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DT 30004

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30004
Hints and tips by Stephen L

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone from a sunny South Devon.
My turn to stand in for Deep Threat today. I was feeling a little hungover after the jubilee celebrations 🇬🇧 but a sea swim has cleared it and the setter (Zandio?) has given us a very fine puzzle, no obscurities just clever wordplay, I enjoyed it a lot.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Gay marriage maybe for bureaucrats (5,7)
CIVIL SERVICE:  Double definition, the bureaucrats being employees of the crown.

9a Too organised for failure (4-3)
ALSO RAN: We need synonyms of both too and organised or managed to give this loser. So many illustrations I could use here!

10a Fearless in duty, keeping revolutionary secure (7)
VALIANT: Insert a reversal of a synonym of secure as a verb into an abbreviation of a ubiquitous duty or tax.

11a Book about swine running over couple (7)
TWOSOME: A large book is placed around (about) a reversal (running over) of a swine in the animal sense

12a Barker‘s role in a psychodrama partly cut back (7)
SPANIEL; Hidden and reversed (partly cut back) in the clue

13a Oxygen a half-cut relative needed in watering-hole (5)

OASIS: The chemical symbol of Oxygen, A from the clue and fifty percent of a relative. Incidentally the solution is also the name of a pop group involving two dysfunctional relatives of a different gender. I’ll spare you a clip


14a Bitter client spilled — guys mopped up (9)
INCLEMENT: Anagram (spilled) of CLIENT placed around (mopped up) some guys

16a Having the vision to make pointed observations? (5-4)
SHARP EYED: Cryptic definition, think what something pointed is.

19a Hound, quite old for a dog — antique! (5)
CURIO: A 3-letter synonym of a hound or mongrel and two letters that look like a number which is quite old in dog years

21a Demanded to get fifty rather than 100 grand (7)
EXALTED: Replace the Roman numeral for 100 with that for 50 in a synonym of demanded.

23a Round one, Walker flexing, ready for a dust-up (7)
WARLIKE: Anagram (flexing)WALKER placed around the letter that represents one

24a Writes colourfully of some light-entertaining rip-offs (7)
CRAYONS: Colourfully here is in the literal rather than metaphorical sense. A beam of light is inserted into an informal word for some rip offs.

25a No fur seal should be disturbed (7)
REFUSAL: Anagram (should be disturbed) of the preceding two words

26a Miss speaking French? (12)
MADEMOISELLE: Miss here is not as the setter would like you to think a verb, but a title, a French one.


1d Drug users may get trapped by these habits (7)
CUSTOMS: Double definition both nouns, one concrete, one abstract

2d Many needing saviour’s conversion (7)
VARIOUS: Anagram (conversion) of SAVIOUR

3d Fun to carry on with golf in old age (9)
LONGEVITY: The clue is telling us to place a (lovely) synonym of fun around (to carry) ON from the clue and the abbreviation for Golf

4d Magical folk singer taking in Spain instead of Italy (5)
ELVES: Take a singer, a very famous one, and replace the IVR code for Italy that lies within his name with that of Spain

5d Hamlet exhibits delay in rotten setting (7)
VILLAGE: Insert a (time) delay into a synonym of rotten or nasty

6d Something infiltrating democracy, an ideology that’s poisonous (7)
CYANIDE: Hidden (something infiltrating) in the clue

7d Start, lecture, end — are they nouns or verbs? (5,2,6)
PARTS OF SPEECH: Difficult to hint without giving it away. The first three words of the clue could be three stages of something of which verbs and nouns (or adjectives and adverbs etc for that matter) are

8d Steps with hot steel moulded into these? (8,5)
STILETTO HEELS: Insert an anagram (moulded) of HOT and STEEL into some steps you may see in a field

15d Agents’ keys to private entries? (9)
CODEWORDS: An agent perhaps would need these to gain access to or identify something that is classified or secret

17d State four areas in which large black mass must be broken up (7)
ALABAMA: Four Abbreviations for Area have inserted abbreviations for Large, Black and Mass alternately

18d Drug den creating depression in the street (7)
POTHOLE: An informal word for a drug that’s smoked (I think!) plus another for a den gives us the bane of road users everywhere

19d Guarded vehicle with spilt fuel (7)
CAREFUL: A vehicle plus an anagram (spilt) of FUEL

20d United entering series, surprisingly put out again (7)
REISSUE: Insert the abbreviation for United into an anagram (surprisingly) of SERIES.

22d One’s loved by dancers, admits actor — nothing odd about that (5)
DISCO: The even (nothing odd about it) letters of aDmItS aCtOr

Quickie Pun Crow + Asian + Whine = Croatian Wine

Great stuff setter, I think my winners are 19a plus 1, 3 & 4d.

63 comments on “DT 30004

  1. 2*/4*. A light fun puzzle for a Friday. Many thanks I would guess to Zandio and also to SL, particularly for the parsing of the last two letters of 19a which eluded me.

  2. Great fun. Took a moment or two to see the parsing of 19a. 24a gets my vote today.

    Thanks to SL and today’s setter.

  3. I’m afraid I had to guess a lot of clues, once I had got a few in as checkers, and then try to work out the wordplay. I had10 clues, which I had bunged in, to look up in the hints. So many thanks to SL for the hints and explanations. Interestingly, rhey were all correct answers and I finished the puzzle, with only one prompt from online. If it is Zandio as the compiler, that would explain alot as I often find it difficult to get on his wavelength.it certaibly had me baffled, so well done to the compiler

    1. I’d say about half of my answers come from using the checked letters, then working out the wordplay afterwards. I feel like a fraud when I do this, as if it were cheating!

      1. It’s just one of several solving methods and certainly not cheating.
        Rule One. There are no rules
        Rule Two. If in doubt, see rule one

  4. I struggled to solve todays puzzle , maybe yesterdays celebrations had something to do with it like SL!
    Really enjoyed the excellent cluing once underway and my favourites were 19a, 4d 8d,
    Going for a ****/****
    May watch the cricket if I dare.

  5. Thanks to setter and SL Very enjoyable and I thought a bit quirky in places, e.g. the dog’s age, which made it all the more engaging. SL, I think 1a may be a double definition as in ***** partnership?

  6. Continuing a treasury of top-drawer cryptics this week, today’s setter pushed me well into *** time for a most enjoyable, unaided finish last night, with 1d, 3d, 5d, & 21a especially pleasing me. Thanks to SL and today’s setter–Zandio, if it is he. 3.5* / 4.5*

    A very timely Elgar Toughie today, which of course I haven’t finished.

    1. Agree Elgar on top form, I did particularly like a couple of subversive elements to add to the ‘timely’ bits.

  7. My parsing of 1a agreed with that given by Fez and that made it one of my ticked clues along with 1d.
    I seem destined not to rub along with this setter’s style but we all have our own likes and dislikes which is no bad thing.

    Thanks to Zandio and to Stephen for the review and the photo of the very attractive 12a.
    PS Apologies, Stephen, I’ve just spotted that you’ve altered the hint – crossed over in the ether!

  8. By a process of elimination – Silvanus last week, neither of proXimal’s trademarks – this was a head scratching Zandio – ***/****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 1d and 7d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Zandio and StephenL.

  9. A steady solve, with some head scratching along the way. It eventually all fell into place nicely and was a decent Friday challenge.
    Top marks to 3d. Very neat with an excellent surface read.
    Time for some cricket…
    Thanks to setter and SL.

  10. I’m with Chris and Beaver in that I found this rather tricky. Indeed I came to a grinding halt and checked out a couple of Stephen’s hints to get me rebooted.
    Bronchitis update – I had an appointment yesterday afternoon and I’ve now been prescribed Doxycycline and a Salamol inhaler. Too soon to know if they are helping.
    Here’s a thing – I was asked to wait outside in the car as I had a rash following a reaction to the previous antibiotic (anyone with a rash has to do so due to current fears of monkeypox). It certainly helped me put my ailment into perspective as we saw people in severe conditions being relayed into the hospital and I remarked to H that she should remind me about this if I ever moan about this bronchial issue! Certainly made me rethink my perspective.

    Thanks to the setter and Stephen L.

    1. Any visit to the hospital hs me thanking my lucky stars I’m not in the same boat as some of the patients I see and for the great job the NHS do in incredibly difficult circumstances. Hope the medicine works for you, Terence, bronchitis is a miserable business.

  11. Another great puzzle to end the week. I had a few bung-ins (well, two) so will need to check the parsing of those. Other than that it all came together nicely. My COTD was the old dog at 19a.

    Many thanks to the setter. Thanks also to StephenL for stepping in to provide the hints.

    Happy Jubilee, everyone. :good:

  12. Not my favourite puzzle of the week today, that’s for certain. Did this on Thursday afternoon my time.
    Found this a tough go and would really say for me it was a DNF other than the cheats that completed it.
    Favourites in this one were hard to find … 12a, 16a, 7d & 18d with 7d the winner.
    Lots of these clues I could not work out the parsing even with the correct answer.
    Not all puzzles are for everyone and this was not one for me.
    No idea of the setter but the two that give me the most trouble are Chalicea & Zandio.

    Thanks anyway to setter and StephenL for what I hope will bring to light the parsing in the hints for me.

  13. Not difficult but I simply don’t get 1d, where is the drug user? Also when I looked up the answer to 14a in the BRB it gave three definitions and none had anything to do with ‘bitter’
    Better than the average Friday.
    Thx to all

    1. Drug users may get trapped by the answer when travelling through an airport carrying an illegal substance?

    2. Senf has answered the first, the solution to 14a and bitter are certainly synonyms in respect of the weather Brian.

    3. 1d try thinking ‘smugglers’ rather than ‘users’, and 14a think in terms of weather. Agree both arguably a bit ‘stretchy’ though personally I like that sort of thing, I think it gives the puzzle a bit more character.

      Apologies to Senf & SL, you are quicker typists than me!

      1. Thx Guys but I must say I think they were both extremely weak and iffy and not worthy of the rest of an otherwise good puzzle.

  14. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the trouble to solve, analyse and discuss. Have a good weekend.

    1. By the way, I don’t think anyone mentioned Billy Walker. I wasn’t sure whether “Walker” would be recognised as an actual boxer, or assumed to be a fictitious character. I’ve always had great affection for Billy Walker, the Sixties British heavyweight, since I saw The Jimi Hendrix Experience at Billy Walker’s Upper Cut Club in Forest Gate on Boxing Day 1966. Later, we learned that Hendrix wrote ‘Purple Haze’ in the dressing room while waiting to come onstage. It was an afternoon event (with The Pretty Things playing the evening show), and admission was five shillings.

      1. I vaguely remember him from the Henry Cooper era, but I was very young then, it did cross my mind fleetingly but I just assumed a coincidence.

        1. I remember that the Upper Cut was where Forest Gate Roller Skating Rink used to be. I used to enjoy roller skating there as a teenager. I remember Billy walker too.

          1. In the opening week of the Upper Cut (which this was), they had separate shows by The Who, The Animals, The Spencer Davis Group, The Pretty Things, Jimi Hendrix and Geno Washington, plus Dave Dee, Dozy Etc and The Easybeats. How about that!

      2. I thought of Lee Marvin in Point Blank. His Walker was always more than ready for a dust up. Billy Walker did cross my mind but Lee Marvin it is for me

        1. You’ll not be surprised that was my first thought too but remember the boxer also & his brother George.

      3. Hi Zandio. I envy you The Jimi Hendrix Experience gig. I was too young to see him live. I think I have gigged Hey Joe more times than any other number. No! I know I have gigged Hey Joe more than any other number. Always a good shoe in if somebody asks us to play Happy Birthday which we won’t. Ever

      4. I remember Billy being managed by his brother George who had served two years in prison. He, George, went on to form Brent Walker. He built Brent Cross, Britain’s first shopping centre
        He also dabbled in film production. I think The Stud was one of his. I worked for a time in cinema management and dealing with them was not a happy experience.
        As for today, I thought it on a par with yesterday’s. Ta to all.

        1. George came a cropper when he hopelessly overpaid buying William Hill from Grand Metropolitan.

  15. Many thanks to Zandio and SL for a good lunch time entertainment. I particularly liked the inhabitants of 8d.

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed this solve.

    I had a good chuckle when 18d came to me.

    Thanks to all.

  17. Leisurely solve by the river with Mama Bee. 7d amused the most, reminds me of advice about planning a talk,
    Tell them what you are going to tell them.
    Tell them.
    Tell them what you have just told them.
    Thanks to Zandio and Stephen l, toughie saved for while Mama Bee has her hair do.

  18. If one interprets 8d the way I did, making an anagram out of “steps” with “hot steel” you get the superb answer “spotless teeth”. This didn’t make much sense so I eventually worked out what it should be, and I’d like to make a slight correction tp our guide’s solution – it isn’t an anagram of hot steel inserted into the word for steps, is the word for steps followed by the anagram..But who am I to quibble, you all do an amzing job – and Zandio, more anagrams like Spotless Teeth please.

    1. I got the answer to 8 down immediately and assumed it was a simple anagram. Later when trying to parse it I struggled a bit. I thought the steps might be a stile but I’d spent a little time at it and life’s too short to bother. A full grid is a full grid and that is good enough for me

      1. You always say that, Miffypops – “a full grid is a full grid”. Therefore, I assume your whole life is a full grid. :good:

  19. Thanks for telling me how I got 19a – I never notice the figures in the clues so it was just a bung in really So I won’t mention 10 in case it looks like a spoiler. Good fun puzzle though which I enjoyed. Decided to have a go at making dolmas for the picnic as our vine leaves are extra good this year. Wish I hadn’t started, what a palaver, taking hours and think I may have torn the blasted leaves moving them from boiling to cold water. Thought I would stop and come and annoy everyone here but thanks to Zandio for another gem and for Stephen L. Didn’t notice the reverse lurker in 12a!

    1. I had the same experience when I first made spring rolls, Manders. Filo pastry all over the place, bean sprouts, prawns, bamboo shoots and chopped meat in the dog. Water everywhere! The few I managed to make blew up in the fryer!

      Happily, I now have the knack and make them regularly so keep practicing the dolmas. :grin:

      1. I have literally just finished stuffing snd rolling them but still have to cook them and I think they might unravel. I’ve enough filling to change to samosas which I am quite nifty at making,just add a bit of curry powder for a bit of oomph! I think I need some oomph now.

  20. Another excellent bit of Friday fun, Zio. Thank you.

    However, I need to point out in the quick crossword that 18a is no longer a country.

    The Greeks were fed up with the world thinking that Alexander the Great came from said country. So, it has recently been changed with the word North preceding it.

    The Czech Republic and Cape Verde are also on their way out, changing to Czechia and Cabo Verde.

    Here endeth the geography lesson.

    Queenie has got two more years to beat Louis Quatorze’s reign to top the list.

    Go Betty baby!

    1. Quick Crossword 30,004.

      18a Castle ditches (5)

      Are we geographically on the same page?

      1. Oops!

        I cut out the quickie crosswords for my daughter as she wants to get into crosswords.

        We were just looking at one from earlier in the week.

        Huge apologies, Zio, and thank you, Jepi.

        Always check things, GordonG.

        Here endeth the lesson pour moi.

        Doh! 😖

      1. I suppose we should be grateful that he didn’t call it Erdogansville, Erdogania or Erdoganistan

  21. Late coming to this as the village had a Jubilee tea party aimed primarily at young families although fortunately there was a beer tent for adults, hence the slow solve. Good fun though, so thanks to Zandio and SL.

  22. I also really struggled with this, but it’s Friday. Favourite was 12a because I have two and it took me ages to see it. Thanks to Zandio and SL.

  23. A tad easier than the usual Friday fare for me, but it needed two dibs, most went in with the toast at breakfast, the balance in garden sunshine at lunchtime. 14a was straightforward from the wordplay but I thought bitter was a bit of a stretch (well, that’s what setters do ain’t it!)
    Thanks to Zandio (appreciate the visit) for the puzzle and SL for a fine blog.

  24. Into *** time with this one largely down to 4 stubborn blighters that wouldn’t yield without a fair bit of head scratching – not sure why as none particularly difficult. Enjoyed the puzzle & particularly 21a plus 3&18d.
    Thanks to Zandio (would’ve loved to have seen Hendrix) & to Stephen.

    1. Just read SL’s review & realised I’d parsed the last 2 letters of 19a incorrectly – def my favourite.

  25. Late to the game today and found this challenging, I think my brain works worse the later in the day it gets. Anyway, I got there in the end and enjoyed the challenge, nothing obscure just some thinking required.
    Thanks to Zandio and Stephen

  26. Only done today after watching the service and then going out for the day. Some great clues. Like others did not understand the last two letters of 19a. The Vs as first letters helped with solVing but I would quibble with 5d. Hamlet and Village are not synonyms in my book.thanks Zandio and Stephen. Will embark on today’s later.

  27. 4*/4*….
    liked 5D “Hamlet exhibits delay in rotten setting (7)”…kept thinking that Denmark must be involved somehow.

  28. This would have been a lot easier if I had chosen CODEwords instead of PASSwords. grrr

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