DT 29995 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29995

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29995

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I thought that today's back pager was just excellent, with many clues having clever twists and turns lurking beneath smooth surface readings. A few amusing topical references too. I would very much like to see more puzzles like this. 

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    Eel slipping off line -- this could be good for kippers (8,4)
SLEEPING PILL:  An anagram (off) of EEL SLIPPING is followed by the single letter for line 

9a    Returning to the woman? Sensible, apart from that (9)
OTHERWISE:  Link together the reversal (returning) of TO from the clue, a pronoun for "the woman", and sensible or clever

10a   Team up just in golf? On the contrary (5)
MERGE:  Inverting the wordplay (on the contrary) we insert the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by golf into a synonym of just 

11a   Shoot rabbit circling river (6)
SPROUT:  Rabbit or blather containing (circling) the map abbreviation for river 

12a   Excessive faults we corrected (8)
WASTEFUL:  An anagram (corrected) of FAULTS WE 

13a   Expression of hesitation over place with eastern name (6)
REPUTE:  Chain together the reversal (over) of an expression of hesitation, a verb synonym of place, and the single letter for eastern 

15a   Protest by student is hard to crush (8)
DEMOLISH:  Combine an informal contraction of a type of protest, the letter indicating a student or learner driver, IS from the clue, and the pencil abbreviation for hard 

18a   Bounty -- big ship ending in catastrophe (8)
LARGESSE:  Join a synonym of big, the abbreviation for steamship, and the ending letter in CATASTROPHE 

Click for the bonus pic if this doesn't make sense

19a   School I'm describing second division (6)
SCHISM:  An abbreviation for school is followed by I'M from the clue containing (describing) the single letter for second 

21a   Perhaps Lily's  underwear  slips (8)
BLOOMERS:  Triple definition: what lily defines by example (perhaps), an informal name for an item of female underwear, and slips or blunders

23a   Grand hotel bedroom regularly leaving one cold (6)
HEROIC:  Concatenate the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by hotel, alternate letters (… regularly leaving) of BEDROOM, the Roman one, and the single letter for cold 

26a   Out of bed with usual trouble (5)
UPSET:  "out of bed" with usual or regular 

27a   Discuss terms at Eton, e.g. Michaelmas's second, possibly? (9)
NEGOTIATE:  An anagram (possibly) of AT ETON E.G. and the second letter of MICHAELMAS 

28a   CIA spy crept around gathering international intelligence (12)
PERSPICACITY:  An anagram (around) of CIA SPY CREPT containing (gathering) the single letter for intelligence 



1d    Singular P&O leaders in new squabble over retirement fund (7)
SPONSOR:  Cement together the single letter for singular, P and O from the clue, and the initial letters of (leaders in) the next four words in the clue 

2d    The Queen inhales the air (5)
ETHER:  The Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth contains (inhales) THE from the clue 

3d    Revolutionary act part of Romeo and Juliet? (9)
PIROUETTE:  A cryptic definition of a "revolutionary act" that might be observed during a performance of Romeo and Juliet (the one that's not a play

4d    Catch adult wearing nothing (4)
NAIL:  The single letter for adult inserted in (wearing) another word for nothing 

5d    Ready before father and embarrassed (8)
PREPARED:  Put together a synonym of before, and informal word for father, and a colourful synonym of embarrassed 

6d    Check loch -- this writer is on it (5)
LIMIT:  Glue together the single letter for loch, a contraction for "this writer is" from the compiler's perspective, and IT from the clue 

7d    Artist, after good argument, mounted current painting on the wall (8)
GRAFFITI:  Putting the bits in order, we fuse together the single letter for good, a usual abbreviated artist, the reversal (mounted) of a minor argument, and the physics symbol for electric current 

8d    Prime Minister swallowing litres for physical well-being (6)
HEALTH:  A former Prime Minister containing (swallowing) the single letter for litres 

14d   Sea creature's power or control (8)
PORPOISE:  The physics symbol for power is followed by OR from the clue and control or balance 

16d   Group of musicians for topless clubs breaking hearts (9)
ORCHESTRA:  Connect together FOR from the clue minus its first letter (topless), the playing card abbreviation for clubs, and an anagram (breaking) of HEARTS 

17d   Fiddlers play with these  garments (1-7)
G-STRINGS:  A rather straightforward double definition 

18d   Work  party that Boris is against? (6)
LABOUR:  Double definition. The first is simple, the second refers to the political party that PM Boris is against

20d   Scoffing my cake or crackers? No answer (7)
MOCKERY:  An anagram (crackers) of MY CAKE OR minus the single letter for answer (no answer) 

22d   Dull material cut (5)
MATTE:  A synonym of material minus its last letter (cut

24d   Took a picture, capturing animal (5)
OKAPI:  The first three words in the clue are hiding (capturing) the answer 

25d   Hugo and Clio both peeled fruit (4)
UGLI:  HUGO and CLIO minus their outer letters (peeled


Well, that was fun. Thanks to today’s setter. Big ticks today for 18a, 21a, 28a, 1d, 2d, and 18d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  GIN + JAR + WHINE = GINGER WINE

58 comments on “DT 29995

  1. 2.5*/4*. This was nicely challenging and good fun.

    My only slight qualm was that the definition for 7d seems to me to lead to the singular “graffito”.

    My top clues were 18a, 28a, 1d & 18d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  2. A most enjoyable and pleasingly entertaining puzzle for a Tuesday morning. I liked the topicality and humour, and would find it hard to argue with our blogger’s choice of favourite clues, picking out 18d as my winner.

    Thanks to both Misters involved. The Toughie is very user-friendly today.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Got 3d but thanks to Mr K for parsing it – now know it is not just a play.
    Think explanation of 16d should be abbreviation for clubs
    Thanks to setter and MrK

  4. I struggled to get a foothold with this and only managed half a dozen in bed this morning. But over breakfast matters improved although I bunged in pension for 1d – I bet others did too until I solved 1a as I thought the kipper was going to refer to a tie. Anyway after that it went quite smoothly. Thanks to the setter and Mr K, glad the pics are back in abundance – I loved the one at 18a, we came home one Christmas to find our two cats had managed to get all the baubles off the tree and shred them.

  5. I loved this. The clues were clever and made me smile on occasion. Too many excellent clues to pick a favourite. Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for confirming my parsing of 3d plus the pictures. Re: reading 7d, I can see that it could justifiably lead to either ending.

  6. A lot of really wily clues in today’s puzzle and , like MrK I did enjoy the unexpected twists and turns (though not so much the topical references,as it reminds me of the media frenzy which passes for news at the moment). There were so many great clues that it’s difficult to pick a few but I liked 3d and 28a, both of which had me pursuing various red herrings, the lurker at24a and 6a, where the pieces of rhe answer were so well disguised. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and the cats and to the compiler.

  7. A solid puzzle, but one I found rather “meh” – which given MrK’s review and the early comments makes me think I could be out on a limb today. Most of it was written in as reading through, but slowed considerably by the last few in the NW. Hon Mentions to 20d and 24d with COTD to 18d – nice to be reminded that there’s one party at least to which he is opposed, despite how much he’s done to boost their popularity.

    2.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the setter and to MrK

  8. Like Mustafa, I slowed up in the NW. I would appear the days of Tuesday being the new Monday are behind us. Favourite was 28a, what a lovely word. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

    1. Like you, I spent some time in the NW in order to complete this most enjoyable Tuesday tussle which I found great fun after struggling to get underway. Good clues throughout with plenty of variation. Thanks to all.

  9. Fun and frolicky for me today. I personally loved the topical clues and the illustrations supporting them, but 18a, 21a, & 3d get my top votes, with many contenders. About as good as it gets, just the witty pliability of the language itself with no GK adornments (except perhaps for a nicely disguised Prokofiev). Thanks to Mr K (loved the cats today) and today’s compiler. ** / ****

    Tricky but doable Toughie today.

  10. I thought this was excellent throughout with some nicely disguised definitions Very difficult to choose a favourite but I’ll go with the topical 18d, run close by 19&28a as they are both great words.
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for the fun.
    I can highly recommend a fun and not overly difficult Serpent Toughie

  11. Got to say I found this rather tricky in places. 3d & 11a the main culprits where I just couldn’t bring to mind the required synonym for rabbit until I eventually twigged the revolutionary act (had quite forgotten the ballet & was even thinking cigars) & the checker gave the game away. Also missed the topicality of 8d until reading the excellent review. Fully agree that it was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. 28a my favourite for no other reason than I always think it’s a lovely word.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K

  12. Very Tuesdayish – 2,5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 5d, 7d, and 14d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    P.S. For Patsy and others, everything you wanted to know about ‘Cain’s Jawbone’ but were afraid to ask; from that unimpeachable(?) source Wiikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain%27s_Jawbone Apparently, there have been only three known solvers of the puzzle.

  13. Quite tricky today,especially the NW corner, favourite was 3d.
    A wide variety of clues which had to be carefully read as per 1d.
    It was certainly most enjoyable and a ***/**** for me.
    A new synonym for usual in 26a confirmed by my tattered Chambers.
    Thanks to setter and Mr K for the pics-loved 7d!

  14. Usual tricky Tuesday that took quite some unravelling. Another one to generally ignore the wordplay and find the definition. Setters seem to be getting very complicated with their wordplay of late.
    No real favourites, all a bit of a drudge.
    Thx for the hints

  15. I found this a bit of a slog although it did have its moments. After the first pass I only had about six answers so I knew I was in for a tussle. Still, I got there in the end although not with any great enjoyment. The “moments” were 9a, 18a 17d and 25d with my COTD being 1d.

    Many thanks to the setter. Thank you, Mr. K. for the hints and pusskits.

    I’m missing the weekly clue competition already! :sad:

    1. It’s back Steve – Thirty Thousand is the challenge. Too complicated for me…..

      1. I think that is a one-off for the 30,000th edition of the cryptic, Huntsman.

        I agree it’s a bit of a complicated challenge.

  16. Took some application particularly in the NW. I suppose 23a is grand. 18a and particularly hint illustration somewhat de trop whilst adding insult to injury of current media obsession (thought we kept politics off BD site?!). 21a was Fav once bra had been discounted. Thank you Mysteron and MrK.

  17. Solved in fits and starts whilst trying to console young granddaughter via Skype. She’d jumped down off the window sill after waving goodbye to Daddy and landed on one of her brother’s toy cars which cut into her toe. Mummy’s ‘crocodile’ plaster was angrily rejected and finished up adorning her tummy but Granny’s suggestion of a dab of magic cream (Savlon) and a sock to hold it in place seemed to be acceptable. Thank goodness I’m still useful for something!

    The puzzle didn’t really get the attention it deserved but I did enjoy it albeit in retrospect. Top three places went to 18&28a plus18d. 28a gets the gold medal for being such a delightful word.

    Thanks to our setter – please pop in to claim ownership – and to Mr K and his 24d twosome. Trying to decide whether one of them really is much lighter in colour these days or if it’s just a trick of the light?

    1. Hi Jane. The apparent difference in coloration is just a trick of the light. They’re pretty much identical.

      1. Thanks for the confirmation, Mr K. Makes me smile that despite their physical likeness, the difference in personality shines through!

  18. Thoroughly enjoyed this superb puzzle!

    The first two podium places go the very amusing and topical 8d & 18d. The “revolutionary act” in 3d gets a much deserved bronze medal.

    Thanks to setter. Thanks, also, to Mr K for the usual entertaining blog.

  19. Thanks to the very kind offices of GJR I was able to turn my attention to today’s puzzle after a delightful morning visit to the mountain village of Casares. The hotel manager is now fully versed in my daily procedures and hands me my crossword print with great pomp in a sealed envelope with my printed name on it. A fairly gentle **/*** where I didn’t falter in the NW for some reason. I thought 3d my favourite and rather clever. Thanks to MrK and the setter.

    1. Glad the crossword made it through again as the hotel replied asking for more than NAS as a name. I assured them that you would be in touch!

      1. I am so grateful you made the effort for me/the boss (who was getting very bored driving around tabacs on day one of her hol). I shall be in touch when back in Blighty.

  20. Forgive me for going off topic but a little while ago one of our contributors recommended Simon Brett’s Fethering Series. The idea was taken up by a friend of mine who then suggested to me that I might enjoy them. Suffice to say that I am now reading Book 13 in the series!
    Whoever you are, many thanks, I shall be so sad when I reach the end of Carole & Jude’s tales.

    1. My memory is not as good as it once was, but didn’t RD once say that he was at school with the author. I read “The Killer in the Choir”. Best not give my opinion of that one … very disappointed!

      1. There’s clearly nothing wrong with your memory, Jepi! Well remembered!

      2. Sorry that you didn’t enjoy your dip into the Fethering series – I’m finding them easy to read, full of humour and very ‘moreish’.

        1. I enjoy almost anything by Simon Brett….as you say, Jane, easy to read, full of humour and very moreish.
          I would recommend the Mrs Pargetter Series and the wonderful Charles Paris series. Some of the Charles Paris stories are available as plays on BBC radio player with the wonderful Bill Nighy in the title role.
          Just the job when you are feeling under the weather.

          1. I can never think of Bill Nighy without recalling his role in Love Actually. Perfect casting!
            Thank you for the other recommends – I may well follow your advice when Carole and Jude take a break from their sleuthing.

  21. Like some others I got stuck in the NW and needed the hints to get 3d and 11a, so a DNF for me.
    Favourites were 21a and 18d.
    Thanks to Mr K for the much needed hints, and to the setter for the challenge

  22. Typical Tuesday offering today. 2.5*/3*
    Favourites include 1a, 11a, 27a, 7d & 17d with winner 1a
    SW was last area in today.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  23. I struggled with this one today….but as I am also struggling with covid I guess I have an excuse.
    It’s not so much the drippiness and coughing as the fatigue that’s doing for me.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K….great pics as always.

    1. I hope that you get well soon, Ora, and thanks for the tips on Mrs Pargetter and Cnarles Paris.

      Has anyone else ventured into the Mick Herron Oxford Series? I have begun the first volume, Down Cemetery Road, written about a decade before the Slow Horses series

      1. Because of the enthusiasm on this site I ordered “Slow Horses” from a second hand website yesterday .

        1. Hi, JB. Can you reload the Toughie page to see if its answers are now covered for you?

          1. Geronimo! So far so good. It’s always been so confusing when you get it right and the others don’t. I do hope your efforts are properly appreciated. Thank you

            1. Everyone else has been making spoilers the standard way that worked flawlessly for years, until about a month ago when it appears some web browsers became much more rigid about security and those spoilers stopped hiding the answers. My spoilers are customized by me and your observation that they still worked while the standard spoilers didn’t helped us identify the issue and find a solution.

    2. Getxwell soon Ora. My son and grandson had it and it wiped them out too.

  24. For those who have a wobble-up with how many Fs and Ts 7d has, just remember that graffiti is fifty percent art and fifty percent vandalism

    (fifty has the same number of Fs and Ts)

    1. Whilst I appreciate your efforts, Gordon, there are times when I think it would be far easier to memorise the word concerned!

      1. No problem, Jane.

        It’s really for people who struggle to memorise and there are a good few out there.

        I remember you liked one that our chivalrous chum suggested for gauge a while back (Aug of August).

  25. This crossword has taken me ages to do – found it very difficult.
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the hints.

  26. All smiles today, especially 28d with all the misdirection. Thanks setter & Mr Kitkat.

  27. Like Jane, I found this a puzzle of fits and starts today. 1a, my COTD, went straight in, and all was progressing nicely, until it wasn’t. A quick look at the picture hints, and I was off and running again. But a handful of clues held me at the finish. Some of them I had the answer for but wasn’t confident about, and others were plainly me just being slow on the uptake today. We’re off on an overnight trip tomorrow so I have one mind on my packing. That’s my excuse anyway . Thanks to the setter and Mr K. I miss seeing Merusa on here.

  28. Like Jimbob I didn’t realise that R and J wasn’t just a play i had to Google it. Apart from that far easier than yesterday’s. Favourite was 18d. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  29. Phew just scraping in after a “Curates egg” of a puzzle 95% straightforward whilst the other 5% 😳 ****/** Favourites 21a and 11d 😃 Thanks to the Compiler and to Mr K 👍 Now off to read the blog 😉

  30. Somewhat uneven this, for me, though not at all a bad puzzle. I wondered too about the definition in 7 down (quite a tricky clue I thought), though I’m slightly persuaded that ‘painting’ can mean, or refer to, more than one example of the art form under discussion.

    Many thanks both.

  31. 4*/3*….
    liked 28A “CIA spy crept around gathering international intelligence (12)”

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