DT 30021 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30021

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30021
Hints and tips by StephenL
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone from a sunny and warm South Devon.
Some less than obvious synonyms took me into 3* time but as enjoyable as ever.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Dodgy casinos led to being miserable (12)
DISCONSOLATE: Anagram (dodgy) of the following three words

9a Hedge circles complete with hedge (9)
STONEWALL: A synonym of hedge as a verb (prevaricate maybe) goes around (circles) a synonym of complete in the sense of whole plus the abbreviation for With.

10a Coppers in prison cell, half cut (5)
PENCE: A three letter prison (for animals) and the first two letters (half cut) of CELL from the clue

11a Keen to be camping? (6)
INTENT: Split the wordplay 2-4 to see the reference to being under canvas.

12a Renounce Circle Line train (8)
DISCLAIM: A charade of a flat circle, the abbreviation for Line and a synonym of train as a verb

13a Judge good stopping EU over asylum (6)
REFUGE: Start with an informal word for a judge in a sporting sense. Then insert (stopping) the abbreviation for Good into a reversal (over) of EU.

15a Cycle part includes bolts occasionally (8)
ROTATION: Insert the occasional letters of bOlTs into a part or a share

18a Streaking, laughing, following Spurs’ final (8)
SHOOTING: Nothing to do with running naked at a public event! Place a rather quaint synonym of laughing (think owl maybe) after the final letter of Spurs

19a Plug act in cape (6)
SPIGOT: A synonym of act goes inside a geological cape or headland

21a Unusually bathes in drink (8)
ABSINTHE: Anagram (unusually) of the following two words

23a FBI agent, alternatively a gumshoe’s hat? (6)
FEDORA: An informal term for an FBI agent, a two-letter alternative and A from the clue

26a International treaty is optimum (5)
IDEAL: The abbreviation for International and a treaty or agreement

27a Tie given by tasteless spouse (9)
STALEMATE: A synonym of tasteless in the sense of dull or flat and a spouse or partner.

28a Average diner with teatime special (12)
INTERMEDIATE: Anagram (special) of two of the following three words


1d Report vagrant waylaying individual (7)
DOSSIER: Place an informal and politically incorrect word for a vagrant around (waylaying) the abbreviation for International.

2d Left supports socialist’s leader jesting (5)
SPORT: A synonym of left as a noun in a positional sense goes below (supports) the initial letter of the word Socialist. I got this from the wordplay and checkers rather than the definition

3d Public outside nearly until morning? (9)
OVERNIGHT: Place a synonym of public, plain or obvious around an old fashioned synonym of nearly or almost

4d Friend’s revolting make-up (4)
SLAP: Make up here is an informal word for what a lady puts on her face. Reverse some friends or mates

5d Wind swallowing tablet turning sweet (8)
LOLLIPOP: A synonym of wind as a verb goes around or “swallows” the reversal of an informal word for a tablet in the medical sense.

6d Theme or point in conversation, initially (5)
TOPIC: The initial letters of the first five words in the clue, giving an extended definition.

7d Taking part and winning (8)
ENGAGING: A (rather good) double definition, one a verb the other an adjective

8d Some wiser monotony for preacher’s speech (6)
SERMON: Hidden (some) in the clue.

14d Sweetheart’s overly feminine upping pace (8)
FOOTSTEP. Start with a conventional word for sweetheart. Add the possessive S. Add an adverb meaning excessively and finally the abbreviation for Feminine. Reverse the lot (upping in a down clue)

16d Fasten around the woman’s uplifted bust (9)
APPREHEND: Bust here is a verb. A synonym of fasten or attach goes around the reversal of a third person (the woman’s) pronoun

17d Ambushed by lunch as team’s dissolute (8)
UNCHASTE: Hidden in the clue (ambushed by)

18d Constant   interference? (6)
STATIC: Two meanings, one an adjective in the sense of unchanging, the other a noun (think radio)

20d With net, relax, reportedly, on this? (7)
TRAPEZE: A synonym of net in the sense of catch and a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of relax.

22d New York look with new material (5)
NYLON: A charade of the abbreviation for New York, an old fashioned exclamation meaning look and the abbreviation for New

24d Sailor also called foreign port (5)
OSAKA: The abbreviation for Ordinary Seaman is followed by the three letters that mean “also known as”. Good clue

25d Suffering amateur covering Queen (4)
HARM: Place a synonym of amateur (maybe in a dramatic sense) around the abbreviation for the Latin word for queen.

Quicke Pun   More + Cur + Sins = Moccasins?

Great stuff Mr T.
My ticks go to 9a plus 7, 14 & 24d. Which did you like?


70 comments on “DT 30021
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  1. 3*/4*. This was a typically splendid brevity from Mr T.

    According to the BRB the specific meaning of “bust” needed for the definition in 16d is (N.Am).

    10a just noses in front of several contenders as my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL, and a Thursday “hi” to Kath.

    1. But ‘bust’ is shown in the entry for the 16d answer in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary, which does not use any ‘qualifiers’ – does that indicate that it has been accepted into common cruciverbal usage?

      1. The question is:

        How long does an American word or expression need to be in circulation this side of The Pond for RD to give it the thumbs-up?

        My guess is that he will accept these words that originated in America:

        starter (food)

        But maybe not high five or bathrobe (dressing gown) whereas others will.

        When he sees one in a crossword, he must think…..’’Come on reference books, don’t let me down’’

        Either ‘Yippee’’ or ‘’Grrr’’ then follow.

        1. Moose, maize and tobacco probably wouldn’r raise an eyebrow either. I don’t mind unindicated Americanisms in cryptic clues at all, but what does annoy me is when some utterly British contestant on Coundown says: “Can I get a vowel, please”. Now, that is Grrrr-worthy!

      1. Thanks for this, CS. Depressing but thank you.

        I have exorcised the ‘basically, literally, so, obviously’ demons from my children over the years but am struggling to banish ‘gotten’ from one of my sons who can’t stop himself.

        It’s my turn to say ‘Grrr’

        1. Even though ‘gotten’ has been used in England for centuries? The English spoken by the English is often appalling. The letter ‘l’ is being replaced by a ‘w’. A ‘th’ so often a ‘f’. Sadly it seems to me that Americans, even those with only basic education, know when to use ‘me or ‘I’.

  2. Like SL, the less than obvious synonyms had me puzzled for a while but I eventually found a way through and finished it. Ray T was at in more challenging mode today. Thre were some particularly clever anagrams. The best of the clues for me were 28a, 1a and COTD, the super -cynically worded 27a. Thanks to SL for the review and to to Ray T for the brain work-out.

  3. I too was pushed into *** time in this very inventive and often misdirecting little masterpiece, and it took everything I had in me last night to finish unaided but I was quite happy to do so. I agree with SL’s picks, with 14d, my LOI (and COTD), 9a, and 24d taking the big prizes, followed by 18a and 20d winning Clarkies for their amusement factors. Thanks to StephenL and Mr T. *** / ****

  4. Good fun, many thanks to RayT and SL. Favourites 16d (hmmm, RD notes this is American, it hadn’t occured to me but I guess so!) and also agree with SL 7d is indeed “rather good”.
    [Pedants Corner: SL, don’t forget the “with” in 9a, nor the complete sort-of-definition-by-example (Sam Spade?) in 23a]

  5. Mr T a little trickier than he has been of late but as enjoyable of ever – 3*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1d, 3d, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L, and, of course, a shout-out for Kath.

  6. Good puzzle, enjoyably challenging. Was held up in the NE by having pencilled in price for coppers – it works with the word play, though I was pretty sure I was incorrect; in 5d I was trying to read the whole answer in reverse and could not work out where ‘wind’ came into it, until the P D’d. The concise, sharp, clueing really is remarkably consistent – average now below 5 words per clue. And only 3 anagrams – even better! Hon Mentions to 12 & 23a, 14 & 17d; COTD 1d

    2.5* / 3*

    Thank you as ever to RayT, and of course to SL for the blog.

  7. Its the Ray T biweekly’ difficult’ puzzle , a challange indeed and great satisfaction when completed.
    Liked 23d, initally put in Trilby as I remembered the name in a novel-not sure if he was an agent.
    Favourite was 19a followsd by 21a for the surface.
    Going for a ***/****.
    Thanks to SL and our setter-a top notch Quickie too -liked the pun.

  8. The anagrams and lurkers helped to oil the wheels of this ***/**** RayT but it was still a tough proposition and I needed SL’s hints to understand why 25d my LOI was what it was. So many contenders for COTD including 9a, 15a, 3d and 14d. That last one gets it for me. Great stuff and thanks to SL and RayT

  9. Maybe it is because we are getting ready for a long weekend away and have just taken Hudson to kennels but I had to give up on this. Sorry, Ray T – not your fault.

  10. The man of few words delivers another excellent puzzle with a few head-scratching entries to keep us on our toes.
    From amongst a plethora of contenders I picked out 10&27a plus 7d for the honours.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review.

    1. Man of few words is correct, Jane. I believe Mr. T now has no more than 6 words a clue whereas it used to be 7.

      1. When I started being a “hinty person” Ray T was known by some of his trademarks, one was writing short clues – I think it started out as maximum of eight words and has gradually got smaller.

  11. I became rather stuck here and did not complete. Nothing wrong with the crossword – it was simply beyond my reach.

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen.

    A big Thursday shout out to The Lovely Kath

  12. Tricy one this but doable. 23a and 5d made me laugh out loud. Many thanks to Ray T (I am told) and Steve. I’m exhausted after racing round the garden with the Pocket Rocket this morning after Lynn The Foot had done her magic. It’s all go here.

  13. Ray T close to his masterful best with this little gem of a puzzle. I am biased, as I much prefer the conciseness of his clues as opposed to wordier compositions. I think 10a just takes the honours for top spot. Great stuff.

    Thanks to Mr T and SL.

  14. The usual for me with Ray T … always struggle with the clues and parsing. 3*/4*
    Favourites include 15a, 23a, 5d & 7d but no real winner today.
    Found this a struggle, as I said, even though I did this on Wednesday pm with no hints or blog to assist.
    Nice to solve without the hints but the satisfaction was still not there.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

  15. This was tough although finished unaided, with the rider that I still can’t fully parse 9a. Can someone tell me how the third letter of the answer is arrived at please (if that can happen within the rules).
    Many thanks to the setter and Stephen L.

      1. I’ve added the abbreviation for With to the hint, thought I’d done it after Fez’s comment earlier.

      2. Thank you! Got it now. I was thinking ‘new’ for complete, although know that doesn’t really make sense, so my parsing was not very good at all.

    1. Hi Chris,
      Take a 5 letter word meaning to hedge and place it around both a 3 letter word for complete (as ***) and the abb for with.

      Sorry – overlapped in the ether!

  16. What an excellent challenge.
    Reasonably steady progress until halting with 6 to go.
    9, 15, 18 and 19a and 14 and 16d.
    Cracking them put me into a solid 4* time.
    So many brilliant clues.
    9a and 16d joint gold.
    Many thanks Ray T and StephenL.

  17. As usual I found this setter challenging, mildly irritating and in my view an acquired taste for the more accomplished. So jesting now means sport? And hedge apparently means stall? And bust is apprehend? Not sure what my old English master would have said. Nothing printable.

    1. WW. I fully respect your opinion and I generally learned my English in the period 1960 – 1969. But I found the 3 pairs of synonyms perfectly OK (though I my be biased as Ray T is my favourite setter by a long way):

      1. In the sense of fun, joking, jesting.
      2. In the sense of play for time, procrastinate.
      3. In the sense of arrest, apprehend. Originating in the USA, “bust” has been used in the UK with this meaning for decades.

    2. As a fan of this setter I disagree with most of what you say. I think an acquired taste could be dealt with some practice although some don’t care for his style but there’s nothing wrong with a perfect synonym such as ‘hedge’ = ‘stall’.

  18. A slightly more difficult offering today from the master of brevity and the stretchiness of synonyms. Thanks to him and thanks to StephenL. Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff

      1. Pretty cheesed off with things when I spoke with him on Monday. Waiting on an endoscopy but didn’t know when. Pam says she is coping well. Not much I can add really

          1. I asked the same thing to BD’s comment.
            But as he says it is ligament damage I imagine they are poking around in the knee rather than either end.

        1. MP fully agree with you about “the small stuff” and “nitpicking” but isn’t “spoke/speak with” another Americanism now (unfortunately in my opinion) lodged into our vocabulary? Don’t we speak to a person over here? Perhaps you or the grammatically correct bloggers can put me right?

  19. Another fine puzzle from Ray T. Good, concise clues, a decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked quite a few but will mention 10a. Didn’t see any stretched synonyms or definitions – one or two a bit unfamiliar maybe. 3.5*/4.5*.

      1. You live in your own little World and use stretched to your heart’s content. I’ll stick to using correct and sensible terminology, thank you very much.

  20. RayT straying into Beam territory today?

    In fact, I found this puzzle far more difficult than his Toughies. But, of course, the anagrams helped.

    Thanks to RayT & StephenL.

  21. Great puzzle today. For all you “Below Deck” Fans or wannabee sailors, isn’t there a second quickie pun today?

  22. I agree with lots of you who thought this was Ray T being a bit trickier than recent.
    I think I’ll leave it at that for today – very little sleep last night will have to do as my excuse.
    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  23. Just when I was beginning to like Rat T puzzles this comes along. For me one of the most ghastly puzzles of recent times.
    No fun and very little sense.
    Thx for the hints

  24. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL for the review and to everybody else for your comments. I’m glad that most of you enjoyed it!


      1. our early sun is now a gentle rain,
        Did you hear the Ospreys go over this afternoon?
        Thankyou for your efforts. I needed some of the hints. I like the way 21 a is classed as a drink! It’s lethal.

    1. One of your very best as Ray T, rivalling some of your super Beam products. Thanks for the privilege, Sir.

  25. Needed a couple of hints to get over the line today.
    Thanks to RayT and SL for the blog.
    Bit miffed myself. The garage are blaming COVID for the fact that it might be November before they can fix my car.

    1. Supply chain issues are the usual get out and of course the working from home because it’s so useful for childcare one doesn’t yet seem to have invaded garage world😳😳

  26. It seems this lovely Summer weather must be slowing the old grey matter down because again today I found this quite demanding and needed two stabs at it but I did enjoy the challenge. I suppose go is an acceptable synonym in 19a. 23a and 20d brought up the rear. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  27. I usually complete a Ray T, this one I needed 5 hints. A terrific challenge, I was disappointed not to complete.
    Thanks for hints and thanks Ray T.


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