. This surrounds a three letter word for everything and the letter that looks like zero.

14d     Remaining rule said to be reviewed (8)
RESIDUAL : An anagram (to be reviewed) of RULE SAID.

16d     Differences in pitch offering breaks in play (9)
INTERVALS: A double definition. The first is a technical musical term.

17d     ‘Horse’s heart found in cooking pot’ — bold headline (8)
STREAMER : A type of cooking pot contains the central letter of horse.

18d     Contract could be a game of cards (7)
ABRIDGE : ‘A’ from the clue and a popular card game.

20d     Questionable view to have leader replaced by revolutionary American (7)
SUSPECT : Start with a word meaning a view and replace its first letter with the reversal (revolutionary) of the two letter abbreviation for American.

22d     Lad in charge of sound waves (5)
SONIC : Male offspring and then the two letter ‘in charge’.

24d     State colliery must contain answer (5)
MAINE : A colliery or pit contains A(nswer).

25d     Father on African Union married woman in Germany (4)
FRAU : The abbreviation for a priest father and then A(frican) U(nion).

We rather liked the five synonym 4d and 5d combination but will go for 28 across as our favourite.

Quickie pun    ghetto    +    ferret    =    get over it

71 comments on “DT 29978

  1. I found this a gentle and quite delightful puzzle, albeit with a few odd surfaces. A glance at the top furrowed the brow so I started from the bottom and it all went in very swiftly. The use of 1d was one with which I am unfamiliar but it was fairly clued (as were all the clues, I felt). My page was littered with ticks afterwards, so to pretend to be a little more discerning my Hon Mentions are limited to 13a, 15a, 23a and 28a, with COTD to the wonderful combined surface read and answer of 8d.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks indeed to the setter and to the 2Ks.

    1. Well done, MG, for using the term “unfamiliar” in relation to a definition/synonym. Rather made my day, that has!

      1. Surely a discourse community such as this should be allowed (or even encouraged) to develop its own register.

        1. Indeed. That’s exactly what’s being developed. But it doesn’t need to include unnecessary jargon.

            1. Nobody’s doing any policing, except BD when it’s occasionally necessary. But each person’s “register” will be slightly different to others’ registers – which will lead to (friendly/reasonable) discussion, debate and opinion-giving amongst this “discourse community”. That’s OK, isn’t it?

  2. Very enjoyable, top quality throughout, with the excellent 1a setting the tone.
    My only slight problem was justifying the synonym at 1d (where the solution was clear from the wordplay) but I did eventually find it.
    In a strong field my favourite was 28a, with a special pantomime style booby prize to 9a.
    Many thanks to Jay and the 2Ks.

  3. Typical Wednesday fare, with a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable puzzle with plenty of possibilities for favourite clue. 23a almost got my vote, but in the end I went for 9a.

    My thanks to Jay, I presume, and our 2 Ks.

  4. Another thoroughly enjoyable Wednesday gem, with only the cheese in 8d holding me up a bit at the end. I especially liked the 4d / 5d connection–my co-favourites–as well as 16 and 17d, but there’s not a dud in the grid. Thanks to the Kiwis and today’s setter, who feels a lot like Jay to me. ** / ****

  5. A top quality Jay puzzle. It yielded pretty quickly but was very enjoyable. Despite the odd surface read I rather liked the cheese clue but will go along with YS in picking 9a as my favourite. Like Stephen I struggled with the definition synonym at 1d but unlike him didn’t bother to try & justify it so am none the wiser. No matter how I said it couldn’t twig the Quickie pun either but suppose it works at a push.
    Thanks to Jay & the 2Ks
    Wordle in 3

    1. The BRB’s second definition of the solution to 1d defines it as a payment to confirm a contract

      1. I was lucky in that I did know that putting down some 1d money is used in relation to a deposit, to confirm your seriousness in the purchase. Perhaps it is mostly used in the US?

    2. Blessed are the cheese-makers … you have to get your environment right, Huntsman, not too dry and not too moist. Then your cheese will be everything, rather than nothing! (Maybe the clue could have done with another dash after nothing?)

      1. I’d forgotten that scene from from TLOB – not to be taken literally & could refer to the manufacturers of any dairy products…..

          1. Eric Idle went to my boarding school in Wolverhampton. Like me he hated it.

  6. Gentle stuff although I did need to check the synonym in 1d. Thanks to the 2Ks and today’s setter.

  7. Delighted to find that after a couple of weeks ‘the wrong way round’, this great back-pager was friendlier than the Toughie. I did know the second definition for 1d. My favourite is 23a

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Ks

    PS: the cuckoos are making up for lost time (they were about two weeks’ late) and we had actual rain overnight – as Mr CS said, any more and we’d have had a puddle!

  8. I was beaten by 28a but the rest was most enjoyable. I’m not sure what 1d has to do with deposit and it took me ages to work out the cheese. It’s difficult to pick out a favourite in such a good bunch but I will go with CS and nominate 23a.

    Many thanks to Jay for the fun and, of course, the 2Ks for the hints.

    I went mad on the word games today. Wordle in 2, Canuckle in 1 (fluke of course – I entered the answer to Wordle at my first go) and Waffle with 4 left.

    1. Nurse Ninepence and I compete each day. Today we drew at Wordle. She beat me at Quordle and I did better than her at Waffle so an honourable draw was declared after two shameful defeats for me.

    2. I’ve just got Wordle in 2 and then I too got Canuckle in 1. But mine wasn’t a “fluke” – I used skill and guile based on conjecture provided by your goodself. Have you noticed that Canuckle is usually more difficult than Wordle?

      1. Canuckle always has a Canadian theme so I keep that in mind.

        I am impressed with your “skill and guile”, Jose. :grin:

        1. Funnily enough, I quite often use the Wordle answer to kick-start Canuckle – but it’s never really borne much fruit.

          1. Wordle in 4 – when I eventually come to the end of my run which is about 112, I will stop, but I do enjoy Quordle which I managed in 6 today. Not familiar with Canuckle but will pass on that.

    3. Wordle in two for me too. Lucky I had four of the letters with first go albeit not quite in the right place. Even luckier at second go because there were a number of options.

  9. Spot on today, liked the variety of cluing and subsequent head scratching required!
    Concur with the 2K,s **/****.23a, reminded me about Billy Bunter- making this my favourite
    Liked the surface of 9a and remembered the newspaper headline.
    Thanks to Jay and the 2K’s for the pics..

  10. Great puzzle throughout.
    Solving 4d, 5d and 15a pushed me into 3* time.
    1d could be nothing but that word but new to me.
    Many thanks Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  11. Back to Jay before his alter ego Logman started influencing his Wednesday puzzles. A perfect start by going Up the Downs. **/*****.

    No problems with 1d – a familiar term in ‘real estate’ deals over here.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 19a, 28a, and 16d – and the winner is 28a.

    Thanks to Jay and the 2Kiwis.

  12. Excellent crossword, of course.
    Like Steve Cowling, I did not know that specific definition for 1d, and I too, was held up by the cheese for a while. I caused myself a problem by ending the answer to 18a with ‘ist’; then I solved 17d and saw the error of my ways.

    Thanks to the setter (Jay?) and The TwoKays

  13. An excellent Wednesday offering. About average difficulty but with fine, succinct clues providing a very pleasant solve. I have ticked a few and will select 1d as my favourite, which has a good surface and fine word-play. The definition/answer is an obscure combination, certainly unfamiliar to me, but it is justified with a separate/specific listing in the BRB – so fair game for a setter. 2.5*/3.5*.

  14. In company with others among us, I had to check on the definition required in 1d and I was somewhat discombobulated by 17d where my ‘banner’ didn’t contain enough letters! Don’t recall having previously come across the answer when referring to a headline.
    Thought 28a was clever although the surface read was rather odd and my favourite was 23a – haven’t heard that used for many a long year.

    Thanks to Jay and to our 2Ks for the review – no birding report today, have they all deserted you?

    1. I’m delighted to report that several house martins have literally just arrived. Must have been some tricky weather on their journey north for them to be this late.

      1. That’s good to hear. My friend over here is still waiting for the arrival of ‘her’ nesters. All I’ve got is the wretched Herring Gulls again………..

    2. We were saving our bird report for next week. Shooting season starts on Saturday so our estuary (which is a wildlife sanctuary) will have a huge influx of ducks, Canada geese and black swans escaping from the idiots with shotguns.

  15. A jolly fine puzzle from Jay. As for many previous commenters the 1 down definition was new to me but I didn’t check it having great faith in our setters and the editing team. Thanks to Jay for the crossword. I’m quite fond of radishes, especially straight from the soil. I’ve Never knowingly had margarine nor Halloumi, with Stilton and Cheddar available, why try other cheeses? Thanks to the 2Kays for the blog

    1. MP – do try our local Mrs Temple cheeses – just delicious. We went round her farm a couple of years ago. She is a chemist by training and a larger than life person. Also Baron Bigod from Suffolk. Just yumptious.

  16. I’m really strapped for time today so was pleased to find this puzzle light and very enjoyable. I’ll save some time by saying “ditto” to Jane’s comment, so thanks to her as well as our three Wednesday birds.

  17. Nice puzzle solved on the bus. I couldn’t comment earlier as the bus WiFi blocked BD. As many others I dithered over 1d but aQuick glance at a thesaurus confirmed what Jay already knew. I didn’t doubt that it would be there but it was unfamiliar to me.
    I toyed with Taleggio as a nicer tasting cheese IMO, but checkers eventually forced me towards the squeakier correct cheese. To me it has all the taste and texture of a Teddy Boy’s crêpe soled shoes, but each to his own.
    28a gets the good long one from me. 4d the good short one.

      1. I could mention a rather fraught weekend watching The Jam in Leeds. The local Ted’s didn’t like the mod revival and reacted predictably. But to be honest both eating that cheese and a fight with the Ted’s were mainly figments of my imagination.

        1. (I ran faster than they did, but reasonably confident I would have got a “taste” of their shoes if not)

  18. Interesting. I nearly finished in quite a quick time. Except for 7d for which I had the middle bit and all the checkers but could not think of that terrible stuff they call cheese which is only fit for barbecuing.
    I also don’t get how the answer to 5d can be explained. It’s a complete mystery to me.
    Thanks all

    1. 4 in the clue refers to the answer to 4d. Hence ‘downright’, ‘repulsive’, ‘unqualified’ and the answer to 5d can all be used (in various contexts) as synonyms of the answer to 4d.
      Hope that helps.

  19. absolute /ab’səl-oot or -ūt/
    Free from limits, restrictions or conditions
    Certain, positive
    Free from mixture, pure

    Another unqualified success for the BRB.

    My success at getting this comment up with Bob H is lessunqualified.

  20. Typical Jay puzzle. Highly complex wordplay which is best ignored and just find the definition.
    Done that way it was a pleasant puzzle but the wordplay was often quite bizarre.
    An OK puzzle unlike yesterdays super one that I did not get the time to comment on.
    Thx to allu

  21. A nice Jay puzzle today … no Logman in sight! 2*/4* today.
    One unknown word in 8d but with the cross check letters, figured it out.
    Favourites today include 9a, 23a, 28a, 7d & 24d with winner 23a!

    Thanks to Jay and the 2k’s

    Wordle and Canuckle in 4 … and the answer was the same for both!!

    1. Oops, now you have spoilt it for people who haven’t yet done them yet…. Mind you, Peter made the same mistake by making that comment to me before I had done them. He had to go in the naughty corner 😊.

  22. A satisfying puzzle today, although I did have to work hard in some areas. The cheese was unknown to me, so wouldn’t have got that if I sat and stared at it all day. And haven’t heard of 3d meaning heavy defeat. Otherwise enjoyably doable. Thanks to Jay and 2Kiwis.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle 😃 **/*** Favourites are: 13a, 21a & 28a . Thanks to the 2xKs and to Jay 👍

  24. This didn’t exactly trip off the tongue/pen but gradual disentangling was fun. SE last corner to be completed. I have belatedly realised that I in fact was aware of 1d as a noun in that context. Thought 19a blunders a bit far-fetched. Thank you Jay (?) and the 2Kiwis.

    1. A stroke of luck but have to brag about it – Wordle “magnificent” in 2!

  25. An enjoyable puzzle though I had a couple of unparsed solves despite having the checkers for 1d and 5d. Never mind, here to learn and respectfully answered by Sloop John Bee.

    Like Huntsman I struggled to twig the pun in the Quickie despite reciting it several times. Many thanks to Jay (?) and the 2 Kiwis.

  26. Morning all.
    By one of life’s strange coincidences we had heard the required meaning of the answer to 1d in a TV quiz programme (probably The Chase) the previous day. Otherwise we too would have been reaching for the BRB.
    Nice to see that there is pretty much universal approval for this puzzle.

    1. Is that the American Chase? I haven’t made up my mind yet whether I like it.

      1. No the UK Chase. Watched one episode of the US version and vowed never to repeat the experience.

  27. Alas, I had a couple DNF in the NE, never heard of the cheese, otherwise a most enjoyable solve. I had no problem with 1d so BusyLizzie is probably right and is mainly used here. Fave 28a.
    Thanks Jay for a most pleasant solve and 2Kiwis for unravelling some for me. Wordle a phew at 6.

  28. Enjoyed this today. Especially satisfying was solving 8d, my penultimate one in.

    1d, my loi, was new to me and one for the memory bank. Surprised it hasn’t come up in a crossword before. I know i would use this if I was clever enough to be a setter.

    Thanks to all.

  29. Like most, the use of 1d was new to me. I completed this in fits and starts, getting fewer smiles per mile than anyone else it seems. Thanks Jay and 2Ks.

  30. Good fun. 15a last one in. I had latitude in mind. 28a top dog by a mile but followed by 1 9 and 27 a and 8d. Like others I did not know the synonym at 1d but it had to be. Thanks Jay and 2Ks.

  31. 3*/3*….
    liked 18A ” Lover of beauty hates to move before summer in Nice (8)”

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