DT 29658 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29658 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29658 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good morning all from a beautiful morning in Warrington.

Another brief one today, I’m afraid, as I am working in the home office, as opposed to the Home Office.

Today’s puzzle has all the hallmarks of a Cephas challenge. [Although Cephas has now commented that the crossword isn’t one of his!  Time to play guess the setter]  Concise clues and dashes of wit are all there. It shouldn’t take too long to complete, but there one or two sneaky tricks in there, so you’ll be able to go out and enjoy the nice weather.

As usual, play nicely.

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.  Thank you to our setter for an enjoyable solve this morning!

Some hints follow:


1a Help a relative into position (10)
Inside A and a word for a position or view goes the abbreviated name for a relative.

6a Plug vessels the wrong way (4)
Reversing the name of some household vessels will give you something meaning to plug, in the sense of filling a gap.

9a Animal cold in Shanghai, say? (10)
The name of a small animal is shown by taking a word for cold and putting inside where the city is located.

13a Drone accompanying bell perhaps, amazing thing (9)
A word for a drone, plus what a bell may be cryptically described as being, gives something amazing.

15a Abducted by alien in ET, I estimate for ten years (8)
A cryptic way of asking you to find a hidden answer.

23a Difficult to get credit, one broke (9)
Although I normally don’t post hints to full anagrams, the word you’re looking for is not particularly common. You are looking for something that means difficult to get, as in hard to understand, or abstruse.

27a Racecourse built somewhere in Paris (5,5)
A famous Parisian location, and the French name for it is needed, and it’s an anagram of racecourse.

29a A benefit, after shave possibly for young person (10)
A, plus a word for a state benefit then all may become clear if you weld together words 3 & 4 to give you the second half word that as a whole creates the definition.


1d Rainbow possibly mysterious (4)
Two definitions, the shape of a rainbow and describing someone or something mysterious.

2d Bird touching cheese (7)
The name of a bird (the legs are a clue) plus something meaning touching from above.

3d Best one puts on more weight? (6-2-4)
A phrase meaning the best is found cryptically by adding another heavy weight before the word ONE. Probably my clue of the day.

8d Boring thing might exercise (5,5)
A word meaning might, plus a type of exercise particularly in the military, put together make something whose job may be said to be boring.

11d Orchestral instrument remains — blow it! (12)
An expression you could use instead of ‘blow it!’ comprises the name of a musical instrument and something meaning remains.

14d Plant photograph on domineering person (10)
Any excuse to trot out a photo of one of my favourite actresses in her archetypal role. A word for a photo plus the role usually played by her gives the name of a plant.

19d Mark wrong in lecture (4,3)
A word for a mark, plus something meaning wrong gives a word for a lecture, possibly from the lady above!

25d In short, beginning to reduce horse’s pace (4)
A small quantity of alcoholic drink (short) into which is inserted the beginning to Reduce

Thanks to the setter for the challenge. Do let us know what you think.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today is something fun for the weather:

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.  BD

The Quick Crossword pun: hand+whine+knot=and why not?

89 comments on “DT 29658 (Hints)

  1. The bottom half went in very quickly but the top half took a little longer. Bunged in the obvious answer for 10a but stupidly inserted it in the 12a slot! Ho Hum! Favourites were, the not so often used words these days, 13a and 11d. An enjoyable solve and now and can go for a real walk in the park. Cheers Setter and Tilsit.

  2. This SPP was right up my street. Although, fairly straightforward, it had some witty and clever clues and was most enjoyable (1.5*/5*). I liked the anagram at 27a and the clever 9a, whilst both 8d and 11d made me laugh, the latter being my COTD. Thanks to Tilsit for the hints and to Cephas for a super puzzle.

    1. I was too literal with 27A and couldn’t get (redacted – you are asked not to put wrong answers) out of my head!

  3. A pleasure to do whilst sitting in the sunshine (**/***). Favourite was 13a and favourite place was 27a. Thank you for the crossword & clues.

  4. Straightforward and enjoyable, light relief after the last couple of days. New word for me at 23a.
    Favourites were 27a, 8d and 11d.
    Off now to enjoy the sunshine.
    Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  5. A most enjoyable and straightforward prize puzzle for a sunny Saturday in Shropshire. Loads to like, no obscurities and the clueing was refreshingly concise. 11d was also my top clue.

    My thanks to our setter and Tilsit.

  6. Lovely puzzle for a sunny morning. I parsed 25d rather differently as a short drink containing the first letter of ‘reduce’ but perhaps it works either way.
    The cheesy nibbles made me laugh and my top three were 1a plus 2&11d.

    Thanks to our setter – Cephas sounds good to me – and to Tilsit for the hints.

  7. Most enjoyable with some clever clues. Mind you, I’m not sure I have the answer to 23a correct. I had all the checkers and my answer was the only one to fit but I can’t parse it. Looking at Tilsit’s hint I fear it is wrong. Favourite clues were 1a, the great lurker (I won’t say where for fear of the naughty step) and 13a but my COTD is 11d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Tilsit for the Hints.

    Back to planting vegetables! :smile:

    1. Steve there are only two words that fit and you have the wrong one. Funnily enough I never thought of that one, and only found the correct word which I did not know as it is an anagram. I can say that as Tilsit has hinted it so I should not be on the naughty step.

      1. I knew it was an anagram but could only get the word I got. I new it was wrong but that was the only word to fit the checkers. In the end, I resorted to a anagram solver, which gave 7 words. I had to go through each one until I found the right word. Never heard of it. :scratch:

  8. Another I found toughish but doable. About the right level for an SPP I thought. Really enjoyed it though *** / ****
    SE corner was my nemesis, having trundled through the rest at a reasonable pace.
    LOI was 11d had to get past starting with wrong four letter word. It is my COTD will ask Mr Wiki where it came from.
    Thanks to setter for the challenge and Tilsit for the hints.
    Hope your weather is as nice as ours. Enjoy your weekend

    1. PS
      Unless I missed it I don’t think DaisyGirl has posted for the last few days. Hope all OK with her & George.

      1. Well spotted. LROK. I do hope all is well. I have her email address but don’t like to send a message in case there is something wrong with either of them.

        1. Thank you. I was wondering about Daisy too.
          I heard from Merusa yesterday. She is able to read the blog at least right now, and hopes to be home in a couple of weeks.

      2. Hello there you lovely people! I just opened my phone to make a comment having finished the crossword, to find an email from Sue. It has been a very tricky week with hospital visits plus a crown at the dentist and George not too well and somehow we’ve been too exhausted to crossword. But hopefully we’re bouncing back. I’m still here to torment you. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        1. That’s very good news to hear. It is unlikely that any of us would disappear unnoticed with so many virtual friends!

        2. Hopefully the days past are just that. Best wishes to George.
          Worried that Cambridge had been excluded from the www!

        3. Thank goodness, DG! I hope George perks up and you can both put the week behind you. :rose:

          1. Glad you are both able to relax a bit now. Nothing worse than a ceown at the dentist, Daisy.

            1. Yes there is…..a ‘difficult extraction’ followed by a dry socket and an infection requiring 2 courses of antibiotics and meaning I had to miss my second covid jag….which I am still 4 days later trying to reschedule because nobody will answer the phone. BAH!

              1. Antibiotics only work if there is a blood supply to take them to the site of infection. There is no blood supply in an infected tooth socket so antibiotics do not help. What is needed is for the socket to be irrigated with saline and dressed.

        4. Hope crown went on better than Peter’s last week. He’s had four in the few months (4 different teeth). Dentist wasn’t happy with the last one, so ordering a new one. After more than two hours in the chair. Same as with the first one.

          1. Very pleased to hear from you again Daisygirl . Hope everything sorts itself out for you both very soon.

            1. Welcome back DG. I sometimes go missing but for a different reason, mine being incompetence.

  9. A very enjoyable, if short lived, exercise this morning. No idea about the setter. */**** The anagrams at 27a and 23a were quite inventive. Favourite 13a. Not a word that I hear much these days but it’s wonderfully descriptive.

  10. I thought I was in trouble when the first four across clues all went unsolved, but I then gained a foothold and darn near sprinted for the finish line. I needed a second breath to reach it though, I didn’t really know what the word at 23a meant, didn’t parse 25d and didn’t know the bird in 2d.

    All over in *** time. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  11. Probably the best puzzle of the week. I assume that this would have been last week’s SPP until it was ‘gazumped’ (in the nicest possible way) by CL’s HRH special so it was worth waiting for. **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 27a, and 2d – and the winner is 2d, one of my favourites.

    I think I prefer Jane’s parsing of 25d.

    I was going to say that I was in agreement that this is probably a Cephas production but I see that he has debunked that theory, so I will go with my alternative, and probably equally incorrect, thought and say thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

      1. I agree – I thought it shouted Chalicea right from the beginning – a plant, some cheese and a place in France.

        1. I should have known the moment it began to fall into place – not with ease but I just felt on wavelength as I often do with Chalicea. Her puzzles are challenging but so enjoyable.

  12. Pleasantly straightforward & certainly entertaining. A reasonably brisk solve with no parsing troubles & with 11d my clear favourite.
    Thanks to Cephas & to Tilsit.

  13. V tricky to get started but then it fell into place albeit with a certain amount of reluctance. Not the easiest of prize puzzles but certainly not the most difficult. Thx to Tilsit for the hints some of which went a little way to explaining my answers even if the bird in 2d is new to me and needed googling.
    Thx to all

  14. What a relief after the last 2 days. A lovely puzzle which I solved unaided, but needed Tilsit’s help with the parsing of 25d.
    Particularly liked 14d…..one of my favourite words.
    Thanks to Tilsit and to the setter, whoever they are.

    Beautiful day here in Dundee.

  15. Good puzzle with some fine clues. Honourable mentions to 13, 15, and 23a but my favourite is 29a.

    Thanks to Tilsit and the setter.

  16. This was a great puzzle for a Saturday. Solved this one on Friday night ,where I am, as nothing on the box, and it just fell together so nicely, and with no hints. 1.5*/*****
    Very enjoyable and and tons of satisfaction in the solve. Some great clues for me were 10a, 13a, 26a, 27a, 3d & 11d with co winners 26a & 11d.
    Really liked the cleverness of the clueing for the answers to 10a & 26a that were very well constructed and I chuckled at both the co-winners today.
    Great puzzle! Good fun. Best one of the week IMHO.

    Thanks to setter and Tilsit

  17. Excellent Saturday offering with a few chuckles along the way. 13a my COTD. LTGI, 11d, took a while for that one to click. Thanks to Tilsit and the Setter. 🦇

  18. Oh and I forgot to say on top of everything else my washing machine flooded. The last straw. Anyway, our first crossword for several days and what a joy. My father used to use the word 13a so it was nice to see that crop up. I hope I haven’t missed out on any news, everyone OK? Lola? We’ve had a sod of a week but the sunshine helps to make things better.

    1. Feel for you. My washing machine stopped before the spin cycle and I had to open the door and flood the kitchen. A really lovely young man, and I mean lovely young man, sorted it out for about £30 – I was visualising a new machine at the very least.

      1. Try putting washing up liquid in a new dishwasher as Mrs. C did. Soap suds everywhere and the dishwasher ruined. I had to buy another. 😏

  19. I started off with 1a and 1d which is quite unusual. I found it a witty, skilful piece of work. Favourites 9 13 27 and 29a and 2 and 11d. I did not parse 25d so thanks for the (amended) hint for that Tilsit/Cryptic Sue. I did not know the word a 23a but managed to fit in the remaining letters once I cottoned on to what sort of clue it is. Like another contributor I thought of a four letter word for the beginning of 11d which held me up for a time. The other sticking point (which held me up on some others) was 3d. I convinced myself that the third word of 3d was a synonym for best one so I had that and the middle word which were part of a well-known saying which could relate to putting on weight. Of course the checking letters for the first word did not come up with anything that made sense. Finally the penny dropped and changing the last word led me to 18a and 23a. Yes, convoluted but I got there. Would the author please own up so we can thank you!

  20. Ah, finally – after a week of crossword horror we have one I can do at last (with a bit of help from my husband). I was wondering if this was a Chalicea as I can generally do her puzzles and the surfaces are short and snappy. 13a and 11d win my plaudits for the day – mainly because they’re such great words. **/****

  21. Somehow this wasn’t my scene at all but I pressed on regardless and made it in the end but only thanks to a couple of hints. Failed to interpret broke in solution to 23a (new word for me) and in any case had bunged in wrong first word in 19d which didn’t help matters. Might in 8d bung-in passed me by as did lost indicator in 21d. Gorgeous sunshine in West Sussex with thermometer reading 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Have just been to garden centre to buy a load of bedding plants but think I will heed their warning to protect from frost more of which it seems we are due to get. Thanks Mysteron (don’t think I will add to the attempts above to guess who) and also tvm as always Tilsit.

    1. We’ve had frosts every morning for over a week. I haven’t dared to cut last year’s dried flowers off the hydrangea yet.

      1. I think we’re going to have to wait until mid May at the earliest to plant out tender plants such as Tomatoes, Dahlias and Begonias this year.

        1. Here in Norfolk horrid freezing east wind – lovely sunshine but reads 7 degrees! We’ve had frosts all week too.

          1. The temperature over here in the Welsh Marches is a bit better but the seeds I have sown in pots remain dormant and the compost feels cold. I think I will take them out when the sun is high so as to warm them up.

  22. That was a very nice cryptic today I think. I finished it by 3:45 p.m. without any help,and that’s nearly three hours quicker than my previous best, so I definitely thank the setter. I only do the Saturday cryptics!

  23. I do love a puzzle I can finish over breakfast, and I so very nearly finished unaided. It was just 11d that got me at the end, I was so fixated on a different start to the word, and it’s not something I would ever say anyway. COTD goes to 28a. Big thank you to the setter for a lot of fun, and to Tilsit.

  24. What a lovely crossword – lots to make me laugh which is always something I really need to bump up the enjoyment level.
    Been gardening all the day in the sun – came in recently and found this little gem waiting for me.
    I was dim with the 4d anagram – just couldn’t see it at all.
    I have heard of 23a but didn’t have the first idea of what it meant – bet I forget it next time I need it.
    Too many good clues to pick one particular favourite but 9 and 13a and 11 and 14d are in the running, oh and 26 and 28a too. I’ll add the quickie pun to that lot.
    I’m going to stick my neck out and thank Chalicea for the crossword, and Tilsit for the hints.

    1. I have been planting and digging all day, Kath. I’m glad I did the crossword beforehand because I am now so stiff I can hardly move! 😣

      I do agree that today’s could well be the work of Chalicea.

      1. No, It’s not mine either though, I agree mine often have the country and farm hints and the touches of French (we live in France, near Geneva and I do set the weekly Farmers Guardian cryptics). We enjoyed this one and I suspect it’s by the editor, Chris Lancaster – a Samuel.

  25. Just completed puzzle 100 in Telegraph puzzle book number 9….
    it was published 21st October 2009….
    hints were by Tilsit who began “Greetings from Calderdale Hospital where yours truly is still recovering…..”
    comment 13 was from a certain Barrie and read “Probably the worst midweek puzzle for ages, horrible!”

      1. 3*/3*…..
        liked the clue for the weary hack in 16A….
        regarding Telegraph xword books-I bought the latest the other day and find that it consists of copies of puzzles published even before Big Dave began-suppose I shall have to ask on this site for explanations to clues that I cannot parse.

  26. So glad that DG is back with us and to hear from BL that Merusa is able to read the blog; hope she’ll soon be back too. I seem, for the first time in memory, to have become a victim of hay fever, although here in the Carolina Lowcountry, it’s pollen from all the trees coming into leaf and the flowers blooming, and today we’re being promised some rain, so maybe that will help my clogged head, congested nose, and runny eyes. Oh yes, the puzzle: “Blow it” is not an expression over here that would yield the apparently correct answer for 11d. Otherwise, I found this a crackerjack puzzle. Like DG’s father, mine was also very fond of using 13a and maybe that’s why I am too. I thought that 27a was the runaway COTD. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s compiler.

  27. 27a is not famous to me. Even with all the checkers and knowing what it was an anagram of was of no use.

    My visits to Paris were so unpleasant, it’s no wonder I didn’t do the tourist thing. I’d rather go to Swindon again than Paris. I should mention I love the rest of France.

    Other than 27a, a lovely and enjoyably challenging crossword.

    1. Good heavens what went wrong in Paris? It is a wonderful city – as is London of course.

      1. It’s a city, all cities have their grot spots. The centres are generally OK but the rest can be awful. Too many people, traffic, litter etc. Small towns are usually better. Give me a mountain any day. Grump of the day. I promise not to say any more.

  28. We found this this more difficult to parse than to solve but found it harder to solve than most. Never heard of 23a. Favourite was 11d which made us laugh. Thanks to the setter and Tilsit.

  29. Thanks, all. Nice to see DaisyGirl is back, and using ‘crossword’ as a verb; I’ll have to try dropping that into conversation.

    I found this surprisingly straightforward, finishing before breakfast (honest, despite the lateness of my comment!) in possibly my fastest ever time. My favourite was 15A’s hidden answer, which may say more about my musical choices than the crossword, and I also liked 7D.

    29A’s lack of space between those words seemed quite sneaky; I hadn’t realized that was something setters do.

    27A is hyphenated (5-5) on its own website (and Wikipedia), rather than (5,5).

    Thank you to Tilsit for clarifying a couple I’d only partially managed to parse.

      1. Completed this unaided with the exception of 27a. If only I had realised it was an anagram – it was so obvious then what the answer was. Thanks to Tilsit for the help and the picture (nothing wrong with Paris – I spent my honeymoon there!) and to the setter for a nice enjoyable puzzle.

  30. I have been staring at 17 down on and off since yesterday evening. Just made myself a cup of tea, sat down and the answer was frustratingly obvious.

    Enjoyed it all but liked 27a once the penny dropped. Thanks to the setter for thé entertainment.

  31. Didn’t get a chance to look at this very enjoyable but brief puzzle until today. Would have preferred slightly fewer anagrams, but they did not take away from the pleasure of the grid.

    Ticks next to 15a, 27a and 3d, and COTD to 13a. LOI 11d, with an audible groan!

    1.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to setter and to Tilsit (despite not needing your carefully expressed hints!).


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