DT 29988 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29988

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29988

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja where summer seems to have arrived at last.  After the wettest March on record and a pretty chilly April the sun has recently come out and temperatures are up in the high twenties every afternoon.  I’ve mothballed my long trousers and socks and got out the shorts and sandals.

I’m wondering if today’s puzzle is from a different setter from our usual maestro.  Somehow it felt a bit different and I can’t see a second pun in the Quickie, but someone will probably put me right on that.  Anyway it was enjoyable enough and with six anagrams it’s fairly easy to get a toehold.  I’ll be interested to see if anyone else feels the same as me about the setter.

As usual the ones I liked most are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Old-fashioned social worker and I extremely talkative in courtyard (10)
ANTIQUATED:  Start with the usual social worker and the I from the clue.  Then you need an abbreviated word for a courtyard, in a school perhaps, with TE (extremely TalkativE) inserted (in).  Whenever there’s a J, Q, X or Z in 1a I’m on the lookout for a pangram but it was not to be today.

6a           Finish second best (4)
STOP:  S(econd) followed by a word meaning best.

10a         Bottle that’s never drunk (5)
NERVE: Bottle, as in courage, is an anagram (drunk) of NEVER.

11a         English boffin’s place old consider complex (9)
ELABORATE: A charade of E(nglish), a place where a boffin or scientist might work, O(ld) and a word meaning to consider or appraise.

12a         Admits being confused by a Spielberg film (7)
AMISTAD:  Anagram (being confused) of ADMITS next to (by) the A from the clue.  Not his most famous film methinks.  BTW, the word is Spanish for friendship.

13a         Paddy, dry, downing an alcoholic drink (7)
TANTRUM:  Take the two letters for dry, as in not drinking alcohol, and insert (downing) the AN from the clue, Follow this with pommette’s favourite alcoholic drink to get a paddy or fit of temper.

14a         Ferociously sound horn to pass before corner (5,3,4)
TOOTH AND NAIL:  You need a word meaning to sound the horn in a car, a word meaning to pass or give and a word meaning corner as in trap or catch.  Put them together and then split (5,3,4) to get a phrase meaning ferociously.

18a         Expert  did (12)
ACCOMPLISHED:  Double definition.

21a         Sopranos foolishly dropping a financial backer (7)
SPONSOR:  Anagram (foolishly) of SOPRANOS but without the A (dropping a).

23a         Hold back about female artist elected (7)
REFRAIN: A charade of the usual two letters for about, F(emale), the usual artist and finally a word for elected.

24a         Greek hero soon saving brave maiden (9)
AGAMEMNON:  Start with a word meaning soon and insert (saving) a word meaning brave or willing and an M(aiden).

25a         Saw a series of letters from Baghdad agent (5)
ADAGE:  A lurker hiding in (a series of letters from) the last two words of the clue.

26a         Left in charge, head for the hills (4)
FLEE: Take a word for a financial charge and insert (in) an L(eft).  I spent too long thinking IC for in charge and a T for head for The, d’oh!

27a         Darling wife cracking open fizz with skill (10)
SWEETHEART:  Take a word for fizz, as in be furious, and insert (cracking open) a W(ife) and follow with a word for skill or craftsmanship.


1d           University breaking record for a regular publication (6)
ANNUAL:  A word for a record or archive with a U(niversity) inserted (breaking).

2d           Vegetable container found in dump (6)
TURNIP:  A container, for tea perhaps, inserted into (found in) another word for a rubbish dump.

3d           Uncertainty over original quiz show host? (8,6)
QUESTION MASTER:  A word meaning an uncertainty followed by a word for an original. Of a key perhaps.

4d           Frightful tale on a CD, based on hearsay (9)
ANECDOTAL:  Anagram (frightful) of TALE ON A CD.

5d           Former statute’s spot on (5)
EXACT:  The usual two letters for former, spouse usually, followed by a statute of parliament.

7d           Baker ate crackers in refreshment period (3,5)
TEA BREAK:  Anagram (crackers) of BAKER ATE.

8d           Introduction has page with note on leisurely walk (8)
PREAMBLE:  P(age) followed by a note from the sol-fa scale and the a leisurely walk or stroll.

9d           Cold beforehand, she prepared a hot dish (6,4,4)
CORNED BEEF HASH:  Anagram (prepared) of C(old) with BEFOREHAND SHE.  Had some of this for dinner one day last week.  Yummy with pickled red cabbage.

15d         Confidence in guarantee (9)
ASSURANCE:  Double definition.

16d         Following a large man in Verdi opera (8)
FALSTAFF: F(ollowing) followed by the A from the clue, L(arge) and the a word meaning to man.

17d         Commanding Officer, young man, in marvellous tribute (8)
ACCOLADE:  CO (commanding officer) and another word for young man or boy are inserted into (in) a slang term for marvellous.

19d         Fruit and nuts, mostly (6)
BANANA:  Remove the S from the end of (mostly) a slang term for nuts or crazy.

20d         Purpose of being under canvas? (6)
INTENT: Split the answer (2,4) and you get a phrase meaning under canvas or camping.

22d         Frenchman and wife begin again (5)
RENEW:  The Frenchman from ‘Allo ‘Allo followed by W(ife).

My top three today are 14a, 25a and 19d with 19d on the top step of the podium.

1st Quick crossword pun:     TALE     +     BEAUNE     =     TAIL BONE

2nd Quick Crossword Pun (Thanks to Terence)

17d CROCK + 18d  OWED + 20d AISLE  = CROCODILE

84 comments on “DT 29988

  1. A gentle start to the week from Campbell with a few smiles and dropping pennies to brighten the morning coffee. I loved the simplicity of 10a and that has to be my COTD. 18a was also straightforward but it did manage to hold me up long enough to become my last one in. I do have a problem with the parsing of 14a. I get “sound horn” and “pass” but “corner”? No doubt all will be revealed when I read the hints.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and pommers for the hints.

    I don’t get the bottom pun in the Quickie – if there is one.

  2. Mostly very straightforward with a little sting in the tail in the form of 12&24a, both of which I managed to work out from the checkers and wordplay.
    14,18&25a were my winners.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the fun.

    1. I’m with you on this one, only 12a needing Mr. G and 24a the spellchecker, good fun for Monday breakfast time.

  3. I think pommers gets the rating right at ** (just) and ***. As has been said, the numerous anagrams helped. Interesting to see 27a as an answer for once rather than the usual e direct in a clue. I3a gets my COTD for it’s excellent construction. An enjoyable start to the week. Thanks pommers and the setter.

  4. 1.5*/3.5*. Light and good fun – just right for a Monday although I thought 12a was a bit strange with an obscure (to me) film with a non-English title. Even so, given the wordplay and checkers, it couldn’t have been anything else.

    I got a bleep from my repetition radar, when the same letter (w) was clued in the same way (wife) in both the down and across answers!

    I can’t do better than SL’s podium choice of 14a, 18a & 25a.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  5. All pleasingly straightforward and coffee still hot, but a couple of odd surfaces rather took the edge off it for me. Vaguely knew the name of the film but cannot say I recall seeing it, or knowing that it was a Spielberg production. Some typically splendid clues, though, which did make me think of Campbell. Hon Mentions to 14a (LOI), 25a, and 27a with 16d almost pipping 24a to the post as COTD.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to Campbell (presumed) and to Pommers.

  6. A delightful start to a new week. Ever the literary / movie buff here, I must choose 24a and 12a (one of my favourite Spielbergs) for a draw at the top of the podium, with 14a, 18a, and 25a duking it out for spots on the dais. I enjoyed this one very much, as well as its partner, Cryptic #708, especially for its SW corner. Re the quickie bottom pun, I thought that a ‘likely seed’ might apply to a team likely to be ranked in a series of playoffs, but that seemed rather tenuous. Thanks to pommers and Campbell. **/****

    1. Re Amistad, for those who haven’t seen it, it’s well worth your time. Anthony Hopkins is quite credible and heroic as ex-President John Quincy Adams and Djimon Hounsou is simply unforgettable as ‘Cinque’. I’ve watched this film, in deep awe, many times.

        1. For me it’s up there with Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan. One wonders if Amistad was never released in the UK, judging by the large numbers of commenters who seem never even to have heard of it.

  7. Today’s coffee was a rather nice Guatemalan Red de Mujeres. Plenty left in the bottom of the first cup when I completed. I too had a problem parsing corner in 14a but I took myself to the corner of the room and “hammered” the point home. Thanks to Campbell (if it is he who is now single punning) and pommers for the hints. Wish me (and Mama Bee) luck, going for the first assessment for cataract surgery.

    1. I have had both of mine done with remarkable success. I always tell people that the worst part is when they put a shield over your eye and then you see the blade cutting into it! I think they should cut a slit before they whap it over your eye. Or maybe not everyone does that, it was about six years ago. Best of luck🤞

    2. Good luck from me as well, SJB. I had mine done over two years ago now and the improvement was superb. I didn’t have any of the issues that Daisygirl had. All I saw was a bright light.

      1. Good luck SJB andMama Bee. I had one done in2004 and one in 2009. They were first identified, when I was in my mid 50’s and still teaching full time. They made marking really difficult and I was so amazed and relieved at the difference the two operations made. My surgeon played aome enjoyable music as he worked.

    3. Be sure you have dark glasses, I can still remember the blinding light and colours when you take off the bandage.

    4. Go for it SJB and Mama B and good luck. I have had both eyes “done” – one in 2001 and t’other in 2009. What an improvement that made and both still going strong (fingers crossed).

      1. I had mine done in 2016 or 2017. No problems whatsoever. It was a revelation when the patch came off!

  8. I was bang on wavelength with this enjoyable start to the week. After initially thinking that soap bars were keeping the muntjacs at bay, they were obviously biding their time doing ‘other things’. I am now overrun with babies, some not much bigger than dachshunds. Anyone got ideas on how to deter muntjacs? DG you never sent the rain yesterday! Thanks to the setter and Pommers

      1. I’ve found that the lion poo spray applied at strategic entry points in the garden puts off most animal pests except squirrels and rhey don’t like the Hot Nuts (no pun intended, that’s what it’s marketed as) chilli pepper spray that I put on the bird feeders. So perhaps that might work, Manders.

          1. I kid you not. H You can get a solid, dessicated product too, which has to be sprinkled on. The local catswere leaving piles of poo on my front lawn and it immediately stopped, when I speinkled it out there

    1. I must admit I was glad to keep it steadily raining most of the day, but dig down 2” and it is quite dry. No solution to the muntjacs my friends in the High Street are plagued with the little devils coming off the meadows.

  9. A pleasant start to the week, never heard of 12a but bunged it in ,then googled it and found it was correct. Seem to have a mix of Greek ,Spanish and Italian today, someone will probably correct me on that, oh nearly forgot the Frenchman and his wonderful singing wife😂, pass the cotton wool.Thanks to all.

  10. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: although I agree with pommers that the lack of a ‘bottom line’ pun may cause a pause for thought – 1.5*/3.5*.

    I have to admit to resorting to a catalogue of Spielberg films for 12a, and 14a caused some head scratching.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 23a, and 25a – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  11. Looks as though I can stop wandering around muttering the last two across answers in the Quickie to myself – quite a relief!
    Only problems I encountered were the unknown film and briefly wandering down the same garden path as pommers when it came to 26a. 14a was stand-out favourite here.

    Thanks to Campbell – I assume, and to pommers for the review.

    1. Thanks for the Monday crosswords Campbell. They always make a good start to the week for me.

    2. Thank you for the puzzle, Campbell and for popping in. Always appreciated when the setter pays a visit. I’m still trying to find the second Quickie pun! :scratch:

        1. After your suggestion, Jane, I’ve been looking at 9a but can make nothing of it despite various pronunciations and syllable emphases.

          1. Sorry, Steve, I was implying that Campbell may have been pulling our legs! Anything to ensure that we solve the entire puzzle?
            Perhaps he’ll be kind enough to pop back in and enlighten us at some stage.

            1. It didn’t occur to me that Campbell was pulling our legs! Sometimes, I am too trusting for my own good. :smile:

    3. Thanks Campbell.

      The only one that I can remotely come up with is 8d and 18d – someone who participates in an annual race on the Thames?

  12. I wodered if it was a Campbell puzzle. It was certainly different to his usual style. I dtruggled with 14a like others and had to look up a list of Spielberg films for 12a. Favourite clues were 24a in particular, plus 11a and 3d. Thanks to the compiler for an enjoyable tussle and to Pommers for the hints.

  13. Another good Monday morning puzzle from Campbell which had a fair sprinkling of enjoyable clues. I liked 1a which gave a good start to the puzzle and although getting 24a from a few checkers as the only possibility it became my favourite when I had parsed it. No problem with the 14a corner and agree with NAS that it’s good to have a darling in its own right.

    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  14. Unlike most, usually find Campbell quite difficult.
    But not this one.
    An enjoyable whoosh in * time.
    Brilliant clues eg 13, 14 and 23 across and 2d
    23 gets gold.
    Many thanks Campbell and pommers.

  15. Pleasant enough but not one of my Favs. 12a new to me and 13a slow to dawn. 14a was a bung-in mainly due to iffy corner synonym likewise 27a fizz. Are people still preparing 9d – yuck! Thank you Campbell and Pommers. I continue to seek out a second Quickie pun.

    1. Oh yes, some of us love 9d – with pickled cabbage for pommers apparently and HP sauce for me. In fact, I may indulge in some this week!

    2. Oh yes! However, I call it Danish hash but it’s just the same. Fried egg on top for me – I reserve the tomato sauce for Bubble n Squeak.

    3. I bought the ingredients earlier today before looking at the crossword. My husband makes a very good Corned Beef Hash and always adds some Worcester sauce! Sometimes we have pickled red cabbage with it!

  16. Last in was 12a,like for others I suspect, the only reasonable word from the anagram was correct -agree with RD that it was somewhat strange.
    Apart from 12a a steady solve and a **/*** for me, at least I remembered 24a and even the opera which was nicely clued.
    Favourite was 27a for the surface of the charade.
    Thanks setter and Pommers-going to listen to the Ginger Baker solo-always seemed to ask for a dance when the group had a rest and let the drummer have his fling-not really conducive for the jive!

  17. This is the fourth time that the answers have been shown – rather spoils the fun!

  18. May 16 why do we get a different cryptic crossword from the one in the blog? Most annoying.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Robert.
      The puzzle you’ve printed is the prize cryptic from the Puzzles Site (no. 708). The regular daily cryptic (no. 29988) is further down the page.

    2. The Monday Prize Cryptic tends to be on the easier side of the solvability spectrum & is not reviewed on this site. I tend to use them as a “warm up” exercise before tackling the big beasts in the DT, FT & Guardian. Incidentally there is also a Monday Prize Quickie.

  19. Got it! Put 17d, 18d, and 20d together in the Quickie to find the second pun (and make it snappy).

    Campbell teases us!

    Many thanks to Campbell and pommmers.

      1. Well done, Terence! My oh my, that was well hidden and has to be the pun of the month if not the year!

    1. Thank you Terence. It’s been frustrating me not to find the second pun. Campbell is definitely teasing us!

  20. A lengthy power cut prevented me commenting on this fun and accessible puzzle until now, and it seems all has pretty much been said already. I agree with those who rate highly the Spielberg film, and the parsing of 14a escaped me for some time. Favourite clue? Has to be the excellent lurker at 25a.

    Thanks to our single punner and pommers.

  21. I’m not good with General Knowledge so needed Google help with the Verdi opera and Greek hero as I couldn’t crack them from the wordplay, but at least my bung in for the film proved right.
    Favourite was 9d just because it’s my favourite breakfast when I visit America.
    Thanks to Campbell and Pommers

    PS could people refrain from sharing the state of their coffee post completion, it’s pretty much the same as giving your solving time, which can be a bit dispiriting for the less smart amongst us. Thanks

      1. I admit I spend far too long over breakfast because of the crossword. Longest meal of the day! And I need to do my stretching program afterwards.

        1. Me too BL – length of breakfast-time is entirely dependent on solvability of DT Cryptic. As I’m a night-owl there still remain enough hours to achieve the day’s allotted tasks.

  22. It’s Monday, it’s Campbell. Seemed a little easier than last week to me. 2*/4* today.
    Favourites include 1a, 14a, 27a, 3d & 20d with winner 14a.
    Had a laugh at 7d & 20d among others.
    Liked a new use for 27a too!

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

  23. Took me 2 cups of decaf nescafe to solve this one. I find that for quite a few I get the answer and parse afterwards. Not a great fan of clues that include a knowledge of, books, authors, Greek Gods and films etc. However luckily I vaguely knew all these oddities.
    Thanks to all

  24. Brilliant. Loved it all except for the film which I have not seen but it had to be what the anagram made it so I googled it. And I needed Pommers to explain 14a. I liked 24a and 1a was a nice misdirection. Oh dear, now we have to trawl the quickie to find other hidden puns. You setters do like teasing us. 👏

    1. Hi DG, Terence has found it for us – look at comment 20! I may well still be groping in the wilderness without his input.

  25. A slight nod to the back-pager over his bonus cryptic. Both gentle but typically well clued puzzles to kick off the new week & as ever fun to solve. No issues with the GK fortunately & only a brief head scratch with the crafty context of corner. Am a big fan of 9d though haven’t had it in years so that will do as my pick.1,13&27a big ticks also. Looked for the 2nd pun after confirmation that there was one & gave up – great spot T.
    Just back from my first ever hot stone massage – an hour long & the best £65 I’ve spent in a while.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers

    1. You and Jennifer Robinson @ comment 18 it would seem. I think it’s been ascertained that the fault doesn’t lie with the blog, more to do with the platform you are using to access it.

  26. Well I’m ta very odd because it’s only happened recently and I haven’t changed the platform which is my iPhone

    1. Covered today, but Thursday & Friday Toughies were uncovered…….. thought the problem had gone away last week!

  27. Struggled to get going with this one, and I almost consigned to do later. Glad I persevered as it did gradually come together, albeit with some needed hints, especially to verify some of my answers. Favourite ended up being 14a, despite being my LI. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  28. I share the general enjoyment with today’s puzzle, also had to check the film. I felt teased with 26a and nice to see 27a in the answer rather than the clue. Thanks Campbell and Pommers.
    I also have unconcealed answers on the blog, using Amazon Silk browser on a Kindle Fire.

  29. Enjoyed today’s puzzle but didn’t know the Spielberg film and kept wanting to put toots in for the first word at 14a. Many thanks to Campbell for popping in and the teasing second pun.

  30. Good fun crossword which I found easier than I normally do on Mondays.
    Thanks to Pommers and to Campbell.

  31. I do like a Campbell, this was no exception. I had a very sleepless night due to back spasms being back, some took me rather long to suss out. I never did get the movie, 24a just looked like it fit so needed help knowing why. Fave was 9d, now proscribed for me but was a fave when I did indulge, with red cabbage.
    Thanks Campbell, fun for a dull day. As always, most grateful to pommers for a most entertaining blog. Crashed and burned with Wordle.

  32. Never heard of the film in 12a but at least most of the crossword was more Monday than Friday this week. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  33. This one wrote itself in but great clues. It was a relief after some which I found tedious. The film was the last one in. Never heard of it but with the checkers it could only be one thing. I did not need to Google the opera as with the giveaway first three letters it was easy to guess. Favourites 1 11 13 21 and 24a and 8d.
    Thanks Campbell and Pommers

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