DT 29768 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29768

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29768

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Tuesday. I enjoyed today's puzzle, in part because several clues presented wordplay that required a little thought to untangle everything, without requiring any visits to the dictionary. I wonder if our compiler is one of those who might comment here. Perhaps we'll find out later today. 

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    Liked leaving university small trees (7)
POPLARS:  Liked or fashionable minus (leaving) the single letter for university is followed by the clothing abbreviation for small 

5a    Agreement from Charlie about short trousers (7)
CONCORD:  Link together the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Charlie, about or concerning, and all but the last letter (short) of an informal word for a type of trousers named for their fabric (which in pillow form would make headlines)

The answer sounds like this ...

9a    I look after grand old house in Greenland? (5)
IGLOO:  Assemble I from the clue, the single letter for grand, an old verb meaning look or behold, and the abbreviation for old 

10a   Children watch this sad boy (4,5)
BLUE PETER:  Sad or unhappy with a boy's name 

A safe in this colour would be a XXXX XXXXX

11a   Negotiate hard and restore broadcast without advertisement (5-5)
HORSE-TRADE:  The pencil abbreviation for hard is followed by an anagram (broadcast) of RESTORE containing (without) a contraction of advertisement 

12a   Somewhat inhumane Roman? (4)
NERO:  The wordplay has the answer hidden inside (somewhat) the remainder of the clue. The entire clue can also serve as the definition, making this an all-in-one clue

14a   Stop thinking about male with jewel returning flowers (6-2-4)
FORGET-ME-NOTS:  Glue together a verb meaning "stop thinking about", the abbreviation for male, and the reversal (returning) of a synonym of jewel 

18a   Strangely Abraham went to no hospital for bug (5,7)
WATER BOATMAN:  An anagram (strangely) of ABRAHAM WENT TO minus the single letter for hospital (no hospital) 

21a   Vogue magazine's ultimate decline (4)
FADE:  A vogue or trend with the ultimate letter of magazinE 

22a   Country house to mark changes without opening in March (5,5)
SOUTH KOREA:  An anagram (changes) of HOUSE TO MARK minus (without) the opening letter in March 

25a   Note merger after company disorder (9)
CONFUSION:  An abbreviation for note and a merger or union both come after an abbreviation for company 

26a   Wife gets in health food possibly for strength (5)
BRAWN:  The genealogical abbreviation for wife gets inserted in a component of grain sometimes eaten as a health food 

27a   Sweet daughter, with ecstasy, flicked back hair (7)
DESSERT:  Amalgamate the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, the single letter for the drug ecstasy, and the reversal (flicked back) of a big lock of hair 

28a   He safely groomed, removing fine hair on face (7)
EYELASH:  An anagram (groomed) of HE SAFELY minus (removing) the pencil abbreviation for fine 



1d    Predicament: torch perhaps stuck under piano (6)
PLIGHT:  What a torch defines by example (perhaps) follows (stuck under, in a down clue) the single letter for piano 

2d    Mean chickens maybe reported (6)
PALTRY:  A homophone (reported) of what chickens define by example (maybe

3d    Openly superior to group of directors? (5,5)
ABOVE BOARD:  A word meaning "superior to" is followed by a group of company directors 

4d    Serious whimper with tears regularly shed (5)
SOBER:  Whimper or cry noisily with alternate letters (regularly shed) of TEARS 

5d    Conservative with up-to-date reforms -- this could change the government (4,5)
COUP D'ÉTAT:  The single letter for Conservative with an anagram (reforms) of UP-TO-DATE 

6d    Pinches  small quantities of spirits (4)
NIPS:  Pinches or bites sharply is also a word for small quantities of alcoholic spirits 

 Yes, the bottle of whisky really is that big

7d    Won't shed rot without covers? Precisely (2,3,3)
ON THE DOT:  The first three words of the clues without their initial letters (covers, in a down clue) 

Look at where these socially-distanced cats are sitting

8d    Fisherman's equipment picked up medium river creature (8)
DORMOUSE:  Glue together the reversal (picked up, in a down clue) of an item of a fisherman's equipment, the clothing abbreviation for medium, and a name shared by at least three English rivers 

13d   Exceptional religious education with gospel expert (10)
REMARKABLE:  Chain together the abbreviation for religious education, one of the New Testament gospels, and expert or talented

15d   One might study rock music, finally departing from coolest gig around (9)
GEOLOGIST:  The final letter of musiC is deleted from (departing from) an anagram (around) of COOLEST GIG 

16d   Deceitful, like Janus? (3-5)
TWO-FACED:  A phrase meaning deceitful also describes literally the usual depiction of Janus, the Roman god of doors, gates, passages, etc.. It might also describe this picture of the kittens

Two kitten faces

17d   Trainees boss sent first to the base (8)
STUDENTS:  A boss or knob is followed by SENT with its first letter moved to the end of the word (the base, in a down clue)

19d   A river -- round the bend a large group of vessels (6)
ARMADA:  Concatenate the first A from the clue, the map abbreviation for river, round the bend or crazy, and the second A from the clue 

20d   Found adult tucking into meal (6)
LAUNCH:  The single letter for adult inserted in (tucking into) one of the regular daily meals 

23d   Often seen wrapping present? (5)
TENSE:  The first two words of the clue are hiding (wrapping) the answer, which is, as indicated by the ? at the end, defined here by example 

24d   Large flower -- it's enticing (4)
LURE:  The clothing abbreviation for large with a river (flower, in the whimsical sense of something that flows) in North Yorkshire 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was the clever 7d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  PAN + DAB + HEIRS = PANDA BEARS

98 comments on “DT 29768

  1. Another most enjoyable puzzle, which makes me wonder if we are in the “calm before the storm” and the rest of the week will be taxing. Talking of storms, I do hope our members across The Pond are staying safe if they are affected by Ida.

    As I said, a most enjoyable puzzle with a couple of old chestnuts, such as 27a and 28a, and a few head scratchers. I have lost count of the different ways 19d can be clued but they are different every time.

    My COTD is 14a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Also, thanks to Mr. K for the hints, which I will now read while searching for pussy cats.

    1. Reckon today’s the day for your first unaided Toughie completion Steve. My money is down….

      1. I saw your suggestion to Steve so whilst I don’t usually bother did so today – thanks for the tip as I enjoyed it and found it to be about the same difficulty as the back pager.

      1. How often does the newsletter come out? Is it weekly or monthly?
        I subscribe for the electronic Telegraph & got a Newsletter three weeks ago but nothing since.

        1. In this age of social media I cannot see why the newsletter is only offered to those who subscribe to the Daily Telegraph puzzles app. I subscribe to the Daily Telegraph subscription app but cannot access this newsletter. An easy answer would be to put the newsletter onto the very very underused Daily Telegraph Puzzles Facebook page. Do the fuddy duddy old farts still rule the roost?

          1. I believe that the weekly emailed newsletter is available to anyone with a Telegraph account, including a free non-subscription account. Newsletters can be selected under the My Account link visible after signing in.

            1. Done all that – on two separate occasions Mr K. It says I am signed for the puzzles newsletter but it doesn’t come. Life’s too short to be messing about with these supposedly WYSIWYG things.

              1. They must have put your email address down wrongly. Mine just came and comes every week.

                1. WW, no I most certainly did not. The website is telling me I am signed up for the Newsletter when I go through My Account but it just doesn’t come.
                  As I said I have had one Newsletter telling me of Ray T’s 500th but no more. I get regular emails from them but not a newsletter. I have been a subscriber, with the identical email address, for over 5 years.
                  Like I said life’s too short

          2. I do not have a puzzles subscription. I have a newspaper subscription which includes the on-line which I don’t use unless I have to. I applied for the puzzles newsletter and within a week or two it started appearing in my in box every Monday.

    2. I don’t usually attempt the Toughie but, prompted by Huntsman, I gave it a go and it is a splendid ‘not so tough’ puzzle…

  2. Took me a little while to find the setter’s wavelength but once there a nice steady solve with the only pause for thought being the exact parsing of 9a.
    All in all very enjoyable, my top three are 5,8&23d with a nod to the pun.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the entertainment.

  3. There were some unusual clues here and it took me longer than usual to finish the puzzle (3*/3*). Once I had got used to the trick of excluding one letter from the anagram fodder in some of the clues, thing s moved faster. I wasn’t keen on the homophone in 2d but that may be a regional accent problem. The best clues, for me, were 3d and COTD 8d. Thanks to Mr K and the compiler.

    1. I didn’t think 2d worked as a homophone either. I would never mistake one for the other.

      1. I got this as a homophone straightaway. Any difference in pronunciation for me is minimal.

  4. On first reading the north looked as if it might be tricky so I headed south and speeded back north with the help of the anagrams eventually ending up with a */*** result. I thought 9a the best of many well crafted clues. Thanks to MrK and this excellent setter.

  5. **/**** for me today. All fell into place quite nicely except spelling last word of 14a knot! Soon corrected when I realised the answer was plural. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  6. Nice & gentle but fun to complete. A toss up between 5d (good to see digital solvers got the correct enumeration) & 11a for COTD. I did have to confirm 18a which I vaguely recalled I think from a Graun puzzle not so long ago but otherwise a problem free solve & parse in just over ** time. The Toughie was a marginally quicker solve & to my mind probably the more straightforward of the 2 puzzles.
    Thanks to the setter & to Mr K.
    Ps COTW so far 30a in yesterday’s Rookie Corner which was a super puzzle & well worth a look.

  7. Plain-sailing in the South then a slightly rougher ride in the North. Agree with Chriscross re questionable 2d homophone and would quibble over 5d being shown as only two words (4, 5). Several nicely convoluted clues. Fav 5a and 23d. Thank you setter and MrK. (Have just seen Huntsman’s comment re digital version oof 5d).

    1. A huge percentage of homophones don’t work in many parts of the UK due to regional accents. The compilers ask for latitude because of this.

      I’ve got no problem with people saying that it’s pronounced differently in their neck of the woods, like Chriscross says, but ‘questionable’ is inaccurate.

      Whenever I see a homophone, I guess how many people will comment.

      Two so far today with, I reckon, three more to come…

        1. They both sound the same to me. So the regional accent of back street Stoke Heath Coventry as spoken by raggy arsed guttersnipes

            1. Your comment went into moderation because you used a very abbreviated form of your previous alias both should work from now on.

      1. I rather enjoy the working out of the not quite there homophones. I’m more likely to be amused by them. I cannot see the point in solving these puzzles to be irritated or angered by them

        1. I usually try to imagine how an old friend of mine, who has a Lancashire accent would pronounce the two homonyms. 2d works with that technique. It doesn’t work so well with my own faded Cockney accent, which means that it takes a lot longer for the answer to come to mind.

          1. CC
            Not for this Lancastrian’s Owdham accent it doesn’t quite . Poultry is Pole – tri to me it’s a near miss though.
            There are dialects and differing pronunciations within the counties let alone North / South. so “one size fits all” for homophones will be the exception rather than the rule for me.
            Having lived in Lancashire, Wiltshire, South Yorkshire South Wales and now the Highlands I’ve experienced a fair number first hand.

    2. In anticipation of this 2d discussion I asked my (nearly) Glaswegian wife for her pronunciation. It works fine for her but not quite so for my SE England drawl. I’m very much in the Miffypops camp. A little poetic/setters licence is surely allowable, especially as these clues often contain the best LOL moments.

    3. 5d is two words. I haven’t looked at the digital version so don’t know what is shown there but what may have made it difficult for some is that apostrophes are not shown in crosswords and neither are accents so one of each are missing.

      1. Yes I noticed the missing apostrophe too. They dont often put a cents on anyway. Is it deliberate misdirection do you think?

        1. No I don’t think it is a deliberate misdirection. Could be a bit of mischief involved however

  8. Over far too soon! A most enjoyable coffee-break puzzle, witty, light, impeccably clued and utterly fair, with no arcane knowedge required.

    HMs to 18a, 27a, 3d, 4d, 7d and 15d, woth my COTD going to 12a for the super surface read.

    1* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Setter and to Mr K.

    1. Agree that was very enjoyable **/****. But what makes 12a a “super surface read”? How would I recognise one if I found it?

      1. I felt the way the clue read was a great piece of construction. It would be relatively easy to hide the answer between a huge number of paired words, but for the answer to be someone who really was a “somewhat inhumane Roman” made me chuckle and appreciate the wit of the Setter. I liked many of their clues, but for me that artistry lifted it above the rest.

        To me – and for others it is probably different – a smooth surface read is one where the clue reads fluidly and any punctuation feels natural rather than forced, although various other subjective factors come into play.

        6d is another clue which I think reads very smoothly, while for example 1a and 17d make sense but “feel” a little artifical.

        Ultimately I guess it’s all a matter of opinion, and that’s mine!

  9. Already made a note of the exceptional wordplay before I read Mr K’s comments, especially liked 15d,5d, 22a, realy enjoyed the solve – thanks setter and Mr K’S pics.
    Going for a **/****.
    Top draw Quickie Pun too.

  10. Another Tuesday, another fine puzzle. Fine because although it was not a read and write it was doable and enjoyable. The problem with good Monday and Tuesday puzzles is the rest of the week is usually a huge come down from the joys of solving unaided.

    I liked the anagrams today with 18a my favourite.

    Thanks to Mr K for his enjoyable blog and to the setter for such a fine puzzle for those with a puzzling handicap from Wednesday to Sunday of needing hints, reveals and electronic help including Danword.

    Haven’t seen Bertie for a while. Perhaps he’s on his yacht or at Monte Carlo? Although I hope he’s not ill.

    1. I’ve just looked at Danword. No explanation of wordplay there. Some years ago I looked at a lot of crossword help sites and was surprised at just what was out there. I suppose there are more such sites now.
      I believe you should seek help when you need it.
      That help should come from whatever source you feel you need.
      You should also be striving to use less help as time goes by and as your ability increases.
      The best help comes from this site

      1. I used Danword quite a lot when I started out but rarely look at it now. As you say, it does not explain the wordplay. However, Crossword Genius does but I find I do not need such aids now.

        1. Another new one to me. I used to lie on the settee with a paraphernalia of stuff to help. Now it’s just my iPad and My finger with an occasional but rare input from the sainted one.

      2. Danword is my last resort port of call. Once I see the word, then I can usually see how the clue works.

        1. I, too, in desperation have occasionally used Danword to unblock a recalcitrant corner. They are very unhelpful because they give no explanation for the answer. They are there early in the day. Does anyone know who they are?

    2. I don’t use Danword as I like to do at least some work to get the answer! I use a word search that gives me many answers and I have to work out which one works.

  11. Very Tuesdayish, good fun and not too challenging – **/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 10a and 16d – and the winner is 10a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    The Floughie Lady on Toughie duty today has provided us with a very doable second puzzle.

  12. This nice puzzle was interrupted by Saint Sharon wittering on about stuff. It was an interesting mix of clues. Some obvious, some more obscure. Last one in 23 down. As somebody commented recently ‘beaten by a lurker’ Thanks to the setter and to Mr Kitty

  13. Two days in a row – crossword completed unaided. It must be downhill from here.

    Thanks to all who commented so kindly about little Lola yesterday. I read all the comments later in the day.

    Yesterday afternoon a man, clutching a baby mouse in his hands, knocked at the door and said, “I’m sorry to trouble you but I was told you are a vet.”
    Sadly, I had to explain that a life working in film and media has left me with zero qualifications to help an injured mouse. He said he had been told to look out for a red door. We have a black door. It was a confusing minute or two. I hope the mouse survived.

    Today’s crossword soundtrack: Gorecki – Symphony No. 3 (almost too painful and beautiful – invariably moves me to tears)

    Thanks to today’s splendid setter, and The Celebrated Mr. K.

  14. This was a real delight to solve, with Chalicea to come in the Toughie slot. Although this was relatively straightforward there were enough tricky clues that needed plenty of thought to make this puzzle hugely enjoyable and entertaining. 14a gets my nod for COTD.

    Thanks setter, (please claim ownership if you read this), and Mr K.

  15. Another painless drift through crosswordland today, always good for the morale!
    Plenty to enjoy with 12&21a plus 8d taking the medals here.

    Thanks to our setter and to Mr K for the review and the pictorial update on the kittens – they’re going to be ‘real’ cats before you know it!

  16. Hi Everyone. I am having a problem logging on to the puzzles! Strange that no-one else seems to be having trouble.

    Last logged on using Firefox on Sunday. Now using the same computer the logon popup simply does not respond using FireFox, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer.

    I’ve sent email to Telegraph but no reply so far.

  17. Mostly straightforward going through accents to get 2d took me into ** time & was *** fun factor.
    Certainly it banished any blues this Peter had from the email that his electricity bill was to go up by 35% at the end of the month. Why is it when the Government predicts the end of regulation will result in a modest increase it turns out to be eye-warering? Or am I out of date and 35% is “modest” these days?
    Lots to like as shown by the variety of COTDs, to which I’ll add mine, 13d.
    Thank you to setter & Mr K. Liked the “cryptic” illustration for 14a and the potential effects of a corduroy pillow (plus the kittens of course).

      1. Thanks H, with my electric car I will be going for a deal that gives a cheap night tariff – sort-of a smart meter equivalent to economy 7.

  18. Nice puzzle finished in 2* time and quite enjoyable.
    Only gripe would be 2d – very weak as a homophone

  19. Fine puzzle. Only gripe is that, with 5d, there was no apostrophe indicator – or that a foreign language is required. 1.5*/****

    1. Hereward
      There was an apostrophe in the on-line puzzle (last time it was the other way round I recall) and coup d’etat is in the BRB

  20. A mixed bag for me, having had trouble getting on wavelength. COTD for me was 10a just because our two daughters loved that program, Magpie and Jackanory. I was just glad they had experienced those before we crossed the pond as there wasn’t much children’s TV over here at that time. They never took to Sesame Street. Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  21. Very enjoyable 😃 as someone said earlier possibly the calm before the storm 😬 ***/*** Favourites: 18a, 21a & 13d 🤗 Thanks as always to Mr K and to the Compiler

  22. A first class puzzle with one of the best clues ever in 10a.
    What a great crossword! Thanks to the setter for quite making my day.

  23. Had a go at the Toughie, managed two answers! Far far harder than the BP.
    Way out of my league.

    1. You surprise me, Brian. If I can do it a solver of your calibre should be able to.

  24. Fine Tuesday puzzle. I quickly managed 5d without the apostrophe and acute accent as looking at the checking letters it had to be a foreign phrase. Favourites 10 and 11a, the aforementioned 5d plus 15 and 16d. Thanks Setter and Mr K although no difficulties with parsing.

  25. Did this is two parts … top half on Monday night and the rest on Tuesday morning. Bottom half required a couple of hints, but mostly took some head scratching to complete. 2.5*/****
    Clues to like 10a( used to watch that as a kid in the UK Monday and Thursdays as I recall at 4:55pm), 14a, 2d, 8d & 24d with winner 10a for the nostalgia.

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  26. Another fine puzzle, the NE took me into ** time. No problem for me with 2d and it’s my clue of the day as the illustration reminded me of two rescue hens I had, Rose and Henrietta, they were real characters who were mad about grapes, they only had to see them and they would dash over to me at full speed. They were barn raised and had never seen the sky, took them a couple of days to adjust, sad really, if they are good enough to provide us with eggs the least we can do is give them a good life.
    Thanks to all.

  27. Very nice puzzle today. Took me a while to get started but then it all worked out.
    The homophone at 2d doesn’t quite work for me …nearly but not quite.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K

  28. I found this very friendly, very much at my speed, no strange words or phrases. The homophone at 2d just misses for me, but am I worried? Nah, not at all. Hard to choose a fave, maybe 14a, they’re so pretty, I love the name for the bug at 18a, so maybe that. I never do the toughie, I have enough headaches, but I do love Chalicea so much, I’m going to print it off and hold for another day, maybe a Giovanni day.
    Thanks to our setter and to Mr. K, needed a couple parsed, and I just loved the pic at 16d, pure delight!

  29. No problems with this anywhere. Lovely crossword. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  30. Another unaided completion, just a bit more thinking needed than yesterday. I enjoy assembling the longer clues like 14a. Couldn’t see the country in 22a until I wrote it out when of course it jumped out. 0I’ve now managed a run of nine days unaided. I’m sure I have not suddenly improved so why has the difficulty reduced recently? Not that I am complaining! But perhaps it explains Bertie’s absence. Thoroughly enjoyed again.
    Thanks to all.

  31. Finished…but a bit ‘meh’ as I’d no idea what on earth 18A was about, despite the only obvious answer…needed a look up to discover a brand new thing I’d never clearly heard of (or remembered more likely!)
    So..as ever…nearly 60 years in, but never too late to learn new stuff…every, every, day’s a school day!
    Thanks Chalicea for the education, and of course to Mr K for the blog ‘n hints – great pic for 6D…on both counts! 🥃😜

  32. I managed to finish this brain teaser with e-help for one clue ****/**. Thanks to setter for the mental exercise and to Mr. K for the hints which I shall now read together with the comments which I shall enjoy.

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