DT 30034 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30034

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30034

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs, where the wanderer has returned from an enjoyable but rather hot tour of France. My deepest thanks to the team who filled in for me.

It may have been the rust showing, but I found today’s crossword quite tricky in places, and it took me well into *** time. It will be interesting see what others think.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Tree specially hollowed out happened to hide soldiers (8)
SYCAMORE – Put together the outside letters (hollowed out) of SpeciallY, and a synonym of ‘happened’ wrapped round the usual abbreviation for soldiers who are not officers.

What you should know before planting a sycamore - Arbor Day Blog


5a           Project a very loud voice (6)
AFFAIR – Put together A (from the clue), the musical symbol for ‘very loud’, and another word for ‘voice’ or ‘state’.

10a         Painter left with someone like Houdini, heading off (9,6)
LANDSCAPE ARTIST – Put together Left (from the clue), another word for ‘with’, and what Houdini was, minus its first letter.

Image result for constable hay wain

11a         Criticise popular article all about brutish people (7)
ANIMALS – Put together another word for ‘criticise’ (think tabloid headlines), another word for ‘popular’ and an indefinite article. Then reverse the result (all about).

12a         Stage argument backing king demanding toil (7)
LEGWORK – Put together a stage in a race, for example, the reverse (backing) of another word for an argument , and the chess notation for a king.

13a         Lie uncontrollably with blunt report (8)
BULLETIN – Anagram (uncontrollably) of LIE and BLUNT.

15a         Survey characters protected in our economy (5)
RECON – Hidden in the clue.

18a         Plain old Hitchcock film I go to skip (5)
OVERT – An abbreviation for Old, followed by the name of a Hitchcock film, minus the ‘I go’.

20a         Annoying occasion involving order shop oddly overlooked (8)
TIRESOME – An occasion or date wrapped round alternate letters (oddly overlooked) of oRdEr ShOp.

23a         Growth of delivery service force (7)
UPSURGE – The three-letter acronym seen on the side of an international parcel delivery service, followed by another word for ‘force’.

25a         Look to leave local area for Italian food (7)
CALZONE – Remove the word meaning ‘Look!’ or ‘Behold!’ from ‘local’ (from the clue). Then add another word for ‘area’ or ‘region’.

Image result for calzone

26a         Kneaded dough — the Quakers just made it (8,7)

27a         Party by coastal structure is comparatively stupid (6)
DOPIER – One of the usual crossword parties, followed by a structure found at many seaside resorts.

28a         They bung openings in the hull beside people in boat (8)
THROWERS – The initial letters (openings) of The Hull, followed by people in a boat propelling it with oars.


1d           Revolutionary at large caught by North American leader (6)
SULTAN – Start by putting together AT (from the clue) and Large. Then put North and one of the usual abbreviations for American either side of the result. Finally reverse the whole lot (revolutionary) to get a Middle Eastern potentate.

2d           Set up company with new number (9)
CONFIGURE – An abbreviation for ‘company followed by New and a general word for a number.

3d           Wrongly identify false claims ultimately real (7)
MISCALL – Anagram (false) of CLAIMS followed by the last letter (ultimately) of reaL.

4d           A lot of sheep across Spain (5)
REAMS – Some male sheep wrapped round the IVR code for Spain, giving us a words for lots of paper.

6d           Wild consumer on account of long time on end of blower (7)
FORAGER – Put together another word for ‘on account of’, a long time, and the last letter of bloweR.

7d           Is this crossword compiler fit friend? (5)
AMIGO – How the setter might say ‘Is this crossword compiler?’ (2,1) followed by another word for ‘fit’, as a jigsaw piece might be said to slot into place. The result is a foreign word for ‘friend’.

8d           Capturing back upset duchess imprisoned by group (8)
RETAKING – Reverse the name by which the duchess of Cambridge is familiarly known, then wrap another word for ‘group’ around the result.

9d           One carrying flyers showing black cosmetic (8)
JETLINER – Another word for ‘black’, followed by a cosmetic which may be used around the eye.

14d         Ragged cuddly toy with stuff inside but no head (8)
TATTERED – The short from of then name of a cuddly toy is wrapped around another word for ‘stuff’ or ‘substance’ minus its first letter (with no head).

16d         Cool cop more casual with us (9)
COMPOSURE – Anagram (casual) of COP MORE and US.

17d         Free of charge, second-hand fencing son fixed (8)
FOCUSSED – The three-letter acronym for ‘free of charge’, followed by another word for ‘second-hand’ wrapped round an abbreviation for Son.

19d         Balcony initially terrified the Queen and family (7)
TERRACE – The first letter of Terrified, followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher and another word for ‘family’ or ‘ethnic group’.

21d         Learns about ordinary Italian city (7)
SALERNO – Anagram (about) of LEARNS, followed by Ordinary, giving us an Italian city which was the site of an Allied landing during World War II.

Image result for salerno

22d         Webs appear around empty houses to the north (6)
MESHES – Wrap a word for ‘appear’ around the outside letters (empty) of HouseS, then reverse (to the north, in a Down clue) the result.

24d         Foil is pointed stick for sport (5)
STUMP – Double definition, the first a verb, the second being one of six found in sets of three at each end of a cricket pitch.

25d         Game played with ball at clubs in Switzerland (5)
CATCH – Put together AT (from the clue) and the abbreviation for the club suit in a pack of cards. Then wrap the IVR code for Switzerland around the result.

The Quick Crossword pun EDGE + HEAR + RUN = ED SHEERAN

62 comments on “DT 30034

  1. No doubt as to the author of this, loved it.
    Some of the wordplay amused me greatly, very inventive and witty throughout.
    Difficult to choose a favourite but if pushed I’ll go for either 17d or 24d (which would 24d me for a while!) with a nod to the pun. Great stuff.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and welcome back to DT, enjoyed my couple of stints covering for you.

  2. Oh my giddiest of giddy aunts – I’m on a poor run of form this week. Another struggle for me. I would not have finished without massive help.

    I was amused by the Quickie pun, and the two ‘long ones’ in the Cryptic.

    Thanks to the setter and Threat Of The Deep.

  3. Reasonable crossword today. I just have a bit of an issue with 17d, focussed or focused. My concise OED spells it with one S, I just chanced it with two

    I just have and issue with 17d, my concise OED spells it focused not focussed, so just chanced it using two S’s


    1. I’m with you all the way with the spelling of 17d as we spell it with one S this side of The Pond.

      But, it’s in the dicko.


  4. 3*/4.5*. This x-less pangram was nicely challenging and great fun. It would have been awarded 5* but for the American slang in 15a, with which even the BRB agrees! :wink:

    10a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to proXimal. Welcome back and thanks too to DT.

  5. I agree that it took a while to crack the code as it were, but once underway I made good progress. The long clues certainly helped to gain a foothold, and there were several clues worthy of top spot, but my winner was, unusually, an anagram, 26a, because it read so well.

    My thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  6. How do I turn the background music ?
    I found this quite difficult.
    Thanks to all concerned .

    1. I was scouring my computer, wondering where Arlo Guthrie was coming from. It was here!

      1. No music here – & most unusually I can only see “placeholders” for 4 images, and a large blank space after 7d. Presumably the latter is meant to be a YouTube or similar link. Though in my view it’s safer to turn-off autoplay in your browser, or at least that’s what I’ve always understood.

          1. I prepared the blog in Firefox, and it’s showing up properly on both my machines (Windows 10 and Windows 11).

            1. Hi Mr K,

              Yes, pictures still showing as placeholders on both routes. The Arlo Guthrie video, which appeared as a large space this morning, now works fine on all routes (I think that Deep Threat made some changes to it, after which it worked for me).

              The placeholders take the form of a single line saying ‘Image result for xxxxxxx’. (where xxxxxxx is, for example, sycamore)

              I’m running Firefox version 102.0.1 (64 bit) on Windows 10.

              1. Hmm. Is this the only blog where the images aren’t loading? Do the images on today’s Toughie blog show correctly for you?

                1. Yes images are ok on other blogs including today’s Toughie.
                  Also, the images show properly on Chrome.

                  1. I don’t have a solution. I have updated to the same version of Firefox and reset everything to defaults, and I still see the images. I have dialed up all the security settings I can find in Firefox to the max and the images still appear.

                    A difference between this blog and most is that the image links on this page point to bing.com instead of to pics uploaded to the site. But that approach should still load the image. What seems to be happening with your Firefox is that for some reason the image isn’t loading and so the ALT text is being displayed in its place.

                    Does your Firefox display an image for https://th.bing.com/th/id/OIP.fWw2z2FarCE34LAcLa6jlAHaHa?w=175&h=180&c=7&r=0&o=5&pid=1.7

                    1. Hi Mr K – fwiw using an older version of Firefox Android I’m only getting the underlined link there, not the picture. Likewise the placeholders. I have the same Firefox on my laptop as Gazza, and if possible will have another look later.

                    2. I’ve just edited the sycamore picture to make it one from Google rather than Bing. Does that make any difference?

                    3. I’ve been trying to see what’s different about the way I’ve set up Firefox. When I removed the DuckDuckgo privacy essentials the images in blog all worked.

                    4. That’s helpful. I’ll look into that add-on and see if there’s anything that can be done at this end to keep pictures or what exceptions should be passed to the duckduckgo extension.

    2. It seems that DT has posted the result of an e-search for a Woody Guthrie song/video rather than the direct YouTube link. Perhaps he is a little out of practice.

  7. Comfortably the best puzzle of the week so far, sufficiently challenging for a Friday, very few “gimmes”, a great range of clue types and surface reads. Particularly good anagram for 26a. Almost all the clues would merit an Hon Mention but will limit to 10, 18 & 23a, 6, 14 & 19d, with COTD to 1a.

    2.5* / 4.5*

    Many thanks indeed to the Setter (must admit I’d been thinking Silvanus, but ProXimal would be a good call … though a couple of others could also fit the bill!) and also of course to DT

    Edit: hadn’t noticed it was an X-less pangram, which does narrow the field somewhat …

  8. Looks as though the X-man is doing double duty today, this was demonstrably one of his.
    10a gave me the way into the puzzle and stayed on top of the pile despite some stiff opposition.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT for the review – nice to have you back, trust that both of you thoroughly enjoyed your French sojourn despite the heat.

  9. The third head scratcher in a row for me. So much so, that any sort of pangram was not obvious to me until I thought I might as well do a check a few minutes after completion and found it to be X-less. 3.5*/4*

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 25a, 6d, and 22d – and the winner is 10a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to DT, and welcome back.

  10. So Proximal is doing both this and the Toughie today. At least this was, with help from DT, doable. So far the Toughie has only yielded 2 answers. Well, it is Friday!
    Here the 26a was very clever and my COTD.

  11. Not the easiest of Friday puzzles in recent memory. A bit of a head scratcher. Solved this on Thursday evening my time in the back garden and had lots of difficultly getting through it. 3.5*/3* for me today.

    Favourites were 18a,26a, 27a & 24d with winner 26a

    Tough solve for me.

    Thanks to setter and DT

  12. I’m afraid I gave up in this puzzle, having completed 10 clues only. I had lots of other things to do, it’s a gloriously sunny day here in Oxfordshire and the jobs in the garden were more appealing than the puzzle. I may come back to it later, although warching Norrie versus Djokovic in the Wimbledon men’s semifinal is looking very appealing. I’m sure it was very clever but I found many of the clues baffling, as I often do with Proximal’s puzzles, like reading something in a foreign language withut having mastered the vocabulary- not a scooby as Arthur Daley would have said. Anyway, thanks to ProXimal for his efforts in setting the puzzle and to DT for the hints, which I’ll read later, after another go at some of the more accessible clues.

    1. I agree about the mystification Chriscross but DT provides hints which sometimes are as baffling as the clues. As usual I blame my lack of lateral thinking in clues with pointed sticks where I have three checkers. Agree that 26a is a brilliant clue even though it is an anagram. Thanks to DT and Proximal.

  13. Typical Proximal, very tricky and difficult to start. I thought 5a was a very stretched synonym and 1d – well life’s too short to try to work out 1d. Not my favourite setter by any means, much better suited to setting the Toughie for the more experienced solvers or those with lots of time in their hands.
    Completed it but not without considerable difficulty.
    Little fun, just a slog.
    Thx for the hints and for explaining my answer to 1d.

  14. Cracking puzzle which took a bit of untangling.

    Thanks to DT and today’s setter.

  15. A Toughie time solve for me. Certainly tricky but I probably made harder work of it than I ought to have done. Like Senf I only twigged that it was an X-less pangram after completion. Would probably have enjoyed it more if I’d had my brain in gear & hadn’t found it so much of a slog because it was a fine puzzle. Ticks aplenty – 1,18,23&26a plus 14&17d the picks for me.
    Thanks to proXimal & a thanks/welcome back to DT

  16. Solved with a smile from start to finish. I was not expecting a ProXimal puzzle as he is on Toughie duty today. It matters not as all three of our regular Friday setters mix fun and freshness in equal measure. Thanks to ProXimal for the puzzle and to Deep Threat. I first heard Plane Wreck at Los Gatos sung by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. The whole story is fascinating from start to finish. I’ll say no more


  17. Welcome back DT, I too enjoyed filling in for you, not had much time to look at the puzzle yet but I am sure your hints will be required this afternoon.
    Thanks to proXimal and DT.

  18. Solved this whilst waiting for Norrie’s match after having attended my granddaughter’s school sports day. Two firsts and a third place in her races, so proud parents and grandparents!
    Her performance must have inspired me as for once I seemed to have been on Proximal’s wavelength. Finally resorted to a DT hint for 1d, my last one in, then kicked myself for needing it!
    Thanks to Proximal and DT .

    1. I’ve fixed the typo in your email address which sent your comment into moderation.

  19. Took a long time to get started.
    Then laboured steadily to a conclusion in 5* time.
    Excellent and novel wordplay eg 12a, 1 and 17d.
    Gold to 10a in a strong field.
    Always enjoy ProXimal’s.
    Many thanks and to DT.

  20. A ‘proper’ old Friday backpager with a difficult NW corner, favourits were the two long clues 10a and 26a, worked out the second word in 26a and anagrammed what was left!
    Going for a ****/****.
    Agree with RD re15a, not in my old Chambers either.
    Thanks to setter and DT for the pics.

  21. Excellent! Great clues, a good challenge and an enjoyable solve. Fav: 26a. 3.5*/4.5*.

  22. I spotted the ‘X’ less pangram after I’d got all the others but it didn’t help as I realised I couldn’t fit an X in the clues I had left. I found it hard even for a Friday but I got there. Favourite was 10a. Thanks to ProXimal and DT.

  23. Doubly whammed by today’s setter, here and by the Toughie, though I did manage to finish the backpager with a bit of electronic help. 26a my favourite, but I grew weary on my third visit to this one, which I’d already slogged through into ***** time, and was bitterly disappointed in my performance. Glad to see Deep Threat back, so thanks to him and to proXimal for the challenge. 5*/4*

  24. This required some teasing out but my perseverance paid off in the end. Very enjoyable and a satisfying completion.
    Like others, my favourites were the two long ones, 10a and 26a.
    Shame about Norrie, but not unexpected. Looks like the TdF is a forgone conclusion too.
    Thanks to ProXimal and DT

  25. I continue to find that the wavelengths for Cryptics have changed and I now regularly struggle to connect. Today was a little more accessible but still somewhat remote. NE was the stickiest patch not helped by iffy 8d capturing back. Tried to repatriate Orleans for 21d! Not sure about 15a as UK word – bunged in recce. Thanks proXimal and DT.

      1. And me, Kath and Angellov. When younger folk talk about puzzles being ‘dated’ or ‘old-fashioned’, I often enjoy the variety of clues exhibited, whilst some ‘ modern ‘ puzzles seem to have lots of clues of two or three types.

    1. Agree. The backpager is often more like a Toughie on too many days now. Fine if you are very clever, but for lesser mortals somewhat disappointing.

      1. I totally agree with Busy Lizzie, using the word very instead of disappointing. I must surely have a record as I solved two clues before giving up. Thanks to setter and Deep Threat.

  26. Once again completely baffled by a Proximal puzzle! I’ve had a look at some of the answers and there’s no way I’d get some of them! Fortunately I had a Chalicea toughie from a while back which proved much more doable (and therefore enjoyable!). Thanks to DT and sorry Proximal but I’m not sure I’ll ever get the hang of your puzzles.

  27. More items for the chewing-upon in this one, which I very much liked.

    Many thanks setter and Threat.

  28. Compared to yesterday, this was easy.

    Needed the hints to be able to parse a couple of clues, but nevertheless a very enjoyable challenge.

    Thanks to all.

  29. Thanks to Proximal and to Deep Threat for the review and hints. So difficult that I needed 12 hints to finish. No fun at all.

  30. Deffo a 3* but pleased to finish with no hints
    Agree with comments about 17d
    25a a rare word for a xword

    1. You’ve cut your alias since your previous comment which sent this one into moderation. Both versions will work from now on.

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