DT 30012 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30012

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30012

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where we have been experiencing a fairly cool, wet start to June. Yes, its me back again, filling in while pommers attends to some other matter.

I found the puzzle to be situated toward the easier end of the difficulty spectrum. However, composing the review seemed more of a chore than usual. I think if the clues are fairly straight forward, it is hard to write hints that aren’t more complex than the clues themselves.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Inferior player in British pub knocked over Italian (6)
RABBIT — a reversal of the single letter for British and another name for a pub is followed by an abbreviation for Italian

5a   Meddling type engaged by organised unit (8)
BUSYBODY — string together engaged or occupied and a group of people regarded as a single unit

9a   Clumsily, I step on it, a popular seasonal plant (10)
POINSETTIA — anagram (clumsily) of I STEP ON IT A

10a   Tender saying heard (4)
SORE — sounds like (heard) a saying or maxim

11a   Raised voice in argument after short trip (8)
FALSETTO — a (3-2) argument or fight following a trip or stumble missing its final letter (short); here’s an example

12a   Fodder I left is stored by wise man (6)
SILAGE — I from the clue and L(eft) inside a wise man

13a   Article on the subject of American region (4)
AREA — a charade of an indefinite article, a preposition denoting on the subject of, and an abbreviation for American

15a   Senior politician, Independent, entering cathedral (8)
MINISTER — insert the single letter for Independent into a cathedral typically found in Northern England

18a   Jokes about youth leader in right clothes for a special occasion (4,4)
GLAD RAGS — wrap jokes or tricks around a male youth and the initial letter of right

19a   Atmosphere created by girl heading off (4)
AURA — a girl’s name missing its initial letter

21a   Almost spear a type of antelope (6)
IMPALA — a verb meaning to spear or stab and the A from the clue

23a   Second tout in court (6-2)
RUNNER-UP — a tout or person engaged in the solicitation of business followed by a word meaning appearing in court

25a   Thought of model endlessly (4)
IDEA — model or best possible without its final letter

26a   Character from Côte-d’Or? (10)
APOSTROPHE — a character used for punctuation is hidden in the French department

27a   Climbing plant in variety of climates (8)
CLEMATIS — anagram of (variety of) the final word of the clue

28a   Shed tears after public protest (6)
OUTCRY — another word for shed tears following public or generally known


2d   A capital city (not European) with a distinctive smell (5)
AROMA — the first A from the clue, a capital city that is, in fact, European from which the single letter for European has been removed, and the second A from the clue

3d   Stall supporting group that might be on the prom? (9)
BANDSTAND — a stall or booth following (supporting in a down clue) a group of musicians

4d   Deal with leader in Yemen, making pact (6)
TREATY — to deal with or take care of and the initial letter of Yemen

5d   Vegetables grow rapidly nursed by pantomime character (6,9)
BUTTON MUSHROOMS — to grow rapidly or proliferate contained in (nursed by) a liveried pageboy from a Cinderella pantomime

6d   Name boy in ‘Loot’ in final performance (8)
SWANSONG — place the abbreviation for name and a male child in a slang term for loot or stolen goods

7d   Found up in Ullapool is a bitter herb (5)
BASIL — a lurker hiding in (found … in) and reversed (up in a down clue) four words from the clue

8d   Awfully rude urge I suppressed, as required by etiquette (2,7)
DE RIGUEUR — an anagram (awfully) of RUDE URGE enveloping (suppressed) the I from the clue

14d   Character, fashion legend, principally, is a person to emulate (4,5)
ROLE MODEL — a character who may be in a theatrical production, a fashion or style, and the initial letter of legend

16d   Second attack involving head whipping boy (9)
SCAPEGOAT — link together S(econd) and a (2,2) expression meaning attack; then wrap the result around a geographical head

17d   Visual impairment causing fall? (8)
CATARACT — double definition, the second a water feature

20d   Two cardinals making a couple of punches together? (3-3)
ONE-TWO — one cardinal number after another

22d   Anxiety shown by member touring LA (5)
ALARM — an anatomical member wrapped around LA

24d   That woman supporting American court official (5)
USHER — an objective pronoun for that woman following another term for American

I’ll give special mention to 17d as I have recently had both of my eyes operated on for said visual impairment.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): WRIST + HOARD = RESTORED

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : SCORE + PAEAN = SCORPION

80 comments on “DT 30012
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  1. 1*/3.5*. This was very light and good fun, but it was a bit of a shame that we had to play guess a girl in order to parse 19a.

    23a was the one which took the longest to parse and was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    1. Good afternoon RD.

      Do I assume that a compiler loses points for ‘Guess the capital’ (see 2d) as well as ‘Guess the name’ or is that different?

      There are almost 30 capitals that have five letters or fewer. So, they often appear in crosswords.

      Over the years, I have seen people comment about ‘Guess the name’ but they never mention another big category like ‘Guess the capital, ‘Guess the US state abbreviation’ or ‘Guess the country’.

      I appreciate, as always, that our tick lists for what makes a good crossword clue vary.

      I’m just curious.

      1. Good point, G273. Nebulous boys, girls, cities, trees, etc. have never bothered me – nor most setters, editors, solvers and bloggers. I can’t see how 19a involves any guesswork – the girl virtually leaps off the page and signs her name for you! Hope you get a good explanation.

          1. I agree 100%. Particularly in today’s examples. Think synonym for atmosphere (and distinctive smell ) and you are there. Well I was after I stopped trying to fit an E into Odour! I had more trouble with 20d and the repetition of two.

            1. Is that the reputation he has?

              For a man who contributes a lot to the blog, I am surprised.

              Thanks for the heads-up.

              I am now exhaling.

              1. Good morning, Gordon. I too am surprised by that reputation and am sorry for the delay in replying. I have recently had much less time to spend in the world of crosswords so my contributions have recently been fewer and briefer.

                I single out male and female names because rightly or wrongly it seems to me that there are so many more of them. This sort of issue is very much a personal opinion and Senf is probably right when he likens me to Don Quixote. Some setters use this device frequently and some never do. Very occasionally there is a justifiable brilliance – e.g,: the peerless “Two girls, one on each knee”.

                Several setters are very adept at qualifying names, e.g. “little woman” = Jo, Beth, Amy or Meg; etc. I have two friends who set crosswords for national newspapers and they agree with me – although they may well do that just to shut me up. :wink:

                I have the greatest admiration for all crossword setters and I know I do not have the skill needed to produce one myself, so I don’t want this to be seen as criticism, perhaps just a gentle nudge in the right direction.

                1. Understood.

                  There are certainly quite a few short female names as there are US state abbreviations which can make it a challenge. Does that get a ‘Grr’ from you too?

                  I’m glad that you were surprised of the reputation Senf was referring to as my experiences of talking to you very much suggests otherwise.

                  Patella is in the pantheon.

                  A beaut 💪

                  1. Not quite sure why but US State abbreviations have never bothered me. Perhaps its because there is a clearly defined albeit large number of them.

                    P.S. It wasn’t Senf’s reference to my reputation. I’m quite taken with being likened to Don Quixote.

                    1. Forgive me, Senf. I meant Merusa.

                      Maybe countries and capitals that have, say, six letters or fewer, don’t wind people up so much as the combination of letters in their names are rarely seen inside words.

                      Hoo nose.

          1. Your first attempt to post this comment went into moderation due to an error in the email address. I have deleted it as you later reposted an identical comment using the correct email address.

      2. As I said in ST 3099 on March 14, 2021 – RD is our Don Quixote and one of his windmills is ‘guess a girl’s name.’

        How would you like to be described?

  2. Very enjoyable indeed. 1a got the puzzle off to a cracking start, it’s joined on the podium by 11a&16d.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon

    Alternative Laura

  3. It was a straightforward puzzle with a few awkward clues and like RD, I found 19a difficult to guess. I thought 5d, my COTD, was very good fun with 26a, 6d and16a as runners up. Many thanks to the compiler and to Falcon for the hints.

  4. A good Monday challenge to start the week. A little more in it to think about than the usual Campbell fare, I felt, which adds to the enjoyment factor. Generally smooth surfaces, and a good variety of clues with no one type out of proportion (unlike yesterday’s backpager). Ticks afterwards to 15a, 19a, 21a and 25a; 6d, 16d and 17d (chestnut or not), with COTD to 11a.

    1.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  5. I had no idea of the term in 1a. Once I got that from the hints everything seemed to fall into place . So, thank you Falcon.

  6. Enjoyable puzzle.
    Vowed never again to be defeated by 26a and I wasn’t this time.
    Top marks to 11a.
    Last in 19a, one of those pesky 5 letter clues which even with 2 checking letters I spend too much time on.
    So, just 2*/****.
    Many thanks, Campbell and Falcon.

  7. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: But, I did think that Campbell had ‘upped the ante’ a little, especially in the Quickie and I will pass on commenting on 19a.

    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 23a, and 17d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  8. I was going well until … 26a. Still have no idea where this comes from, unless … surely not that simple… must be I suppose.

    Apart from that, I steady solve. COD, probably 5d.

  9. No real problems although I did have a practise run at 8d before entering it in the grid – words don’t look quite the same when you have to enter them lengthwise!
    No contest for favourite – 5d gets my vote.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

  10. 19a was a bit of a tombola but a lovely Monday crossword. I particularly enjoy Campbell’s puzzles as I rack up enough checking letters from the ‘easier’ clues to help me unravel the rest.
    Meanwhile, (here we go again) looks like England are doing everything they can to get themselves out early this morning…

    Thanks to Campbell and The Falconidae Of Ontario

  11. Pleasantly straightforward for a Monday morning, with the excellent 5d taking the honours. No real dramas, just a good steady solve.

    My thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  12. Kept calm and carried on with this relatively straightforward exercise which was devoid of hiccups. NW was trickiest corner. Expected comment from RD re 19a which had no clever parsing and I too had reservations there. Loot didn’t occur to me in 6d bung-in. Fav was 18a. Thank you Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Your comment went into moderation because of a typo in you e-mail address, ‘O’ instead of ‘I’ in third letter of surname!

      Fixed (or should it be Foxed)!

      1. Thanks for fixing/foxing it for me – my email address doesn’t in fact contain my surname! Don’t know why I have often to fill in name/email details these days.

        1. Angellov,

          Mr K offered a suggestion last week (I can’t get the link to work so I’ve copied and pasted the comment):

          ” I suspect that what has caused these recent issues is that in mid-April some browsers, including Chrome, started defaulting to requesting secure encrypted connections to websites. This site now uses secure connections for almost everything, but there are still a few bits that need to be upgraded.

          Try connecting here with http://bigdave44.com (and not https://bigdave44.com) to see if that fixes the issue for you.

          Another thing to check, if you want your details remembered, is to make sure that your browser is not using a private or incognito mode.”

          1. The sign in problem was there earlier today but now normal service has been resumed without me doing anything.

  13. A solid **/*** with some nice hidden phrases as in 11a. I was lucky not to have to plough through all the Capitals mentioned above as the answer sprang to mind straight away. My favourite was the old regular 26a. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell for the fun.

  14. A pleasant diversion for a Monday morning. Dividing 5d into (5, 8) stumped me for a while. I still don’t understand 26a even with the hint. My COTD is 16d.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and Falcon for the hints.

      1. Thank you, Falcon – I now see it and have to admit I have been caught out by this use of “character” before.

    1. Was I alone with premature self congratulations 👏 for inserting circumflex for 26a? Thankfully, Miffypops’s mantra about the checkers rescued the situation pretty quickly.

  15. Despite having never heard of the ‘player’ in 1a or the vegetables (or the pantomime character) in 5d (I’ve been stranded on a desert island my whole life, it appears), I managed to finish this nice little Monday offering without any outside aid. I was just very lucky. I especially liked 6d, 8d, & 23a. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. 2*/3*

    1. Robert – hello – having played cricket to a poor level in my younger days, I know that a 1a is a slightly rude term awarded to players that come in to bat at the end of an innings. They are selected for their bowling skills and in terms of batting often just make up the numbers.
      Like a ‘1a caught in the headlights’ would describe a nervous individual who is alarmed at the prospect of a cricket ball hurtling towards him or her at 80 mph.

      1. Thanks, Terence. I’ve tried to think of a baseball equivalent, but I can’t recall one. I’m sure, though, that there just be, rather like ‘bottom of the lineup’ for the 9th batter on a roster.

        1. oops…my vision again: ‘must’, not ‘just’ (‘there must be’ such a term, but I still can’t think of one). Anyway, I love Mustafa’s ‘ferret’!

      2. I cannot recall exactly where (probably TMS) or when, but I once heard a player coming on at the end of his team’s innings described as being “the ferret”: – such a poor batsman that he went in after the rabbits.

    2. You must have seen or heard of Buttons in Cinderella when in England! The answer to this is « Oh no I didn’t »

  16. Nice to have a bit of time to tackle them today at a reasonable hour. Both equally enjoyable & pretty straightforward though I wasn’t familiar with the Manchester rock band in the bonus puzzle. Suspect I may well have misspelled 8d (2nd U) without the aid of the fodder. 16d my pick.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  17. Nice gentle start for a Monday. 2*/3*
    Favourites include 6a, 18a, 28a, 5d & 16d with winner 5d

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  18. Like a few others 1a was new to me but bunged in anyway. 19a didn’t cause me any problems as I thought of the word straight away and matched it to the girls name after. I was doubtful of 20d as the word two was in the clue and it seemed too obvious. Needed to confirm 23a by the hint so can’t really claim this as a victory, good fun though. Thanks to all.

  19. A DNF for me, unusual to be on a different wavelength on a Monday. I could not guess the girl or the atmosphere, despite the checkers. I have met some lairy girls (and boys) but apparently that won’t do. Many thanks Falcon, needed you to deconstruct 16d, and Campbell.

  20. Who’s JB? He or she is listed in the comments up to the right but the link does not work. I can’t see a “JB” in the comments above. :scratch:

    1. Steve,
      You are correct, at the time I also noticed that the comment didn’t appear and the link didn’t work. However, the comment is now present and the link does work. Gremlins at play?

      1. Jose,
        Your comment went into moderation for no discernible reason. Apparently the gremlins are still active.

        1. Thank you, F. But I spotted your 4.57 comment just after I posted and requested deletion of my reply to SC. Then, the gremlins must have got involved.

  21. A bit of a mixed bag today, and 1a was new to me. A few clues definitely needed teasing out. But thanks for the enjoyment to Campbell and Falcon.

  22. I also have never heard 1a applied that way (couldn’t find any reference to that use on-line) but thought it must be thus because of the parsing. Played plenty of sports over the years but not bat and ball games, so that must be it.
    Apart from that, very satisfying, with my COTD being 26a because of the excellent misdirection, I thought, to the other “character,” what with it being the same number of letters and (usually) French; also my “Doh!” moment of the day. (DMOTD?!)

  23. All slotted together nicely this morning, a good challenge to start the week.
    I’ll go for 19a as my favourite as it’s my wife’s name
    Thanks to all

  24. Mixed bag of clues for this week’s starter, all with sufficient wordplay to enable me to parse the whole grid without recourse to checkers, which is something of a first. Spent a little while looking for both parts of the pantomime character’s name in 5d before the penny fell into the piggy bank.
    Thanks to Campbell for the fun puzzle and Falcon for helping those needing tips.

  25. Enjoyed this although I thought 9a was going to lead to a dnf. It suddenly came to me, so this plant must have crossed my path before.

    19a was my penultimate solve, resorting to going through the alphabet for each possible combination. As u is the last vowel, that took a bit of time. Kicking myself for not getting this more easily.

    1a is new term – I thought I had got to grip with most of the cricketing terms.

    The fall meaning of 17d was also new to me too.

    One of the words in the 20d clue being in the answer threw me for a moment, but it had to be that answer.

    Thanks to all.

  26. Just completed the prize cryptic 712. Very enjoyable and a tad easier than the back pager IMHO
    Favourites 8a, 12a, 25a, 8d & 13d with winner 8d
    Lots of great clues and lots of fun.

    Thanks to Campbell

  27. Although I found this hard for a Monday at least this wasn’t Friday standard, so thank heavens for small mercies. I found 20d a bit odd. COTD was 8d despite my lack of foreign language skills I’d heard of this. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  28. I’ve been labouring under the delusion, apparently, that names are not allowed in the daily as parts of clues, i.e. as bits of subsidiary indication. 19A is surely a transgressor if this is in fact the case, and what possibly made the clue harder is that there are any number of 5-letter girl’s names to hunt through (presumably why the practice was banned in the first place). Pshaw! I think there should be an inquiry immediately! 20D also a bit of a rum ‘un, in what was otherwise a run-of-the-mill very easy Monday puzzle. */** for me I’m afraid.

  29. Another enjoyable Monday crossword – because I could do it with only a little extra help from the excellent hints from Falcon! Also thanks to Campbell. I agree with Jane about the spelling for 8d and I had to write it first before putting it into the grid. My last one in was 28a which I just couldn’t fathom. Have just had to shut my bedroom windows as I’ve just woken up full of hay fever, which is a bit of a shock as I haven’t suffered this badly in years. A search in my medicine cabinet for antihistamine, nasal spray and eye drops has proved useless so I’ll be the first customer at the chemist tomorrow!

  30. Thank you Campbell. Thank you Falcon. Just needed the parsing for 23a although answer obvious. Favourites 11 18 and 26a and 14d. Fun and swift solve.

  31. Thank you for your help, Falcon. This was the first time I had finished a cryptic crossword (with a little help).
    My Dad used to tackle the cryptic crossword whilst watching cricket. I am now following in his footsteps.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Carol and well done.
      Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

  32. Did this overnight on ferry to France. Personally I found it trickier than Saturday which was much easier. Sadly have to wait a week before doing more

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