DT 29989 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 29989

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29989

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I found today's puzzle a straightforward grid-fill that required a couple of dictionary queries to verify what had to be the definitions (does that count as an unaided solve?). I wonder if our setter will drop in later to say hello.  I've made an effort today to address the concerns of readers who commented on the recent paucity of cat pics.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Republican greeting flipping angry prisoner -- one has a thick skin (10)
RHINOCEROS:  Concatenate the single letter for Republican, an informal greeting, and the reversal (flipping) of the fusion of a synonym of angry and a usual prisoner 

6a    Vile, horrible (4)
EVIL:  The wordplay directs us to an anagram (horrible) of VILE, while the entire clue can serve as the definition 

9a    Bake friend rolls -- cut them with this (5,5)
BREAD KNIFE:  An anagram (rolls) of BAKE FRIEND. The definition refers back to the rest of the clue 

10a   This might be used for putting young animal outside pound (4)
CLUB:  A young bear or a young Scout containing (outside) the single letter for pound 

12a   Government virtually in charge, still (6)
STATIC:  All but the last letter (virtually) of another word for government is followed by the abbreviation for in charge 

13a   Material they use regularly captured in picture by a student (8)
PHYSICAL:  Alternate letters (regularly) of THEY USE are inserted in (captured in) an informal word for picture, and that's all followed by A from the clue and the single letter indicating a student or learner driver 

15a   One might blow this small bit of money while going round street (5,7)
PENNY WHISTLE:  Follow a small bit of money with WHILE containing (going round) the abbreviation for street. I've used this video before, but it doesn't get old


18a   It's possibly blooming nice prince? (5,7)
SWEET WILLIAM:  Nice or pleasant is followed by a prince who isn't named in a clue in this puzzle

21a   Everyone easily understood signal that danger is over (3-5)
ALL-CLEAR:  A synonym of everyone with an adjective meaning "easily understood" 

22a   Insect about to bite one scoundrel (6)
CICADA:  An abbreviation for about or roughly containing (to bite) both the Roman one and a scoundrel 

24a   Practically perfect plan (4)
IDEA:  All but the last letter (practically) of another word for perfect 

25a   Grass, I recall, not half-cut (10)
CITRONELLA:  An anagram (half-cut) of I RECALL NOT

26a   English knight draws empty conclusions (4)
ENDS:  Link together the single letter for English, the chess abbreviation for knight, and the outer letters (empty) of DRAWERS 

27a   Having no post from me, duly open letters in a different order (10)
UNEMPLOYED:  An anagram (letters in a different order) of ME DULY OPEN 



1d    Strong old labourer finally lifted chest (6)
ROBUST:  The abbreviation for old and the final letter of LABOURER are joined and reversed (lifted, in a down clue), and that's all followed by a synonym of chest 

2d    Something on a mountain, say, that is restricting cold? A hat (6)
ICECAP:  The Latin abbreviation for "that is" containing (restricting) the single letter for cold is followed by a simple hat 

3d    Bit of lore from old salt we've intoxicated touring island (3,5,4)
OLD WIVES' TALE:  OLD from the clue with an anagram (intoxicated) of SALT WE'VE containing (touring) the single letter for island 

4d    Some giant eruption up here? (4)
ETNA:  The wordplay tells us that the answer is hidden in the reversal (some … up, in a down clue) of GIANT ERUPTION. The entire clue can serve as the definition 

5d    Far out, where Humpty fell? (3,3,4)
OFF THE WALL:  Where, according to a nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty fell 

7d    Vet covers places with variable rate (8)
VELOCITY:  VET containing a Latin word for places is followed by a letter used to represent a mathematical unknown 

8d    Identified boy embracing beautiful girl (8)
LABELLED:  A synonym of boy containing (embracing) a beautiful girl 

11d   Working a lot, Parisian's ambitious (12)
ASPIRATIONAL:  An anagram (working) of A LOT PARISIAN 

14d   Mark's trendy way of speaking including American (10)
INDICATION:  A short word meaning trendy is followed by "way of speaking" containing an abbreviation for American 

16d   This is radioactive waste not beginning to eat a metal (8)
ASTATINE:  WASTE minus its first letter (not beginning) contains (to eat) both A from the clue and a common metal. Read about the answer here 

17d   Knowledgeable, fine article penned by socialist (4-4)
WELL-READ:  Fine or healthy is followed by a grammatical article contained by (penned by) an informal word for socialist 

19d   Upper floor of seats not right for kitchen area (6)
GALLEY:  The upper seats in a theatre minus the single letter for right (not right) 

20d   Harry, angry about queen, heads off abroad, unhappy (6)
MARAUD:  A synonym of angry containing (about) the Latin abbreviation for queen and the first letters of (heads off) ABROAD and UNHAPPY 

23d   Middle-distance runner caught sheep (4)
CRAM:  The cricket abbreviation for caught with a male sheep 


Thanks to today’s setter. Identifying a favourite was easy this week – it has to be 20d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  PEA + CAN + KNEES = PEKINESE

51 comments on “DT 29989

  1. Agree with Mr K on a straightforward solve, enjoyable and diversely clued.
    16d took a while to parse as did last in 20d, not a commonly used word and a rare synonym definition .
    Thanks to Mr k for the pics, especially 16d very apposite.
    Going for a **/***

  2. An interesting one this. I agree with MrK’s rating. I thought the anagram indicator in 27a was rather obvious and it a bit strange that the same word appeared in the clue and answer in 3d. I don’t think the feature comprising 2d is necessarily on a mountain. I also thought 16d very obscure but that probably just belies my ignorance! My COTD was 20d with its brilliantly topical clue. Thanks to MrK and the setter.

    1. Agree with all that NAS, the indicator in 27a was so obvious that I didn’t see it for a while.
      Thanks to all

    2. Re 2D, Nas, I don’t think the setter thinks it’s necessarily on a mountain either — hence the “say” at the end of the definition (which initially let me to try EG at the start of the answer, till I ran out of letters so went back and removed it).

  3. I have to agree, 20d was my favourite too. A topical surface getting Harry and the Queen in one clue was nice, and Wills got a mention too.
    I nearly lost my toast at the first image of 9a when I thought of young seals being “put out” of existence for a bit of fur. I managed to keep the marmalade down as the nicer golf reference occurred to me.
    Thanks to Mr K and setter.

  4. 2*/3*. This was an enjoyable puzzle for which the SE corner took up more than half of my 2* time.

    I agree with NAS about 3d. Replacing “old” in the clue by, for example, “ancient” would have been a bit more satisfying.

    20d was my last one in and favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K. Lovely to see so many cat pics.

  5. 20d runs away with all the honours in this enjoyable and cleverly clued Tuesday offering. I also liked 25 & 27a, as well as 16d, which I then googled to be a little smarter than I was before. Thanks to Mr K and today’s setter. ** / ***

    Very interesting and challenging Toughie today, which I managed to finish, in the wee-est of hours, with a great sense of satisfaction.

    One million official Covid deaths now in the USA, a horrifyingly staggering number, with an average of 350 more each day now. I’m still in virtual lockdown.

    1. Eeek, a million is indeed horrifying, and I’m finding hard to get my head round. No idea what the numbers are in the UK; they don’t really get talked about any more. We were finally able to get the 7- and 9-year-olds jabbed on Sunday, but they really didn’t like it.

      Sorry to hear you’re still in virtual lockdown. I hope things get safer soon, and that you have plenty of crosswords to keep you occupied until then.

      1. Thank you, Smylers. Indeed, I have my books–and new ones coming all the time–and my music and the crosswords. Right now, I am thoroughly enjoying Bad Actors (the newest Slow Horses installment), with Act 2 preceding Act 1! And I have Jimmy taking care of me so…lockdown could be a lot worse. Still, 1,000,000+. Simply inconceivable 2+ years ago.

        1. Glad you’re enjoying Bad Actors Robert. I’m half way through now and I’m tempted to keep reading but have decided to ration myself ! Really addictive.
          Like most people I got stuck on 16d today but an enjoyable puzzle non the less. Thankyou all.

    2. We’re not in lockdown here in South Florida. Things are pretty much back to normal, with just masks being required in medical settings. Having said that, two residents in our neighborhood have come down with COVID this week, so it is definitely still out there. We have sat inside a restaurant yet, since pre the pandemic, but lots of places to sit outside.

  6. A straightforward grid-fill until it wasn’t. I needed to verify 16d & was all set for a brisk 1.5* time solve until 3 in the SE doubled the solving time. Never heard of the flora at 25a & was very slow twig the anagrind. COTD for me the cleverly misleading surface read at 27a where the anagrind couldn’t have been more obvious yet I still didn’t twig it immediately. Last in was 20d where the wordplay got me there (eventually) having not realised the answer was particularly synonymous – I do now.
    I thought some of these clues had a Silvanus quality to them – 13&15a along with 14d other big ticks
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K

    1. And 20d – I was so irritated by my inability to see the answer for so long that I failed to appreciate the topicality of the clue.

  7. Not as straightforward as all that for me. It took me ages to work out the parsing of 8d and 16d, although I vaguely remembered the name of 16d from Mineralogy lectures in my university days. I found the 8d an6a combination was the star of the show in a very absorbing puzzle. Thanks to the compiler and to Mr K for the review. Nice to see the cats are back.

  8. All good with a slight delay in the SE. 16d was new to me so had to check my construction. Another vote for 20d which was my last one in. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  9. Bit of an obscurity at 16d; otherwise a fun crossword to complete.

    Beatles on Tuesday: With A Little Help From My Friends

    Thanks to the setter and The Celebrated Mr K.

  10. Quite straightforward apart from 16d , which I had never heard of. I also did not know that 25a was a grass. Other than these two, it was a most enjoyable solve. I liked 15a because it’s one of those clues that, if you do what it tells you, the answer arrives. However, my absolute favourite and my COTD because it took me ages to understand the parsing is 13a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thank you, Mr. K. for the hints and the return of many pusskits.

    A pity the weekly clue competition has been brought to an end.

    1. I thought that too. Entered for the first time & was chuffed to get a mention.

  11. All went well with just 18a, 20a and 20d to go.
    Experimented with the letters for 20a and eventually came up with the answer, a new word for me.
    Then 18a. suddenly dawned on me.
    Then spent a long time on 20d until the proverbial penny.
    This put me well into 3* time.
    Entertaining throughout.
    Loved 18a, one of many inspired clues.
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  12. Still musing about this puzzle, an hour after finishing it. I thought 3d and 27a both quite poor, and there were a couple of others (eg 21a) that I’m surprised were in a cryptic at all. On the other hand 13a was a delight and my COTD, 11d was very nicely obscured, and clues such as 25a, 16d & 20d sufficiently oblique for me as to put the brakes on enough to stop this being a romp.

    2* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the setter and to MrK

  13. Nicely testing exercise with mostly smooth surfaces which isn’t always the case. 21a brought back memories of waiting for it after a WW2 air raid. Mark for 14d not the first thing to come to mind. 16d didn’t begin to ring a bell so TVM Mr. Google. Thank you so far unidentified setter and MrK.

  14. Insomnia gave me an early start so finished today’s offering bright and early. Straightforward but enjoyable sums it up. Like RD SE corner held me up (and gave me a welcome doze).
    Like others 20d my LOI and my COTD. I thought 6d was a poor clue I til I twigged the anagram.
    Thank you to setter & Mr K for the cat-fest, a feast is always welcome after a diet.

  15. 20d was a terrific clue; topical, clever and witty – and my favourite. Apart from a couple of sticky moments sorted out by a break for coffee then a resumption, this was reasonably straightforward fare yet most rewarding to complete.

    My thanks to both Misters involved this morning.

  16. Quirky puzzle containing a new word for me in 16d. Both that and 20d were IMHO very poor clues, clumsy in the extreme.
    The rest were not difficult and quite enjoyable but the puzzle overall was spoilt for me by the two above.

  17. I am not sure why but I made heavy weather of this and it actually took longer to complete than the first Toughie of the week.

    Candidates for favourite – 8d, 16d, and 17d – and the winner is 16d, which was fairly clued but did need a BRB check after teasing out the answer with the aid of three of the four checkers.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  18. The volcano and the Quickie dog seem to be getting a good run out in crosswordland recently, funny how these coincidences keep cropping up.
    Top scorers here were mostly bunched together – 15,18&21a with the addition of 5d. I refuse to waste a vote on the particular member of the royal family mentioned elsewhere.
    Enjoyable puzzle, excellent review from Mr K and plenty of felines dotted about – what’s not to like!

    1. Come on Jane don’t blame him it’s his missus.just think if she became Queen-.

      1. I didn’t find this a walk in the park but it was enjoyable. I needed help with 16d that a word search helped me with. I also needed hints for a couple in the SE.my fave was 18a with 15a as runner up.
        Thanks whomsoever set this, and Mr.K for his hints dnd the herd of delightful cats, that’s more like it!o

  19. Disappointing that the setter seems to think government and state are the same thing in 12a. Otherwise fine apart from the two obscurities that others have already commented on.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Frank, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on the puzzle.

      Definition 3 for state in the Oxford Dictionary of English is 3. The civil government of a country.

  20. Another nice Tuesday puzzle. 2*/4* today.
    Favourites include 1a, 15a, 1d, 2d & 17d

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  21. Agree with general consensus above, new words for me at 16d and 25a, LOI 20d in common with several others. Puzzle sits well as a Tuesday back-pager, thanks to mystery setter and Mr K for the review.

  22. DNF – had 20d left until I read the hint – would NEVER have got it without the hint So thanks to Mr K and for the extra pictures this week. You would not BELIEVE it, a tiny muntjac put its front paws into my kitchen and stared at me for several seconds. At our lovely little family run garden centre this morning I asked what I should do – ‘Get a bullock’ came the reply in a broad Norfolk accent. I will get the Lion Poo from Amazon though so thanks for suggestion.

  23. This took me quite a time to finish…eventually got 16d then had to check it in the dictionary….not the sign of a good clue.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K ..especially for the cat pictures.

  24. Not my best performance for a long time but my excuse is that Mrs C was waiting impatiently for my help in the garage. Thanks to Mr K for his hints which meant all the white bits were filled in correctly. Thanks to the setter also.

    1. Off to Wembley C? Good luck in the play-off final. From your previous posts though perhaps promotion would be a step too far.

  25. Had to be off and out early for a doctor’s appointment this morning, so got to this later than usual. A good mind bender in places, a mix of easy and tougher clues. Our shops are full of citronella candles, but I confess I’ve never seen this as a plant. I’m sure it’s out there though. 16d and 20d were my downfall. I could have done without the picture for the latter. Thanks to Mr K for all the other lovely pictures and to the setter.
    Lovely to see the Queen out and enjoying herself recently.

  26. Thank you to both setter and tipster: a fine crossword for a Tuesday commute (now Northern have renewed their SSL certificate and the train wi-fi’s working again!). I didn’t mind the obscurities. And thank you to the commenters above who’ve already said the things I was going to.

    My top few were 10A (animal pound), 15A’s (blow this), and 19D (kitchen seats).

  27. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the review and hints. I found this impossible. Needed the hints for 25&27a and 7,14,16,19.20&23d.

  28. Solved in the morning sunshine so long ago I can’t remember much about it. The plant was the last one in. We tried burning dozens of citronella candles in Scotland last year but I was still eaten alive by the midges. Nurse Ninepence and Sweet sister Susan have refused the £1500 bottle of wine and gone for a nice pot of tea and a Diet Coke. I’m sticking with cider. Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty

  29. Stumbled over the same ones as everyone else. 16d was fairly clued, 25a I was misled trying too long to take half a word away and wanted to put pantry in for 19d. Best clue was 20d but needed all the checkers to get it. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  30. Looking through BDs alternative for 23 d. I thought ‘ caught with a male sheep’ was something entirely different.

  31. Thought it was odd to have old in 3d too and looked too long for synonyms of vet in 7d and waste in 16d.
    Didn’t spoil the enjoyment though.
    Thanks to the setter and to MrK for the review.

  32. Rather late but just wanted to say thanks for all the cats, Mr K. Thanks, too, for your hints – and to the setter for a very enjoyable puzzle.

Comments are closed.