DT 30016 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30016

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30016
Hints and tips by Miffypops with a bit of help from StephenL
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Miffypops Rating – Difficulty Last nights beer had an effect – Enjoyment I enjoy them all, ish. This was a delight 

Beavers rating (I think he liked it) Difficulty ******Enjoyment *****

Good Morning from the bottom of the barrel we now live in. The sun is shining and the sun has got his hat on. The weekend began last night with a vengeance and will continue until it finishes on Wednesday night. Deep Threat is giving it large over in France and like it or not, I’m sitting in for him today. Cowabunga. Let’s go. One two three four


1ac. Seaman, getting posted, didn’t like being miles away (6-6)

ABSENT MINDED:  Our usual able bodied seaman is followed  by a synonym of the word posted. That is your first word sorted. You second word is  clued by the words ‘didn’t like’ Well soldier on buckos. Checkers will come to your rescue as they did to mine

8ac.   I chose to dance with cool theatrics (3,4

ICE SHOW:  An anagram (to dance) of I CHOSE is followed by an abbreviation of the word with

9ac.   Was creeping amphibian picked up by rubbish dump? (7)

TIPTOED:  A homophone (picked up) based on a froglike amphibian (doncha just love the one in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In the Willows) follows a type of rubbish dump usually provided for free by your local council. Ours is a godsend. Less so now but when we gutted our house a couple of years ago the facility was free so no skips needed. I did wreck our brand new Lexus though

11ac. Extinct creature with no tail found in Asian lake (4,3)

DEAD SEA:  A synonym of the word extinct  is followed by an aquatic mammal minus its last letter.

12ac.   Typical course to eat in (7)

ROUTINE: This course is the way you might use to travel between two places. It eats the word IN from the clue

13ac. Eggs on lamb meat? Use only occasionally! (5)

ABETS:  The answer is found using the alternate letters of several consecutive words in the clue. Which words?  I hear you ask. Other bloggers might tell you an some might even embolden the relevant letters. Not me. I think you need to do some of the work

14ac. Firm handle (9)
TRADENAME :  A nice all in one description of a companies title

16ac. They’re slim and healthy and usually long to eat (9)

CUCUMBERS:  A nice description of a salad ingredient that goes well in almost any sandwich. Nurse Ninepence often applies one in bed. Take your minds out of the sewer this minute

19ac. Articulated holiday vehicle’s slower (5)

BRAKE:   A homophone (articulated) clue. The device that slows a vehicle down sounds like a word used to describe a holiday

21ac. English bishop maintaining the old- fashioned line in facial hair (7)

EYEBROW:  The abbreviations for English and Bishop surround an old fashioned word meaning the. A line follows.

23ac. Celebrating, but not about to get lively (7)

ROUSING:  Remove the Latin abbreviation for about or circa from a word meaning the activity of drinking alcohol and enjoying oneself with others in a noisy, lively way

24ac.  Sounds echoed, drowning start of scheduled meeting

SESSION: Echoed here appears to be a reversal indicator. Reverse a sound and insert the initial letter of the word scheduled

25ac Disappointment seeing coverage given to duck after umpire’s verdict (3-4)

LET DOWN:   A nice misdirection here with ‘duck’ being a cricketing term and an umpire being a cricket referee. This umpire sits on a high chair and officiates over tennis matches. His verdict is made when the servers serve hits the net. That is the first word of the answer sorted. The second word is what a duck or any other bird is naturally covered in.
If we have a referee in soccer and an umpire in tennis, what do we have in bowls ….. Goldfish

26Ac. Article in bowl meets Dad’s taste for a snack (6.6)

DANISH PASTRY:  The bowl you eat cereal from contains a two-letter article of speech. This is followed by a plural term of affection for your dear old dad and a three- letter taste or attempt



1d. Ordinary  street — half getting kicked out over rave (7)

AVERAGE: Half of a tree lined street is followed by a verb meaning rave or rant angrily

2d. I text in support of reduced school breaks (7)

SCHISMS:   The letter that looks like the number one is followed by the abbreviation for short message service (text)  together they follow an abbreviation for school

3d.   City‘s young line-up with core of talent (9)

NEWCASTLE:  A three letter synonym of the word young is followed by the line up of actors in a play and the central two letters of the word talent

4d. Test for a van, maybe, or car? (5)

MOTOR:  The Ministry of Transport vehicle test is followed by the word OR from the clue

5d. Writer’s uplifting music for ‘Heavenly Body‘ (7)

NEPTUNE:  Reverse  an ink filled writing implement and add a piece of music

6d. A quote about bull overturning rare china possibly (7)

EXOTICA:  Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a verb meaning to quote. Insert a term for a beast of burden. Reverse what you have

7d. Prison lookouts who aim to catch those taking flight? (12)

BIRDWATCHERS:  Begin with a four letter term used by some to describe a prison. Add a word meaning onlookers, spectators or lookouts. The whole clue is a cryptic definition of twitchers

10d. Eileen signed to spruce up train driver? (6,6)

DIESEL ENGINE: Anagram (to spruce up) of EILEEN SIGNED

15d. A large land-locked land (9)

AUSTRALIA:  Insert the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for large into another country

17d. Place with extremes of temperature, the Spanish Main (7)

CHELSEA:  The two extremes of temperature are hot and cold. Placed in the right order they are followed by the Spanish word for the and a watery main

18d. Alcohol is essential to free-form art in Iceland (7)

MARTINI: This clue has no instructions. There isn’t anything you can use to start a reasoning process. Therefore look for a lurker. Actually the words ‘is essential to’ should alert you to the lurkerish nature of this clue

19d. Little creature fed up with cat’s tail crushing it (4,3)

BLUE TIT: A word meaning fed up, sad, or down in the dumps is followed by the last letter of the word cat and the word IT from the clue

20d. Somewhat economical. I’m on yield-based split payment

ALIMONY: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word somewhat. In 1978 this singer embarked on a world tour which became known as the ALIMONY tour as it was rumoured he needed the money to pay off his ex wife.

22d. One raises hearts after success with clubs (5)

WINCH:  Begin with a three-letter synonym of success or triumph. Add the abbreviation for clubs and the abbreviation for hearts

Crossword solving the MP way

However uninterested your partner or children are in cryptic crosswords,

However good or bad they are with words,

However annoying it may be,

They just might see that last answer you have been chasing for hours

So suck it up and ask them. There is no shame in asking for help


Quickie Pun





Muscle strain


55 comments on “DT 30016
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  1. Very enjoyable Zandio (I’d be amazed if it wasn’t) offering.
    I’ve got ticks all over the grid but I think it’s hard to look beyond 1a as favourite (though all four perimeter clues were great)with 9&21a plus 2d making up the numbers.
    Many thanks to the setter and MP for his top review and “double duty”.

  2. Cowabunga indeed, that was a cracking puzzle. At first pass after the top and side frames I thought I’d started the Toughie in error, but was mightily relieved when it started to fall into place. I would have found it almost a * quicker had I not biffed “searchlights” in 7d as the second clue to be completed. What a doofus. Realsing my error freed the LHS, but what a great challenge that puzzle turned out to be, with red herrings a plenty.

    Smiled broadly at 16a when that PD’d, with Hon Mentions to 9a, 26a, 7d and 19d; COTD 6d (LOI).

    2.5* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the Setter (Zandio?) and of course to Miffypops – hair of the dog time?

    1. We are off to a garden centre as soon as I am satisfied with today’s blog. There may be beer in the sunshine on the way home

  3. On first pass, I had two answers and thought, ‘Uh Oh, I’m in trouble.’ But then those two begot a few more and, even though it took me into **** time, I happily finished in the wee hours back down in the corner I began with, my last two being 19a & 19d. But what joy betwixt and between, with 1a, 2d, & 6d winning honours at the top, and 7d, 17d, & 19d scoring big farther down. Still unsure about the parsing of 24a, but this was a fascinating puzzle, which overcame my sluggishness because it was so very different, and. well, Cowabunga! Thanks to MP again today and Xandio, if it is indeed he. **** / ****

    1. Aha, got it. In 24a, ‘echoed’ is used as a reversal indication–a first for me, very clever. Add that one to my list above!

      Another dismal Elgar performance by me. Only half done and that’s with the alms-giving 5 letters. Will I ever complete an Elgar in this lifetime? Is there a cruciverbal heaven? Or maybe a limbo?

  4. What a delightful accompaniment for a sunny Shropshire morning. I am not sure whether it was a genuinely stiffer challenge or it was just the warmth addling my brain; either way, this was a terrific puzzle with 1a my pick of several worthy contenders.

    Thanks to, presumably Zandio, and MP.

    1. I’m with you all the way YS on this one, just move the scenery to the Kent Downs, this was a cracker which took me forever to complete…….but what a super nut to crack.
      Thanks all round.

  5. Well, I have to admit that this Backpager took longer to solve than yesterdays Toughie- but what a cracker !
    Difficult parsing throughout and it took ages to get a foothold.
    Impossible to pick a favourite and this has to be a ******/*****
    Thanks to our setter and MP for the pics.

      1. Great film. Still remember laughing loudly at the Stonehenge scene … amidst much else!

        “Where the dew drops cry and the cats meow …”

    1. Yes harder than yesterday’s Toughie, but that was actually easier than yesterday’s backpager. I remain confused as to why we are given an extremely difficult cryptic today when there is a Toughie on offer for those who need a more challenging example. Oh well, off to Wordle and Canuckle instead.

  6. Hesitant start then South gradually succumbed but North was a different kettle of fish however did get there in the end. Not sure about 24a clue and
    IMHO 10d spruce up somewhat tenuous. Joint Favs 1a and 26d were both fun to unravel. TVM Zandio(?) – I’m not into identifying setters and MP/StephenL.

  7. Very difficult and I needed many of MP/SL’s hints to parse some of them.it would have been an 2xcellent Toughie and took me all morning, between many other household tasks. 1a qas the best clue. Thanks to MP/SL for the hints Mand to the compiler

  8. After a slow start over coffee, I came to after a sea dip, first of the year. The long perimeter clues were sweet and useful this morning. I failed to get the reverse indicator to parse 24a. And I’m not sure whether to be pleased I didn’t miss something at 16a or feel a little 25a. Many thanks to MP and our setter.

  9. Too difficult for me and I needed MP’s excellent hints a great deal. So today’s and yesterday’s are not my best attempts but they do fall on a Thursday and a Friday when cryptics are supposed to harder.

    Not to worry – tomorrow being another and all that. :grin:

    Thank you Zandio for the beating. Huge thanks to Miffypops for supplying me with the crutches to help me stagger over the line.

  10. Jet washed the patio and outdoor furniture and then, too hot, had a good go at this. Wow – got about half in before I gave up and sought MP’s help. Saint Jane (yes there are other saints MP – and with many similar traits) wants me to repaint the outdoor furniture when the sun has reached over the yardarm. Very good crossword though and agree that 1a was a standout – thanks MP and setter.

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

  12. Took me a bit longer than I expected but at least it was doable not like the Toughie . There were several good clues here but my runaway favourite was 1a

  13. Many thanks Zandio for making me really work hard on this. First pass only yielded 18d (alcohol does beckon) but I took a bet on 1a and things began to fall into place. When you set the puzzle you didn’t know it was going to be 34 degrees here in Cambridge so I forgive you. Thanks to MP/SL for some explanations – cowabunga now added to my vocabulary with Gollybongs. Cinema night tonight in The Hall we are watching The Last Bus – doors and windows wide open. Hope I stay the course!

  14. Miffy I think on 11a you mean a synonym of extinct, thanks for the hints I needed them today. Thanks also to the setter.

  15. First glance, this is going to be difficult.
    But eventually after starting in the SE, ploughed steadily to completion in 3* time.
    Four brilliant contenders for top spot, 1 and 21a and 17 and 19d.
    And the winner is 17d.
    Many thanks, indeed, Zandio, for a very enjoyable challenge and thanks Miffypops.

  16. What a delight. Best of the week for me. I seemed to be right on the wavelength today and motored through this before coming to a grinding halt with 6d and 14a defeating me until electronic help came to my rescue.
    Lots of great clues – 24a 25a 15d 17d on the podium. Not convinced 16a really works but obvious from the checkers.
    Many thanks to Zandio and MP

  17. Yikes, that was a tough back pager I thought. Struggled with well over half the clues.
    Started in the SE and gradually … as in slowly … moved through the grid.
    4*/3* today.
    Podium candidates include 1a, 9a, 3d, 5d & 20d with winner 1a

    Thanks to Zandio and to MP/StephenL

  18. This defeated me but I gave it a good go, and as ever was very grateful for the explanations. Three gripes: why should a cucumber be defined as slim? Compared to what? A marrow? And Bird is slang for prison time not prison. And is young really a logical synonym for new? Still, tomorrow is another day,

  19. Wow that was hard and thoroughly enjoyable but all done and parsed. Most satisfying. Favourite was 24a. Thanks to Zandio and MP.

  20. Oops, my comment seems to have vanished. Anyway I enjoyed this a lot and managed to finish unaided – NE corner held out the longest and I had to write 7d horizontally to solve it and that is my COTD. Thanks to Zandio and to MP for the hints despite the hangover.

  21. First glance – difficult. Second look – extremely difficult. Third examination – I have better things to do.

    1. Don’t be too disheartened by these observations, Zio. I’m a huge fan as are many people, clearly.

      It’s impossible to nail 28 to 30 clues, week in, week out. No one ever does.

      Some of your clues are genius, eg 1a – brilliant. Truly, brilliant.

      You are making a lot of people very happy.

      1. Your reply interpreted as “forget about the old fogeys, the crossword is for the enjoyment of us brainiacs, let them eat cake.” Maybe Dansword helped you a bit?

        1. Exactly. Not content with having a Toughie provided for the truly clever folks, it is sad when the backpager is hijacked leaving a disappointing puzzle for those who like to solve unaided.

          1. Not too sure about the “truly clever folk,” but I’ll let that rest.

            Now, you chaps, be careful about excommunication … it’s too late for me, Big Massa took care of mine by messing up my brain!

  22. This was a stinker. But other than 6d for which I needed help, I did actually solve it. It took a long time, though , with breaks to get the shopping and clean out the under sink cupboard. It helps to have a break.

    Thanks to MP and to Zandio.

    Up here in Angus , or Agnus as the DT spells it, we have none of your heatwave……distinctly cool for the time of year with a blustery wind and occasional showers ….all of which I kind of prefer to a heatwave. It’s easy to put on a jumper.

  23. What an odd puzzle. Although it didn’t take too long to complete I failed to understand more than half the very tricky clues.
    Not one of my favourites, very few elegant clues, just very tricksy. A bit of a stinker probably best left for the Toughie.
    Thx for the hints
    Not sure what all the fuss is about the weather, a very pleasant 20oC in Northumberland.

    1. Well done Brian an intelligent and considered critique of the puzzle, just goes to show you don’t need to slag it off to get your message across👏

  24. What a cracking puzzle and another school day filled with lessons about subterfuge and misdirection, and without the hints n’ere a Scooby in many parts. Pushed into three attempts and in the death the Speckled Hen lined up the gray matter. DNF but still enjoyable.
    Thanks MP and the setter

  25. A dnf thanks to 14a and 6d. The 6d clue above has less text than the paper version – I presume that is an omission.

    14a must be in the BRB as one word but I have only ever know it as two words. The Internet seems to agree. It appears we are both wrong.

    Thanks to all.

  26. Late finish today, I am still getting in the routine of being a working man again.
    After telling Mama Bee about all the positives of having cataracts from all you good folk she has Finally agreed to have the worst one seen too. I have a small bet with Sister Bee that she will have the bandage off for about 24 hours before demanding the other one be done. I just hope that when she has them both done she doesn’t want her driving licence back!
    Anyway to the crossword. Did anyone else go with the Aral Sea as a first stab? They keep finding new dinosaurs and an Aralosaur is a good enough name for one imo. Thanks to MP And SL for helping and thanks also to Zandio.

  27. Cracking puzzle & pretty exacting for a back pager. Toss up between 1a&7d as my pick but loads of ticks elsewhere. Great day at Centurion where the ladies took well over 6 hrs to complete in baking but breezy conditions. Highlight a brief conversation with Gary Player who, when I told him his course at Sun City was too tough, he accurately replied that it was because I was probably a lousy golfer…
    Thanks to Zandio & Miff.

  28. Thanks to the setter. Totally beyond me. Might as well have been a Toughie. Needed 12 hints to finish. Not much enjoyment.

  29. 15d has to be the most succinct clue ever set! Made me sit back in awe of the setters grey matter 🤪 well done all ****/****

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