DT 29844 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 29844 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 29844 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club

Hosted by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Greetings from a wind-battered Warrington.

Thanks to the gang for covering for me over the past few weeks.

I am in work covering for unwell colleagues, so it is a brief one, I am afraid.

It looks like today’s puzzle is the work of our lovely lady setter. It felt a little more like a Tuesday Toughie, and with a couple of obscure words and alternate spellings. Very enjoyable stuff, though. I did like the quickie pun, too!

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.

Some hints follow:


1a Father had potato cooked immediately (2,3,4,2,1,3)
Something meaning immediately is an anagram of FATHER HAD POTATO.

8a Pack maybe last bit of mango into pastry dish (5)
Insert the last letter of the word MANGO into a type of pastry dish to give something that comes in a pack.

12a Not completely comprehend every cry expressing derision (7)
A word meaning to hear or comprehend needs to lose its last letter, then add something meaning ‘every’.

15a Daughter going into revamped classier data storage system (5,4)
Something that is used to store large amounts of data (and for music and films, for a short-lived time in the 80’s!) is found by taking the abbreviation for daughter and inserting into an anagram of CLASSIER.

20a Crumbly cheese’s matte finish partly making a comeback (5)
A hidden reversal for an alternative spelling of this cheese

23a Display resistance then help strike (3-4)
A word meaning show or display, followed by the abbreviation for resistance, and then something meaning help.

25a Spooner’s at large — trek to find amphibian! (4,4)
Spooner clues are usually found in the more advanced puzzles, but an odd one now and then is fine. You take a phrase and then clue it as though it was being said by the Rev Spooner, who used to get his words in a mess. BIRD WATCHING would become WORD BOTCHING. So here, the name of an amphibian would become a phrase meaning to be at large and a word meaning to trek.

27a Stupidly had a ham arms race — somewhat dippy! (3,2,1,5,4)
A phrase meaning mildly loopy is an anagram of HAD A HAM ARMS RACE.


1d Mutableness of shifting bilaterality (12)
An anagram (shifting) of BILATERALITY.

4d Commotion mostly in genuine rejection (7)
A word meaning commotion needs to lose its last letter (mostly) and goes inside something referring to genuine.

5d Showy sites of entertainment in buildings around America (7)
Types of buildings go around one of the several abbreviations for America.

10d Severely bruised group accepting deficiency; subsequently dismal (5,3,4)
Inside the word for a (musical) group goes a word for a deficiency. Add something meaning dismal and with a bit of letter tweaking you get an expression meaning severely bruised.

14d Equipped and cued actor to dance (9)
An anagram of CUED ACTOR.

18d Bury that chap (not husband) in time between events (7)
A word meaning to bury and something meaning that man, minus the abbreviation for husband.

19d Brag noisily of small bet involving golf (7)
The abbreviation for small, plus a word for a bet with G (golf) inside.

24d Region circling new sphere of action (5)
A word for a region goes around the abbreviation for north.

Thanks to our lovely lady for today’s challenge. Hope you enjoyed it. Leave your thoughts and let us know.

The Crossword Club is now open.

Music today is a tribute to the marvellous composer and lyricist and cruciverbalist Stephen Sondheim, who passed away yesterday at the age of 91. He was a keen cryptic crossword solver and you can see some of the puzzles he compiled on his website.

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: pry+vats+cool=private school

98 comments on “DT 29844 (Hints)

  1. I managed to fill the grid, and even parsed every answer, I think, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. I don’t even really know why. Too many bitty clues and stretched synonyms perhaps?

    Anyhoo, thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  2. Owing to other commitments did Fridays grid first this morning and like many others found it a bit of a headscratcher. So it was a delight to get to this fairly clued and entertaining crossword. Completed, in good time even though it had a spoonerism, my least favourite clue. Thanks to setter for restoring my faith and to Tilsit, for the hints, though not needed by ne today

  3. Gentle, accessible and reasonably enjoyable, though I thought some of the anagrams were a bit contrived.
    Favourites 21a and 7d.
    1/ 2.5*
    Many thanks to setter and hinter.

  4. An enjoyable puzzle that seemed to be just right for a SPP. I was ready to put my five bob on NY Doorknob as the setter but, after sleeping on it, I am inclined to go with Tilsit’s thought of the Floughie Lady. **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 21a, and 19d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to Chalicea, or NY Doorknob, or . . . . (fill in the blank), and thanks to Tilsit.

  5. The paper didn’t arrive today so I’ve had to use the iPad. I can’t say I’m enthralled with it – nowhere to write down anagrams! The puzzle was very enjoyable helped by the fact I got 1a straight off and that gave plenty of checkers. I liked the bottom long one as well and for once the spoonerism caused no problem.

    Many thanks to Chalicea (?) for the fun and to Tilsit for the hints.

    1. If you stare at an anagram for long enough it rearranges itself…maybe not 1a
      I don’t think its Chalicea because some clues irritated me and she never does.
      At least we’ll know as she always pops on

      1. You could be right about it not being Chalicea, Toni. I only acknowledged her as the setter because Tilsit had suggested her.

      2. I don’t think it is Chalicea either. She always provides something for enjoyment across the board.

    2. Steve
      I thought that for a time, only to be converted by MP to the “paperless anagram solve”. Still have to resort to the letter wheel but very rarely. Even today’s I managed. It is just practice. Up here I am forced to use the electronic version if I want to solve over breakfast.

      1. I usually manage to work out anagrams without having to write the letters down, LROK but, bizarrely, when I haven’t got pen and paper to hand it feels “wrong”. I like to cross off clues that I have solved and make notes about parsing and surfaces etc. There is something very satisfying about folding the paper into A4 size to show only the puzzle and setting to with the pen. Maybe I’m odd. 🤪🤪. 🤣

        1. I am with you on this one. It’s like a maths exam when you were encouraged to show your ‘workings out’. Cannot do a crossword without a pen in hand!

        2. I’m a pen and paper fan too. I use my iPad a lot, but never for solving crosswords. Also too old to change now.

    3. You can toggle between notes and the puzzle if you want to play with the letters on your iPad. As for the last line of the great Stephen Sondheim song. It reminds of this blog at times

    4. I downloaded Drawing for Kids to scribble my anagrams, easier than Notes I think.
      Thanks Smylers for sorting out the top of 7d whilst avoiding the naughty step.
      3D my COTD.
      Thanks setter &Tilsit

  6. At least I managed to do today’s puzzle, after a few uncompleted puzzles due to a mystery ailment and a visit to A and E at the John Radcliffe. I enjoyed this one all the more for having been deprived. Loved the Spoonerism clue at 25a. Thanks to Tilsit and the compiler.

  7. RIP Stephen Sondheim (1930 – 2021).

    Here, Stephen Sondheim accompanies Bernadette Peters on Send in the Clowns in1994:

    1. Forgive me, Tilsit, I hadn’t read your review when I posted this – clicked on the down-arrow and went straight to the bottom of the comments. Never mind, no harm done – we’ve got a great song twice!

        1. Indeed. I was going to post Millicent Martin singing that song, but chose this one because it features the man himself.

  8. What a strange puzzle. The four long clues around the edge and several others were virtually write-ins, in stark contrast to a handful of other clues which I found almost impenetrable. Some of the surface readings were fine and some were bizarre (e.g. 17a, 27a, 1d, 3d, …)

    I’ve never come across that specific spelling of 20a before, but, although I couldn’t find any reference to it online, it does appear in the BRB.

    Thanks to the setter and to Tilsit.

  9. Not too difficult, but somehow the Hoofit boat was not floated.
    Some of the actual sentences were pretty much meaningless, 17a a good example.
    For anyone, like me for whom the SPP is a no-go, Picaroon in the ‘G’ sets an unusually approachable puzzle, which is good fun.
    Thanks both.

    1. I’ll second Jane’s recommendation. It’s a great puzzle.
      Shall tackle the Pickers puzzle later.

  10. Very gentle, I don’t think I’ll bother entering this week. Thanks to Tilsit and today’s setter.

  11. Like others, the four perimeter clues were very straightforward and provided the springboard for a fairly rapid solve. Some interesting constructions certainly kept me guessing for a while, but all came good in the end. No particular favourites this morning.

    Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  12. Well I have finished this OK but not sure 3d is correct and cannot see the ‘collect’ in my answer for 7d. Haven’t seen 20a spelt like that before. Thanks to our mystery setter and Tilsit who unfortunately didn’t hint my two dodgy cluesw.

    1. It’s “collect short”, Manders. Look at the letters you have spare after accounting for the other parts of the clue, then account for the “short” and …

    2. I thought the collect part was ‘put together’. On the other hand, I’m not seeing a short book in 7d.

      1. It’s “collect short” and “book”. Once you’ve spotted the latter, what you have left over is for the former.

        1. I’m assuming you mean a shortened 4 letter (wee bit tenuous in my view if I’m parsing it correctly) synonym for collect

          1. I’m assuming that the naughty step might be a bit icy and uncomfortable today so I’m being very careful what I say (but you can read it that way if you wish)! The synonym seems reasonable to me, so long as you’re specific about what it is you have to collect.

    3. Me neither re collect at 7d & likewise with the 20a spelling. Am sure you’ll have 3d correct if you’ve subtracted the shorter anagram from the longer one.

  13. Two alternative spellings? Two too many. Yet finished in less than a tenth of the time of yesterday’s, which I enjoyed more, despite…

  14. Thank you, Chalicea. (At least, when solving it seemed like a Chalicea puzzle, from 3d among others; and earlier commenters seem to agree.) Perfectly pitched for my level: plenty that foxed me, but all parsed in the end.

    16d’s blunder is a new word to me. I particularly liked 2d, 18d, and 7d’s very famous.

    Have a good weekend, all. Hope everybody’s safe. We’ve woken up wondering whether we’ve lost our TV aerial or the transmitter’s down, but are otherwise all fine. (And also wondering if we really have to venture out in this to take the 9-year-old to his ballet lesson — but it’s the last one before next weekend’s shows, so I suppose we’d better.) The Christmas lights switch-on and Santa parade this afternoon have just been cancelled.

  15. I think I found only one alternative spelling which slowed me down but had to be right as it is a lurker. The only other that troubled me was a connecting one 16d. I thought of two words that fit. I turned to the BRB which gives brighten up as a synonym for one of them, so that must be right. I still can’t parse it apart from the first three letters. Enjoyed the four long ones which all went straight in, except 1d which took a little longer, as neither word crops up in my daily life. Favourites 9 and 12a plus three of the four long ones. Thanks Setter and Tilsit.

    1. I found 1d a bit clumsy, but I was so pleased to be able to solve it, I just held my nose and put it in.

      1. Not sure it was a perfect fit for the definition though. My thesaurus didn’t like mutableness and questioned if I had the right word…

  16. My 2 last ones in 7d and 21a were obvious but took me a little longer to parse. It always amuses me that I sometimes struggle with those clues where there are no hints whereas today found many, with hints, write-ins without any need for help from checkers. Raced through this and not a patch on Wednesday’s offering this week. 1*/2* Cheers Setter and Tilsit.

  17. Curate’s egg I thought. Finished in mid ** time. Not much fun or satisfaction: stolid sums it up for me.
    Nothing really stood out as a COTD.
    Thanks to setter and Tilsit for the hints.
    Overnight snow showers persist but at least the Arctic wind has mostly died away. Luckily there was sunshine for the 47 hardy souls who completed the Alness Park Run this morning (& the decidedly cold marshalls).

  18. Light relief after yesterday’s struggle. Some of the clues seemed a bit clumsy. No real favourite. **/** Thanks to all.

  19. A nice SP puzzle. There’s a mixture of easy and pretty tricky clues but that’s fine by me. Overall, quite gentle but certainly enjoyable enough. Fav: 25a, a good Spooner clue involving a slightly obscure 4-letter synonym of … (I won’t say any more because it’s a Prize). 2*, 3*.

    * For me, the mere inclusion of Spooner’s surname in a clue (as in 25a) is ample indication that it’s a “Spooner clue” – contrary to view expressed in the review of Rookie Corner 398. But that is just my humble opinion – I’m no expert.

    *There are still some people who really struggle with the Spoonerisms in Spooner clues – Tilsit has given a really good example above: BIRD WATCHING becomes WORD BOTCHING. This demonstrates the essential point that the spelling is not important – it’s the rhyming sound of the elements being interchanged that matters.

    1. I seem to recall we recently had a clue that included Spooner – but it wasn’t a spoonerism spooner was part of the fodder for an anagram.
      I can’t recall exactly when but it may have been a Django

      1. That’s a fair point, I think it was in DT29533. That was a sneaky one-off clue which began with the capitalised Spooner, but soon became obvious it wasn’t a Spooner clue. The Spooner there wasn’t a surname but the informal spooner: one who spoons. And the clear evidence that it wasn’t a surname is because it simply didn’t turn out to be a Spooner clue. Admittedly, some solvers would have initially assumed it to be a Spooner clue – but that was just excellent and legitimate misdirection from the setter.

        That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it…..

  20. My paper has also failed to arrive and I also have a problem with my puzzles site subs that the Telegraph haven’t responded to yet.
    I did manage to see the puzzle on the puzzle site though and it was a breeze compared to yesterday. I won’t join the chorus against Friday’s puzzle as IMO I am not going to get better at these puzzles unless I am stretched.
    Friday’s stretched me but today’s less so. Both were good puzzles and thanks to Tilsit (and Deep Threat)for explaining them.
    A bit of the fluffy white stuff managed to find a chink in our windows so now I have to find a glazier :0

  21. Not sure I found this quite as easy as others seem to have done though finished it in just over ** time having been held up a wee bit in the NE. Can’t say it was my favourite puzzle of the week but there were some nice clues, the best of which for me was the Spoonerism. 9&12a along with 19d my other ticks. High expectations of Shabbo’s NTSPP – hope it’s as good as his last one.
    Thanks to the setter & a welcome back to Tilsit.

  22. Quite a mixed bag for me with a bit of thought required to get the right ‘collect’ in 7d and to fully parse 21a.
    Not sure about a favourite but Senf’s selection of 9&21a plus 19d seems fine to me.

    Thanks to our setter and to Tilsit for the hints. I rather enjoyed listening to two versions of Send in the Clowns – makes you realise just how much effect a singer’s interpretation can have on a piece.

  23. Yes indeed I (Chalicea) am guilty of irritating Toni – so sorry. I never thought one of mine would earn the adjective ‘stolid’ either, so I am nursing my wounds, but delighted that the rather gentle spoonerism has given pleasure (amphibians – not exactly of the type in the Tilsit photo but the little yellow-bellied singing toads are my favourites – we rear the enchanting creatures in our ponds and they will actually come and sit on my hand). Many thanks to Tilsit for his hints and for all the warm solver comments.

    1. Thank you for popping in, Chalicea and for the puzzle, which I found most enjoyable. I hope to finish another of your Toughies in the near future. 👍

    2. No need to apologise. I love your puzzles and on reflection did find it straight forward.
      It’s been a rotten week for me I couldn’t finish Thursday’s or Friday’s. First time I haven’t finished for 8 years.
      I’ve just finished Wednesday’s as I was out all day and may have another go at Thursday’s this afternoon.
      Thanks for all your puzzles 😊

    3. Don’t be downhearted. We are constantly happy to have a challenge, some are way, some are not. It isn’t the end of the world if it doesn’t all fall into place!
      We love you❤️

      1. Yes, Daisy’s right, we love you (picture a heart, I’m not clever enough to do them). After my dismal failures on Thursday and Friday, I’ve been smiling and having fun all morning.

    4. Thank you for popping in as you always do.
      Apologies for the description. It may well be staring out looking at dark clouds & snow falling knowing I was about to go & stand for 50 minutes or so marshalling the park run affected my mood and judgement. On reflection probably even a couple of episodes of “Yes Minister” wouldn’t have cheered me up either.

  24. Not bad but little fun. Ended up with 3 that I cannot make head nor tail of and as always they are not hinted.
    They are 3d, 7d and 16d.
    Finished but with little enjoyment.
    Thx for what hints there are.

      1. Sorry still totally beyond me like the other two clues. Will have to wait for the full explanation.

  25. I agree that 7d took a bit of rustling up the right letters to get going, but beyond that, everything else fell nicely into place…as Chalicea’s puzzles always seem to do for me. Quite a relief after my sloppy performance on both of yesterday’s puzzles. 17d, my LOI, is something new to me but I worked it out easily enough; it’s a cute phrase, isn’t it? Favourites: 9a, 19d, & 3d. Thanks to Tilsit and Chalicea. ** / ***

  26. No Telegraphs delivered in my area today. Has anyone got a blank copy of todays cryptic that they could email me please? Kv

      1. Thanks, Hoofit I was just about to print that when my deadtree hit the doormat. It didn’t arrive at the newsagents until 2:00pm grr

  27. I enjoyed today’s puzzle and completed it unaided…but I did need help from the commenters above to parse 7d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to Tilsit.

    Woke up this morning to the roofing felt having been blown off the 2 sheds , several panes of glass displaced in the greenhouse and the garden gate blown off its hinges. Managed to sort out the greenhouse and lash up the gate, but the shed roofs will have to wait until the wind dies down a bit more. Could have been much worse…and we did not have a power cut like Tayport across the river. Hope they have been reconnected by now.
    Beautifully sunny with some snow blowing through occasionally, but absolutely freezing cold.

  28. We have been so fortunate with the weather, Lynn the Foot came yesterday and they had had a storm in Duxford 7 miles away and it passed us by. We went to the Christmas Tree Festival in our sister church after Coffee Stop – our 87 sprouts made a good show and people were laughing which was the intention. We came back frozen and sat down to lunch and the SPP. There seemed to be a number of anagrams which I like but I am still not sure about the Spoonerism, although I do understand them this one has me foxed. A respectable aunt of mine was renowned for them and once made a very rude Spoonerism which haunted her for years. Daisy stars for 8a,2d,1d and 14d. Many thanks to Setter & Hinter, stay safe and warm everyone.

    1. Take a word that means a political group and ‘change direction’ so if it was RINK changing direction would be RISK – North for South.

    2. That one foxed me for ages, I almost DNF it, after being able to get everything else. Right after I found that Tilsit had given no hint, I had my Road to Damascus moment. Clever isn’t it?

  29. Again today another puzzle with too many clues that I find are real stretch to logically parse the answer. I seem to find this with Chalicea puzzles so maybe it is a wavelength thing again. I find clues like17a & 7d ( to name just two) very confusing and seem to have excessive verbiage in them that did some seem to link to the answer or just made no sense. Just me maybe.
    4*/2* for today for me.
    Clues I did like include 1a, 27a, 4d & 10d with winner 1a

    Thanks anyway to Chalicea and Tilsit for the hints

  30. 2/3. 1a&d got me off to a flying start but a bit of a plod after that. Not my favourite puzzle but such is life. Thanks to Chalicea and Tilsit.

  31. I have completed over half of the grid and although I have a word for 7d and it must be right because the associated across clues are using the letters, even after reading all the comments, I still haven’t worked out the ‘collect’ bit!
    I have only needed one bit of help (from an expert on a different message board) but I think it will take me most of tomorrow, if not longer to complete!

    More recently I have taken to printing a Tuesday or Thursday crossword on the folowing day, plus the answers, so that I can use them as training!!

    I think the bulb on myCCTV is fading so I just hope it still works tomorrow.

  32. Welcome back Tilsit. Unless I’ve missed it, you have not corrected the hint for 19d. It’s a bet not a bed. Coming in late and tired so apologies if it’s already been flagged up.

  33. I can usually solve Chalicea’s puzzle at a comfortable pace, but had to work harder today, despite quickly getting all four long perimeter clues. Have never run across that spelling in 20a so that was one hold up. And my brain always goes on strike as soon as I see the word Spooner. I think you either love him or not. I’m definitely in the not camp. Thanks Chalicea, and I promise to do better next time. Thanks also to Tilsit and welcome back.

  34. I was a happy camper today, loved it all. Starting with 1a, it was an immediate solve, those multiple word phrases are always my faves. After two days of complete incomprehension, I can’t stop smiling. I found 1d a little bit heavy, not a word I like. I’m no Spooner fan, but I liked today’s, once I’d corrected my spelling of 14d and was able to solve it. My fave is undoubtedly 1a, anything that reminds me of Flanders & Swann will get my seal of approval.
    Thank you Chalicea, you’re a star and completely restored my faith in myself. Welcome back Tilsit, thanks for the hint and tips.

  35. Although not much of a fan of anagrams the easily solved ones (no circular write-down required!) around the circumference today certainly got things off to a smooth start. 20a spelling new to me. 5d buildings a bit stretched. Think 19d hint has a typo. 25a is obvious in view of crossers but I stupidly can’t parse the spoonerism. Thank you Chalicea and Tilsit especially for the Stephen Sondheim reminders – for me that included memories of “Follies” at the Lyttelton in 2017. RIP.

    1. Hi, Angellov. It might be my advanced age, but Follies remains my favourite Sondheim. I saw it in its initial Broadway opening and thought it most profound and moving. I have also seen Company four times (B’way thrice; West End once). And most of the other ones at least once.

  36. I haven’t enjoyed nor finished a single crossword this week and today was no different. Roll on next week!

  37. A relative newcomer to crosswording and commenting- I loved the Spooner clue 25A and finished the whole grid including understanding each clue (parsing?) on a Saturday- which is good for me!

  38. I enjoyed this, probably because I finished it unaided and in a decent time. 1d is not a word you see very often, I had to check if it really existed. 7d is a bung in as like some others I couldn’t see where the collect came in, but it had to be what it was. Thanks to all.

  39. Hmmmm, well, it’s now nearly 8:30 a.m. and I have filled every square and am quite pleased that I have needed only two hints )from friend on other forum). Mind you, it remains to be seen whether answers are correct!

  40. Dear lady setter I am sorry I did not enjoy this very much. I managed to finish in the end but needed e-help (and Google for the amphibian, plus I had never heard of the second word of that) for nearly half of the clues. Anyway thank you for providing many clever clues and thanks and welcome back to Tilsit.

  41. Reasonably straightforward except I’m stumped on 3d – can someone suggest a hint please? Beginning to think I must have gone wrong somewhere else.

    1. it is a bit tricky to avoid the naughty step but 1st word of the clue is the definition the 2nd word is an anagram indicator and the 3rd is the fodder for that anagram, but as the 3rd word has 14 letters and you only need 9 the rest of the clue tells you which letters to remove. I hope that is plain enough ;)

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