DT 30020 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30020

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30020

Hints and tips by KiwiColin

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

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Just one Kiwi in the blogging chair this week.

Our procession of violent, wet cold fronts has now moved away and we are back to a much more acceptable type of winter weather. Crisp, frosty mornings preceding calm days with clear, blue skies. We could do with plenty of these.

Logman on Toughie duty today so this puzzle is almost certainly not by Jay.

I suspect that the setter has given us a cryptic signature in 23a.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


8a     Tactic initially used by city group (4)
TRIO: The first letter of tactic and a South American city.

9a See 10 Across

10a & 9 Across     Insensible, riotously enter party venue? (6,3)
NUMBER TEN: Insensible or without feeling and an anagram (riotously) of ENTER.

11a     Boss one prone to social blundering? (6)
GAFFER:  A word that could describe someone making a social indiscretion.

12a     Cambridge college changed meal menu (8)
EMMANUEL: An anagram (changed) of MEAL MENU.

13a      Corrupt Chilean keeps position, shaking trade syndicate (9,6)
HANSEATIC LEAGUE: An anagram (corrupt) of CHILEAN contains position or ‘place to sit’. All this is followed by shaking as a possible symptom of fever.

15a     Staff meeting generates order (7)
MANDATE: Staff or supply workers and an often amorous meeting.

17a     Nice chap conceals weapon in clothing (7)
GARMENT: A general word for a weapon is inside a word for a polite male. (The Nice had me vainly searching for a Frenchman.)

20a     Construction to suddenly crumble for example? (5,10)
SPLIT INFINITIVE: A frowned upon grammatical construction is exemplified in the clue.

23a     Dr No book reworked opening device (8)
DOORKNOB: An anagram (reworked) of DR NO BOOK.

25a     Cheers — one guzzling wallop in South Seas location (6)
TAHITI: The two letter ‘Cheers’ and Roman numeral one surround (guzzling) wallop or thump.

26a     Arduous experience in gold trade (6)
ORDEAL: Heraldic gold and trade or barter.

27a     Blockhead starts to aggravate serious situation (3)
ASS: First letters from three words in the clue.

28a     Fine artist showing African plant (4)
OKRA: Two letters for fine or satisfactory and a Royal Academician.


1d     Perhaps Spanish force maiden into a drama school (6)
ARMADA: A from the clue and a London based drama school contain M(aiden).

2d     Fun with codes cracked, or bewildered? (8)
CONFUSED: An anagram (cracked) of FUN and CODES.

3d     Threesome without end relating in complex way? (7,8)
ETERNAL TRIANGLE: A word meaning ‘without end’ and an anagram (in a complex way) of RELATING.

4d     Complaint the writer intends to raise in sober society (7)
ANAEMIA: A (1,4) way that the writer could say he intends is reversed inside the society that assists people seeking to be sober.

5d     Was it this attracting Beauty to the Beast? (6,9)
ANIMAL MAGNETISM: Another way of describing ‘bestial allure’.

6d     Two articles about male with woman’s name (6)
AMANDA: Two instances of the indefinite article bracket M(ale) plus the most often used conjunction.

7d     Mike joins two Europeans devouring Zulu appetiser (4)
MEZE: The letter represented in radio-speak by Mike with two E(uropeans)s surrounding Zulu in radio-speak.

14d     Rubbish initially carried in one French vessel (3)
URN: The French word for one contains the first letter of rubbish.

16d     Insect losing head sees deadly snake (3)
ASP: Remove the first letter from a stinging, flying insect.

18d     Strikers in this game on TV? (8)
MATCHBOX: Another word for a game or contest and an informal word for a TV set.

19d     Bad rhythm that’s unusual (7)
OFFBEAT: Bad or past its use-by date and rhythm or tempo.

21d     One’s Shakespearean king sent up country (6)
ISRAEL: Roman numeral one with its ‘S and the reversal of the king with daughter problems.

22d     Religious sort to differ about holy books (6)
VOTARY: To differ or make changes contains a collection of biblical texts.

24d     Revolutionary shot sappers, the monster (4)
OGRE: Reverse a shot or turn and then the military regiment that contains sappers.

Lots of ticks but biggest chuckle came from 20a.

Quickie pun    sigh    +    defect    =    side effect

57 comments on “DT 30020
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  1. I had a feeling this was the work of the NY Doorknob long before I got to 23a. Enjoyable while it lasted

    Many thanks to NYDK and Kiwi Colin

  2. Very enjoyable indeed, if a little tricky for a back pager.
    Took me a while to work out how 13a worked, and maybe I’m thick but I found the enumeration of 9&10a somewhat confusing (and how much more can setters wring out of this topic). Small complaints as I really liked 5&21d but runaway winner was the excellent 20a.
    Many thanks to the setter (going for 23a too) and the single K

  3. Fans of mid-thirteenth century, North German seafaring merchants will have enjoyed this crossword.

    *Chris – thanks for asking about Lola – she had her regular check-over from the vet last week, and he pronounced her to be doing very well for a cat of her age (14). The daily steroids have made all the difference in the world to her.

    Thanks to the setter and The OneKay

  4. 2.5**/3.5*. An enjoyable non-Jay puzzle today with a few tricky parts to negotiate. It had the feel of an NY Doorknob production, which seems to be confirmed by 23a.

    I was going to complain about the 20a in 20a until I solved it, whence it became my favourite.

    Many thanks to NYD and to the solo Kiwi.

  5. A lovely puzzle full of wit and imagination. I am afraid I did laugh at 10/9, even if our beloved rulers now have other fascinations, such as mass deportation and reinterpreting what our human rights might add up to, for example.

    Many podium contenders as usual, if this is indeed NYDK (and I suspect it has to be given 23A), with the amusing 20A topping the list for me. Rather easier than some of his offerings, with only the ‘shaking’ element of 13A requiring a deeper trawl of the grey matter, and so I finished it rather too quickly: the enjoyment ended too soon!

    Thanks to DKNY and the 1K.

  6. I did have to construct 13a the hard way. Whatever memory I have of the trade syndicate was buried too far to be retrieved.
    Quite liked 21d and my favourite was 5d.

    Thanks to Mr Bringloe and to our solo K for the review – is Carole on grandparent duty or gadding with the girls again?

      1. Sorry, Colin, I have several friends called Carol/Carole and I invariably plump for the wrong spelling which must drive them mad!

  7. It is seldom that I fail to complete a backpage puzzle, but 13a was my downfall today; even with all the checking letters, I had no idea what the answer was.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to KiwiColin

    1. If I’ve ever heard of it I’ve forgotten anything about it. Sounds like an early common market to be. If it’s anything like the one we have now it’s best forgotten too

  8. A very enjoyable puzzle as we have come to expect from this setter. Ever since I learnt of he existence of 20 across and failed to understand the concept Ive thought ‘does anybody really give a hoot’? Life’s too short to bother about such things so split away to your heart’s content. Funny how random cities and drama schools are easily tolerated when random boys and girls names provoke comments. We have all heard of the drama school but how many know what the initials stand for? Thanks to the Kiwi flying solo today. Thanks to the little drummer boy too

    1. The Starship Enterprise continues to boldly go where no man has gone cefore, splitting rhem all over the Universe, MP!

        1. And also ending a sentence with a preposition. Tut tut! But witness the clumsiness of “Boldly to go where no man before has gone”.

  9. Blimey, this really was a struggle.
    Completed in a solid 4* time.
    Great misdirections.
    The brilliant 13 and 20a were joint gold medal.
    Last in, the former after much pondering.
    Many thanks, indeed to the setter and to KiwiColin.

  10. Miles of smiles this morning, nearly finished in one sitting. Weirdly held up by 15a and mis-spelling 28a. (Trying to make oc = fine was painful and fruitless.) Favourites 10/9 and 20a. Having conquered The Downs under a cerulean sky, the dingo wants more so we are off for a dip again.

    Many thanks 1K and (presumably) NYDK.

  11. 20a was my top clue from this excellent if quite testing Wednesday puzzle. The 9/10 combination has ceased to make me smile any more as it is beyond parody. Other than that, the grid was a delight to solve on such a sunny day.

    My thanks to NYDK and the lone Kiwi.

  12. Very enjoyable puzzle.
    Beaten by 13a, which was well beyond my GK even with checkers and recognising an anagram was in there.
    Favourite was the 10a & 9a pairing

  13. I wasnt on wVelength this morning and, like Hrothgar, really struggled tofinish this puzzle. I needed two Internet hints and only finished it in the end with a lot of guesswork. I agree with SL about 10/9, it’s all been done to death now and ti.e to mive on. Definitely not my cup of tea. Tha nks to Kiwi Colin for all the much needed hints and to NYD. There were some very clever clues; unfortunately much too clever for me.

  14. I would not have solved 13a in a month of Sundays despite knowing it was a partial anagram and having all the checkers and the second word. Never heard of it so will now have to look it up later. I loved how the setter signed in at 23a but quite a lot of other clues had me 2d. I did bristle slightly at “suddenly crumble” for a brief moment until I realised it was the answer. Very clever and it is my COTD.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for the fun challenge. Thank you, 1K for the hints and pleased to hear your extreme weather has moved on.

  15. 20a as my COTD does it for me too, of course, even though as a professor of English I railed and politicked against it. I didn’t exactly breeze through this one, though I did enjoy the solve. In addition to 20a, my podium welcomes 21d and 28a. Thanks to KiwiColin and to NYD. 2.5* / 4*

    Jay as Logman on very good form in today’s Toughie.

      1. What I meant to say was that I railed against the puritanical prescription against split infinitives. In short, I tried to gently present occasions when such a construction seemed quite effective. Thanks, Mustafa, for making me clarify the ambiguity of my comment. My unfortunate use of ‘it’ (as in ‘against it’) is just, well, beneath me.

      2. All of our lives are too short for such things but for most of us on here I recommend
        Not ironing more than a small number of shirts at a time
        Not starting War and Peace
        Not booking anything more than a fortnight in advance
        Not planting something that will crop next year
        Not starting a college course
        Not starting a savings account

        1. Agree with the last one. When someone tells me they have a very substantial savings account the only response I can think of is to suggest they buy a life or a personality.

          1. I’ve never had a savings plan or savings account but I do have some accumulated wealth which I often wonder about where it came from

      1. Hi, Corky. No, I hadn’t seen your comment about Carr and A Month in the Country until just now. Well, there’s a long story here, but briefly: yes, I read it about five years ago on the advice of my architect friend who lives in Dunfermline, Scotland. And I loved the book, its pastoral kind of restoration, the nobility of Birkin, the special charm of Oxgodby–the whole thing. My friend in Dunfermline actually knew Mr Carr, by the way, and remembers him most fondly. Thanks for thinking of me!

  16. A cracking little puzzle while it lasted this lunchtime. Not a duff clue in sight, just great surfaces with plain and simple witty, clever, clueing.

    20a the COTD but it could have been pipped to the post by a whole number of others – 10a/9a, 11a, 13a, 4d (big smile!) and 18d among them.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks indeed to today’s marvellous and ingenious setter (I’m inclined to agree that it’s NYDK), and to KiwiC for the review.

  17. Well this is supposed to be Jay Wednesday, but this did not feel like a Jay to me. I have an idea as to who it may be, but I’ll see if setter shows up … this one normally does.
    Favourites today include 8a, 9/10a, 20a, 5d & 18d with the winner, with a chuckle, being 18d.
    Did not know the food in 7d.

    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  18. Found this more of a challenge than the toughie today with 13a being my LOI (new one on me) and completely missing the anagram in 3d. Thank yous to Mr 23a for the delectation and to Kiwi Colin for your explanations.

  19. Very enjoyable puzzle for which a few hints from Kiwi Colin were necessary. All round good clueing of which I specifically marked 11a and 5d as worthy of honour with 13 and 20a worthy of mention.

    Thanks to the setter and to Kiwi Colin for the pleasure of fine crosswords on a sunny day.

  20. Not too bad for me today. My little harbour at Cley used to be part of 13a so that was an easy one for me as was Kings Lynn for instance.. Had it not been for a farmer further up the river blocking the river we would now be the size of Lowestoft or Felixstowe. A lot of buildings in the village have Dutch features. Thanks to the setter and One Kiwi – off to a barbeque in a jiffy (a moment, not the bag!)

  21. It was NY23A, the non-Jay, today. Hurray! Bit of a scorcher down here in Bromlay (where people actually pronounce it like that).

    Thanks to The One Kiwi for the great blog, and for the mass of interesting and erudite comments. And while I’m at it, let me also chime in to say how good today’s Toughie is. No losers at The DT.

    Thanks all.

  22. Morning all.
    Feels like a crisp white frost is waiting out there once again. I just hope that I am able to speedily depart on my walk before the sun’s rays manage to warmingly caress the ‘snowdrifts’ at The Point to immediately turn them back into grey sand-dunes.
    Thanks NYDK for all the fun.

  23. Too many trips to Bergen in Norway not to know about 13a.
    I know 20a causes people to spit feathers but does it really matter? I think it adds force to a sentence. There are far worse things than a split infinitive, just ask those who complain about Americanisms in our crosswords!

  24. Half went in without too much trouble, but the rest was a slog, and needed hints. Really dislike partial anagrams. Getting tired of politics cropping up in clues. Come back Jay, all is forgiven. Thanks to setter for the challenge, and to Kiwi Colin.

  25. Very enjoyable solve somewhat spoilt by 13a. Anyone outside Germany who has heard of this needs to get out more.

    Quite possibly one of the most obscure bits of general knowledge I have ever seen. It was also, IMHO, extremely difficult to get from the clue, even with all the checkers. The hint was no use at all.

    Nevertheless, thanks to all.

  26. Thanks to NYD and to Kiwi Colin for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle with some really good clues. Needed the hints to parse 4d, and for the first word of 13a. I’d never heard of it, and couldn’t unravel the wordplay. I liked 10&9a, but my favourite was 5d. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  27. I DNF this morning but decided to have another bash this evening and hey presto I finally got there but I have to admit to a bit of online help en route. Used different holy books in 22d to try and justify vantry (prior to filling in 25a). Liked 10/9a (sorry folks!) but 20d took the biscuit. Thank you NYDK and the solo Kiwi.

  28. Tough but stimulating, got 13a quickly but not sure how – for me it marred the puzzle as too convoluted/obscure….

  29. Spiffing crossword with just a one- off from me – 4d somehow had me thinking along the lines of TT not AA. 13a very clever and having been to Riga the penny eventually dropped with an audible clink. Much enjoyment so ta very much .

  30. No where near completed this as I was distracted by bad news, friend not family. So was on the phone all evening.

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