DT 30033 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30033

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30033
Hints and tips by StephenL
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****

Good morning everyone from a bluest of blue skies Torquay.

For those amongst us not tempted out by the glorious weather (I have had my daily sea swim!) our esteemed setter has given us a cunning and hugely enjoyable puzzle that requires you to follow the wordplay closely whilst avoiding any red herrings


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Sailor approaching channel for Shanghai (6)
ABDUCT: A 2-letter abbreviation for a sailor is followed by a channel or pipe

4a Grounds to accept this setter’s judgement (8)
ESTIMATE: Insert the abbrevated form of I am (this setter’s) into some grounds or land.

9a One examines Queen Elizabeth on river (6)
TESTER: Append the Queen’s royal cypher to a river in Hampshire. I had to check the existence of the river.

10a Easiest cricket stroke catching throws (8)
CUSHIEST: A cricket stroke (played on to the off side if I’m not mistaken) goes around (catching) a synonym of throws (think coconuts perhaps)

12a Old boss purchases northern plant (8)
OLEANDER: Start with the abbreviation for Old. Add a boss into which is inserted the abbreviation for North. Snails love these.

13a Speaker absorbed by Chancellor, a Tory? (6)
ORATOR: Hidden in the clue (absorbed by)

15a Bizarrely, learnt rapture is extraordinary (13)
PRETERNATURAL: Anagram (bizarrely) of the following two words

18a Producing coal fire, our bacon’s cooked (13)
CARBONIFEROUS: Anagram (cooked) of the preceding three words

22a Improve using posh twaddle (6)
UPRATE: The abbreviation for posh or Upper class and a little used verb meaning to talk at length in a foolish manner.

24a Surprised and triggered about Labour’s leader (8)
STARTLED: A synonym of triggered or instigated goes around the initial letter (leader) of Labour

26a He made ‘small step’ with crew (8)
SPACEMAN: The abbreviation for Small, a step with a synonym of crew as a verb. A very clever all in one or &lit.

27a Brat meddles occasionally for jam (6)
IMPEDE: Jam here is a verb. Start with a brat or rascal and add the occasional letters of mEdDlE

28a Record drop is broadcast (8)
DISCLOSE: Record as a noun plus a synonym of drop (a point maybe) as a verb.

29a Idiot English protected by American allies (6)
UNITES: One of crosswordland’s favourite idiots, a word I seldom hear elsewhere, plus the abbreviation for English is inserted into (protected by) the abbreviation for American.

This was the highlight of the recent Glastonbury festival. I’ve watched it so many times!


1d Battle of party losing head (6)
ACTION: Remove the first letter (losing head) from a party or cabal.

2d Complaint possibly involving setter? (9)
DISTEMPER: The setter here is a canine and the complaint a disease

3d Purge cant spoken principally in church (7)
CLEANSE: Start with a synonym of cant in the sense of tilt. Add the initial letter of Spoken. Insert the result into the abbreviation for the Church of England

5d Objection’s raised showing butt (4)
STUB: Reverse (raised) in a down clue of some objections as in “no ifs or ****”

6d Come into the house, perhaps? (7)
INHERIT: The “come into” here does not mean enter but rather take over or succeed.

7d Good puff with exercise embracing sweetheart (5)
ADEPT: Took me a little while to see this one but I think “puff” here refers to publicity. Follow the usual abbreviation for advert and this setters swEetheart with some Physical Training

8d See about new exhaust? Absolutely! (8)
ENTIRELY: The “see” here is not a verb but is a cleverly disguised noun, the area for which a bishop is responsible, in this case one of England’s smallest and prettiest cities, situated in Cambridgeshire . It goes around the abbreviation for New and a synonym of exhaust as a verb. Great clue.

11d Plot over cruel torment (7)
BEDEVIL: A plot (in a garden maybe) plus a straightforward synonym of cruel

14d Part of continent entering agreement (7)
ENTENTE: Hidden in the clue (part of)

16d About speechless admitting one gets tough (9)
RESILIENT: Start with a preposition meaning about or regarding. Add a synonym of speechless into which the letter that looks like the figure one is inserted.

17d Impeached accepting Republican is loathsome (8)
ACCURSED: A synonym of impeached or indicted is placed around the abbreviation for Republican

19d Requirement to do porridge? (7)
OATMEAL. Porridge here is not, as the setter would like you to think, a prison sentence but the breakfast cereal. If you think of “do” in the sense of cook you’ll see the wordplay.

20d One of eight? (7)
OARSMAN: A barely cryptic description of someone who is part of an eight man rowing crew.

21d Totters maybe, seeing snakes (6)
ADDERS: Totters in the sense of people who do sums…..now where did I see this solution recently!

23d Rambles, often aimlessly, moving slowly initially (5)
ROAMS: A first letters (initially) clue giving an extended definition.

25d Stops supporters being upset inside (4)
BARS: Take this setter’s favourite supporters, an item of underwear and “upset” the inside letters. Lol clue.

Great stuff. My winners are 26a plus 8&25d. Which ones did you like?

QUICKIE PUN: Rays + Hub + Laid = Razor Blade



48 comments on “DT 30033

  1. I really enjoyed this puzzle. Itfell into place quite nicely and had son
    Me super long anagrams at 15a and 18a, together with a nice cryptic definition at 20d, which was my COTD the two Lego type clues at 17d and12a were good fun too. Many thanks to our setter and to SL for the hints– I envy you the blue sea and sky. It’s dull and o ercast in rural Oxfordshire.

  2. Well 1d is certainly a topical if not prophetic clue! I thought quite tough today at ***/*** but I am hopeless at horticultural clues so struggled with 12a until the cross checkers were in. The anagrams in the centre were useful though and 6d very good but pipped for me by 26a. With thanks to SL our Riviera swimmer and the setter.

      1. I thought so M

        Party losing head = Boris bye bye – Carrie doesn’t live here any more!

        1. That that will shortly be the case is an added bonus to further brighten the day!

  3. Great puzzles as usual from RayT, 25 down raised a big smile today so thanks to him. A very comprehensive blog too from StephenL so thanks to him too. This weeks Rookie corner puzzle is well worth a try. Not too difficult and the setter will come as a complete but welcome surprise to you.

  4. Super puzzle. Wasn’t quite on Mr T’s wavelength to start with, so found this a little more challenging than usual for a backpager. Good to see a crossword with only two anagrams, thereby facilitating such a wide variety of other clues. Could have picked nearly a dozen for mention but will limit to 22a, 26a and 5d, with 12a just being pipped to the post by 3d, which made my smile and appealed to my cynical side!

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to RayT (average clue length just 5.1 words!) and to Stephen, of course.

  5. 3*/4.5*. A top-notch offering from RayT. Three quarters went in very smoothly but the final corner in the SW proved very challenging, taking my time well over 2*. 25d was my favourite of many excellent clues.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL. Happy Thursday to Kath.

  6. The fortnightly backpage toughie puzzle from MrT which took a while to parse,especially the SW corner which took longer than the rest put together, coincidentally this produced my two favourites 26a and10 down!-top marks to setter..Going for a ***/****
    Thanks SL for the pics, plenty of jobs available in Westminster.

  7. This compiler has to be a typesetter’s dream and the results are invariably outstanding.
    19d made me smile and my top two were 26a plus 6d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review – I’ve learnt to give your music choices a wide berth!
    Happy Thursday to Kath if she pops in betwixt tennis matches.

  8. Mr T certainly less generous, in terms of difficulty, than he has been in recent weeks but as enjoyable as ever – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 7d, 19d, and 25d – and the winner, by a country mile, is 25d!

    Thanks to Ray T and to StephenL, and Thursday thoughts for Kate.

  9. This ardent minimalist (clueing, phrasing, anagramming) proves once again that less is more for him as a setter. A brilliant display today by the gifted Ray T, and I was up for it, thank goodness. Certainly his best in weeks for me, with 26a (“…one giant leap”), 8d, & 10a the creme de la creme. Thanks to StephenL for the nice review and to Mr T for another triumph. 2.5* / 5*

  10. Needed more than just your hints today, Stephen! Baffled by much of it. Thanks to Ray though and yourself.

  11. Yes, quite a struggle to get onto Mr T’s wavelength today, but well worth the effort.
    The two anagrams in the centre did not jump out, my LOI (surprisingly) was 1d. Didn’t find the SW corner too much of a problem and the grid filled OK after initial head scratching.
    Many thanks to RayT for the fun and our aquatic friend for the review.

  12. A little beyond my reach in places, so very grateful for Stephen’s excellent hints to get me going again.

    As I write this, the podium is being put in place outside 10, Downing Street, so I am zipping off to hear the twerp’s resignation statement.

    Thanks to Ray T, Stephen, and a big Thursday shout out to The Lovely Kath.

  13. Last in 25d popped me into 2.5* time.
    Certainly a gem amongst many.
    But outshone by 10a.
    Great enjoyment throughout.
    Many thanks, Ray T and Stephen L.

  14. Top class entertainment as always from the master of brevity, bringing a much needed smile on an otherwise fairly depressing day. 1a and the excellent 25d were my favourites this morning from a long list of possible candidates.

    My thanks to Mr T for the challenge, and to SL for his review. Your blue skies have yet to show themselves over a still grey Shropshire.

  15. Another excellent puzzle from Ray T. Fine/concise clues, a decent challenge and a very enjoyable solve. I’ll pick 25d as my favourite, but it could be any one of half a dozen others. 3*/4.5*.

  16. Good fun on a sunny lunchtime. Two nice big anagrams and a rowing clue – had to guess at the crickety stroke. My 12a is stubborn refusing to bloom, having been a fantastic sight for the last few years. Maybe a bigger pot is needed. Many thanks to the setter and Stephen and greetings as always to Kath. Yesterday’s quickie pun was a beauty!

    1. Thought of you & your recent Henley return when I reached 20d, Daisygirl, and the other poster who noted about rowing there for an Oxford Eight in the 70s. It has to be 30 years since I rowed on water (as opposed to an erg) and I’m not certain I miss it!

      1. The first time George took me onto Eel Pie Island to the rowing club (no bridge in those days we went over on the chain ferry) he showed off by sitting in the rowing machine in the tank. I asked if I could have a go. Oh no, he replied girls don’t row, it develops all the wrong muscles! Tell that to the female crews at Henley!

      2. T’was I who rowed in the first 8 at Balliol. Free dinner on Friday as I think when you are as old as I am they will get returns in the Will. As well they might!

  17. Always satisfying to finish a RayT masterpiece, though I needed a couple of prompts in the SW, so not unaided.
    I’ll join the fan club of 25d and also enjoyed 26a.
    Many thanks to Ray T and Stephen L

  18. Managed 3/4 of this very difficult Ray T who is back to his most incomprehensible best.
    Still cannot unpick 19d, my answer is correct but the clue makes little sense (few of his clues do to me today!).
    Very much not my favourite Ray T.
    Thx for the much needed hints.

    1. 19d is basically what you need (requirement) in order to make (do) porridge.

      1. Maybe my brain his turned to mush after attempting this crossword, but I am still clueless at how 19d works despite your explanation.

  19. Definitely a difficult Ray T puzzle for me today … 3.5*/4*
    When the answers were finally revealed it all fell into place in relation to the clue, but it was a struggle.
    Hints gratefully used, but too many were used for my liking to get the penny to drop on many of them.
    Well constructed and a good run for the money, though.
    Ray T at the tough end of his offerings.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL for the excellent hinting.

  20. Probably got 4 clues before calling it a day.

    I take my hat off in admiration for anyone who can solve a Ray T this difficult.

    Thanks to all.

    1. I have just looked through all the hints, which often didn’t help me, and I can’t see why this level of difficulty is on the back page.

      Rather than just take my hat of to those that can solve this, I strongly recommend you all apply to MI5 as code breakers…!

  21. Above my pay grade. When the answer is a quite remote synonym of the definition I just lose interest. Doubt if the Toughie is any more difficult than this. Hats off to all above who managed to finish.

  22. It’s difficult to know where to start today – there’s the crossword, of course, and then there’s the tennis – I just don’t know . . .
    I don’t find it tricky too often to get onto the right wavelength with a Ray T crossword – probably habit!
    That’s enough for me for today – worn out!
    Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to StephenL for the hints (specially for 10a as I didn’t have the first idea where to begin with!)

    1. Hello Kath, I get the impression you’re improving. Long may it continue.

  23. Lovely puzzle. Trickier than of late but rattled through it until 25d which eludes me – note there’s a fan club for it so will have a look at it again later & then read the review.
    Thanks to Ray T & in advance to Rookie Corner’s latest addition

  24. Stephen L….your intro reminded me of many happy hours on Oddicombe Beach with my Grandfather, it was one of his favourite swimming spots. And then he would drive down to Meadfoot and fill his water bottles from the spring in the wall (sadly no longer there, the spring that is!). Happy days!
    A tricky Ray T but always and enjoyable tussle. Thanks to Stephen for helping with a couple of parsings and Ray T for the workout.

    1. Hi Mike
      Oddicombe is my regular beach! Small world indeed. Your grandfather had good taste, a great beach to swim from, I’ve been swimming regularly for 36 years so our paths may well have crossed.

      1. Hi Stephen, yes small world indeed. I live up in Lancashire now but make the occasional pilgrimage to Torquay! I was there a couple of years back for a very nice lunch in the Cary Arms with my brother and nephew. Fabulous views from the bar! Enjoy your swimming!

        1. The photo I’ve used for my Gravatar was taken from the Cary Arms!
          Thanks for the good wishes Mike, much appreciated.

  25. I found this trickier than last weeks Beam toughie. I started off slowly and then got slower. I did up my game but did need the hint to fully parse 7d. Happiness is a completed crossword. Favourite was 19d. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  26. Here’s the strange thing: I got exactly the same answers as you, doing it in the Telegraph’s online digital edition, and it’s telling me that not all my answers are correct. So I fear we’ve all got one of these wrong.

  27. I DNF yesterday and thought today was going to be more of the same however it did gradually come together in the end with SW causing the most aggro (see I wasn’t alone in this). 15a had to be verified. Haven’t met puff as used in 7d context. 22a twaddle took a while to,occur to me. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  28. Tough but brilliantly clued puzzle – just enough easier clues to get started with the rest proving a just do-able struggle!

  29. 3*/4*….
    liked 26A “He made ‘small step’ with crew (8)”…
    took ages to twig 19D “Requirement to do porridge? (7)” …… !!

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