DT 30039 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30039

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30039

Hints and tips by Miffypops

Beaver Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****

Good Morning from Barrel where the sun is up but not beating down upon us yet. Today we have 32 excellent clues to delight and bewilder us. Once a foothold has been established checking letters will be your friends and completion without assistance from me should be attainable.

Please let us know what you thought of this puzzle. Nitpicking is frowned upon on Miffypops Thursdays. Please refrain from doing so


1ac.  High and dry area reduced to dust (7)

AGROUND:  The abbreviation for area is followed by a verb meaning reduced to dust like pepper or coffee beans might be

5ac.  Baby carriage seen outside a Post Office (7)

PAPOOSE:   A particular assumed position surrounds the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for Post Office

9ac.  Bananas found in messy lair — see creature (9)

ARMADILLO: A word meaning bananas or insane sits inside an anagram (messy) of LAIR. This is followed by a short word meaning see which is often followed by the words and behold

 10ac.  Ancient Mexican sleuth going after a Zulu (5)

AZTEC:  This ancient Mexican (need you even read further)? Is made up by placing an informal abbreviation for a sleuth or detective after the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for Zulu

11ac. Biden’s accolade for screen star Blackman? (5)

HONOR:  As has been pointed out in the comments the first name of an actress famed for a single shot of her emerging from the sea in a bikini in a film from the middle of the last century is not what you need for your answer here. It’s a totally different actress from a different Bond film. The answer is the American English spelling of a word synonymous with the word accolade referenced by including Joe Biden in the clue as if he isn’t busy enough in his day job.

12ac.  Halt event rearranged in old eastern region (3,6)

THE LEVANT:  Anagram (rearranged) of HALT EVENT

13ac.  Unusually deft clue I penned? Sneaky! (9)

DECEITFUL:  Anagram (unusually) of DEFT CLUE which pens the letter I.

16ac.  Composer Arthur finds perfect happiness (5)

BLISS:  A word meaning perfect happiness will lead to the surname of a composer known for such works as ‘Twone The House of Felicity’ (1923) and  ‘Karen’s Piece’ (1940/1941) He’s been dead for a long time now

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils

17ac.  Gym in Parisian street making money (5)

RUPEE: The abbreviation for physical education sits inside a word meaning a French street

18ac.  Drinks in luxurious hotel given poor press coverage? (9)

SPRITZERS: An anagram (poor) of PRESS covers or surrounds the luxurious hotel at 150 Piccadilly

20ac. See 6 down


23ac.  Upstairs room that ticks boxes (5)

ATTIC:   Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word boxes

25ac.  Chap in Aberdare cleared out home (5)

ABODE: A British informal noun meaning a person sits inside the outer letters of the word Aberdare

26ac.  Start   research organisation? (9)

INSTITUTE:  A double definition. The first a verb

27ac.  City visit involves son in great delight (7)

ECSTASY: The postal district of the City of London is followed by a word meaning a prolonged visit which includes the abbreviation for son

28ac.  Sappers leaving one French city for base (7)

IGNOBLE: Begin with the letter that looks like the number one. Add a French city from which you have removed the abbreviation for the Royal Engineers

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
         Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
         They kept the noiseless tenor of their way


1d.   Adult beaten becomes embarrassed (7)

ABASHED:  The abbreviation for adult is followed by a verb meaning beaten which is what the clue says. It really is that simple

2d.  Republican on about mother being Catholic (5)

ROMAN: A three part charade. 1 The abbreviation for republican.  2 The word ON from the clue.  3  An endearing term for ones mother. Arrange as indicated by the wording of the clue

3d.  Row with subordinate causes stress (9)

UNDERLINE: Begin with a word meaning subordinate and add a row of things. We use this method of stressing to highlight definitions in clues

4d.  Pottery expert embracing student (5)

DELFT:  begin with a word meaning neatly skilful and quick in one’s movements and demonstrating skill and cleverness.  Insert the letter associated with students beginners or learners

5d.  Screw fitting round well worker initially removed (9)

PROPELLER:  A word meaning fitting, suitable or appropriate sits around the word WELL from the clue but minus the abbreviation for worker

6d and 20ac. Polecat scent: it’s ruined scientific study! (5)


7d.  Drive out farm vehicles capsized in Oise (9)

OSTRACISE:   The reverse of some farm vehicles sits comfortably somewhere within the letters OISE

8d.  Thrills lover no longer mentions (7)

EXCITES:  A two-letter term for a past lover I’d followed by a word meaning formally mentions

14d.  Extensive cover needed with account and IOUs (9)

CAPACIOUS: A cover such as a schoolboy might wear on his head is followed by an abbreviation of account and the IOUS from the clue

15d.  Is it TV that’s weird in whimsical celebration? (9). I  T  Y

FESTIVITY:  An anagram (that’s weird) of IS IT TV sit inside an adjective meaning whimsical, unworldly, vague or mysterious

16d.  Strike at revolutionary brave man in military unit (9)

BATTALION:  Begin with a word meaning to strike at as a cricketer might. Add the reverse of the word AT from the clue. Add an animal that might be used to describe a brave man

 17d.  Fierce competition in the rodent population? (3,4)

RAT RACE:  A cryptic definition of the world most of us have retired from and thankfully left behind. If you are still part of it, be patient. In time you will have had enough birthdays to leave it behind

19d.  Conceal empty suitcase on Greek island (7)

SECRETE: The outer letters of the word suitcase are followed by the largest of the Greek islands

21d.   Entertainment round piano with English artist (5)

OPERA:  Begin with the roundest of round letters. Add the abbreviation for English. Add the abbreviation for a Royal Academecian

22d.  American in boat cut fare from Japan (5)

SUSHI:  Place the abbreviation for the United States inside a large boat that has had its last letter removed. Please don’t nitpick over large boats and small boats. It’s been done before

24d.  Signal for pick-me-up? (5)

THUMB:  What a hitch hiker used to signal the desire for a lift

Quickie Pun  Mersey + Leslie = Mercilessly


Crossword solving the MP way

Do not read a clue as you would a sentence. The clue, when read as a whole is unlikely to lead to an answer. Look for instructions within the clue


45 comments on “DT 30039

  1. MP – I’m not sure it was the actress you mention as coming out of the sea at 11a. There it could be the effect on me from the heat, the flies & the never ending drums…

        1. A transposition of this actress’s initial letters allegedly first performed by a Mr Connery made me chuckle, if I recall correctly, and perhaps I was very wrong indeed to have allowed myself to be drawn in there :)

  2. Being honest I thought this lacked a little bit of the sparkle of the previous three back pagers this week (high bar, I know) though I still enjoyed filling in the grid.
    Never heard of the composer or the region though the checkers and wordplay were very friendly, the latter being especially so in 14d were the setter has given us almost half the word in the clue!

    My top three are 28a plus 25d with top
    spot going to the clever 18a.

    Many thanks to the setter (Giovanni?) and MP

  3. Although this contained a smattering of GK there was nothing to frighten the equines. The obvious anagram in 6d and 20a had me scratching my head and nudged me into *** time as I needed most cross checkers to get it. Also my COTD. Thanks to M and the setter.

  4. Really enjoyed this Thursday puzzle, axcellent cluing throughout.
    Liked the surface of 23a and the 9a charade, assumed 11a was an americanism.
    Favourite was 24a- thanks to MP for the flower power thumber-those were the days!
    Going for a **/**** today.
    Hope our cricketers have a good day.

  5. There were some good clues in this puzzle. I particularly enjoyed 12a, 18a and the 6d 20a combination, the latter reminding me of a happy time studying at university, in London in the 1960’s. I started slowly but, once a few of the more straightforward clues had been solved, the checkers helped me to speed up. I find a few checkers help with this compiler as I can then guess the solution and reverse engineer the parsing. Thanks to the compiler and to MP for the review.

  6. Am inclined to agree with Stephen that this one wasn’t quite as much fun as those preceding it this week but still an enjoyable & well crafted set of clues. 18a my pick of them.
    Thanks to the setter & MP

  7. I do enjoy Miff Thursdays. I feel I should be standing up straight, shoulders back, shoes polished. No messing.

    Great puzzle – some tricky ones, but checking letters helped attain ’em.

    Thanks to the setter, The Mighty Miff, and a big Thursday shout out to The Lovely Kath

  8. Good fun, with some terrific clues – 28a my COTD, with 1a, 5a, 13a, 18a, 23a, 26a, plus special mentions for a great anagram in 6d/20a and cryptic def in 24d (and an enjoyable Quick puzzle too)
    But like SL I had a few misgivings about today’s offering (albeit, of course, these things are relative – certainly not a ‘bad’ puzzle by any means!)
    In 5a, at first I thought the definition included ‘carriage’ but then that would be doing double duty – but surely the definition then requires some further indicator? (And whilst easy enough, perhaps strictly 17a needs an indicator too?)
    11a and 16a are both fine, good individually but both use the same ‘double def with one as a famous name’ construction wihch seemed somehow a bit disappointing.
    7d and 14d both had parts of the solution that really stood out too much, not even ‘lurking’ (even just simply substituting e.g. ‘French river’ and ‘debts / promises’ would have improved these I think)
    And several other clues, whilst OK, seemed a little weak or had rather clumsy surfces (e.g including, for me, 2d,17d, 22d…) – in fact, it seems the across clues were generally good and the downs a little disappointing, somehow a bit ‘first draft-y‘?

    Sorry for the gripes, perhaps I’m just having an off day, and many thanks to setter and MP (by the way, re the hints: in 13a it’s not ‘just’ an anagram – the I is “penned”, although it amounts to the same thing!)

  9. “[16d] was it in that dawn to be alive”! That Wordsworthian sentiment rather nicely sums up my sense of achievement (indeed, of being alive!) when, earlier this morning (actually, pre-dawn), I solved this very absorbing & enjoyable puzzle, even though I found myself pushed into 3.5* time to do so. 18a, 28a, & the 6d/20a combination get the big awards today. I thought of Chriscross at 12a and wondered if she has noticed, for example, that archaeologists today still refer to their digs in those regions as being in 12a. Thanks to MP (esp. for the WW and the TG verses) and today’s setter. 3.5* / 4.5*

    1. Yes, Robert, I noticed that not only archaeologists but historians, biblical scholars and even some older geographers do use the term The Levant and the adjective Levantine. It’s part of the rich history and culture of that part of the world.

  10. Fiddling about too long with the letters for 6d and 28a put me into 2.5* time.
    Otherwise, a gentle puzzle for a Thursday.
    Gold to 28a, Silver to 5d.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Miffypops.

  11. I also spent far too long with the letters of 6d and 20a. I also used the checkers to come up with the wrong first word. Then, I could not get the word out of my head, which held me up even more. I had completely forgotten the baby carriage having last encountered it in the western films I watched as a kid. When I saw two Zs, I latched on to a pangram that wasn’t there and I didn’t think 16a was very cryptic. While it was fairly gentle for a Thursday, it didn’t sparkle much for me and I have no COTD although I did like 9a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge. Thank you, Miffypops for the hints and tips and I’m sorry if I have picked nits. :grin:

  12. No nits from me – very enjoyable and all done without hints. A pity as I always enjoy MP’s references to St Sharon who appears to enjoy behaviours remarkably similar to my own Saint Jane. “Doh” moments 9a where I read “see creature” as “sea creature” and 1a – yes I know read the clue properly.

  13. Another good puzzle with no hints or parsing needed. 28a a superb clue, the best of the week so far.

    Thanks to MP for his review and continuing advice on crossword solving. Many thanks also to the setter.

  14. Very enjoyable except for 25a which totally defeated me. I really dislike the use of slang in crosswords, English is a hugely comprehensive language which should give setters all they need without resorting to slang be it UK or US.
    Thx to all

  15. A superb puzzle for me. A long list of contenders for the podium, but as I note others have already assembled an order of clues similar to my own, I shall refrain. If I had to plump, I’d highlight the marvellous hidden clue at 23 across, and give the laurels to its predecessor 18, for its clever dodging and weaving among the cryptic indicators.

    Excellent all round, setter, and large thanks to MP for a now Ursula-free blog.

  16. My favourites of an enjoyable solve were 18a and 24d. I wonder if the latter is an oldie, but it had me scratching my head for a while.
    I’ll pick the same nit as Fez at 14d, I wondered why the setter didn’t use debts rather than IOUs.
    Thanks to the setter and MP

    1. I thumbed most of Europe in the seventies. Great experiences and cheap as chips. I have expected a hitch hiking app to surface with safety features but not yet it seems.

  17. Solved in ** time with plenty of fun along the way. COTD 23a for its simplicity.

    I’m still struggling to parse tidily 5a, a baby carriage, whose outer 4 letters don’t synonymous with ‘seen’ and I’d be grateful to be shown the error of my ways.

    Many thanks setter and MP.

    1. 5a is I think as Miffypops has parsed it – that is, the definition is just the first word, with the outer 4 letters being the carriage. The answer does usually refer a sort of ‘carriage’ but apparently can also just mean its contents, albeit specifically Native American. An indicator to that effect would have been more satisfactory, I think, unless ‘carriage’ is doing double duty. So, no error in your ways :-)

  18. Another struggle today with 12a & 16a being more a GK answer and unknown to me … so technically a DNF for me.
    3.5*/2* today for me.
    Favourites include 11a, 17a, 6d/20a, 22d & 24d

    Thanks to setter and MP

  19. Solid enjoyable fare with some good challenges and an occasional requirement for lateral thinking. Hon Mentions to 5a, 8d and 24d, with COTD to 28a.

    2* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and to MP

  20. This was a curate’s egg for me e.g. unaware of 6d/20a (in any case it seems it’s rather more a theory than study) so needed help with anagram and 5d was unparsed however there were several good surfaces including 5a, 14d and 22d. Puzzle completed over lunch whilst consuming some houmous from 12a. Wonder who the setter is but thanks to him/her anyway and to MP also.

  21. Hello :D

    Thanks MP and to all commenters. So: I left OISE as OISE because I thought the river a bit obscure, and I left IOUs because I wasn’t totes happy with the synonymy for it. ‘Promises to pay’ is a bit long ting for me, tbh. Tricky, because you don’t want to be TOO easy, but then if you’re not careful you can end up being too difficult. Which brings us to the ‘carriage’. The thesaurus I use has that synonym in the following list: position, stance, air, posture, attitude, bearing, carriage and deportment, so I hope that helps to show the usage.

    I’m back in the not too distant future with a clue, in the quick, that describes my experience as a crossword compiler. It’s a very personal moment :) I hope you like the pun too.

    Best, Doorknob.

    1. Thanks for calling in NYK. I appreciated your leaving ‘Oise’ and ‘IOUs’ in clear. There are plenty enough of other tricky clues to make your crossword a real challenge to me.

    2. Always interesting to get the thinking behind the clues, appreciate you taking the time to share yours.

  22. I was stymied by 5ac as in UK a papoose is a padded baby carrier, not the baby in it. Two countries divided by a single language!

    1. With interest piqued, I checked this. Collins has the baby and the bag as separate entries, the cheapo online Chambers 21st has the baby only. My Shorter OED, probably the best of the three, has baby only.

  23. I admit that I couldn’t do this at all – not a clue!
    I read recently (can’t remember where) that whoever wins the 17d competition is still even a rodent! Oh well, it made me laugh.
    Thanks to the setter and to MP.

  24. Just managed to squeeze in as the doors were closing😳 Nice Crossword 6d & 20a were new to me but fortunately an anagram 😃***/*** Favourites 18, 25 and 28 across 🤗 Thanks to MP and to the Compiler

  25. Late coming to this as we were watching England Lions lose to a very good South African side at New Road Worcester. By this time I suspect all has been said, so I will just thank the setter for a fun solve, and MP for his usual comprehensive review.

  26. Having spectacularly failed to do the toughie earlier I think I made harder work of this than I should have. I was held up in the SE by putting the wrong answer in for 24d even though I couldn’t parse it, that’ll learn me. Favourite was 18a. Thanks to NYD and MP.

  27. A dnf for me with 26a needing the answer as the hint didn’t help me – my feeble brain had decided instigate was the answer and i couldn’t get past that. 28a also defeated me, particularly galling for me as a Sapper.

    6a/20d was the last one I actually solved. 12a took way too long to solve too.

    Thanks to all.

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