DT 30069 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30069

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30069

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone from a sunny South Devon coast where the water was calm and warm for my early sea swim.

Our esteemed setter has given us what I thought was a corker of a puzzle, I had to work quite hard to get an unaided finish, which only added to the enjoyment.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Well placed facing one’s plant (12)
SATISFACTORY:  A synonym of located or positioned, the letter that looks like the number one with the possessive S and a plant as a place of employment

8a        Group again with actual singing occasionally (7)
REALIGN:  A synonym of actual or true plus the occasional or alternate letters of singing.

9a        Confused live model’s first employed (7)
BEMUSED: A synonym of live or exist, the initial letter of Model and a synonym of employed

11a      Rejected a necessity when producing fruit (7)
SATSUMA:  Start with A from the clue. Add a necessity or obligation and a synonym of when and reverse (rejected) your result.

12a      Points describing radius for circles (7)
TROPICS:  Some points or subjects go around (describing) the abbreviation for Radius.

13a      Some complainer verbally giving cheek (5)
NERVE:  Hidden in the clue as indicated by the word “some”

14a      Adjustment of liaison to separation (9)
ISOLATION:  Anagram (adjustment of) the following two words

16a      Purity bar formerly including church (9)
INNOCENCE: Start with a bar or drinking establishment. Add a synonym of formerly into which is inserted one of our usual abbreviations for a church.

19a      Sweetheart goes off backing shop (5)
STORE: This setter’s swEeetheart is followed by a word meaning goes off or decomposes. Reverse (backing) the result

21a      Follow behind following flightless bird (7)
EMULATE:  A synonym of behind in the sense of time follows a flightless bird.

23a      Plug more fitting for plug attachment (7)
ADAPTER:  Begin with an abbreviated synonym of a plug in the sense of publicity. Add a comparative adjective meaning more fitting or suitable.

24a      Giggle about women’s social network (7)
TWITTER: A lovely old word meaning to giggle lightly goes around (about) the abbreviation for Women giving, some would say, a poisonous social network. This one actually did make me giggle!

25a      Reportedly start understanding (7)

INSIGHT: The word “reportedly” is a bit of a giveaway for a homophone. We need one here for a synonym of start or instigate.

26a      Plant hearts in variety of London Pride (12)

PHILODENDRON: Nothing to do with beer and a different type of plant to 1a. Anagram (variety of) the following two words and the abbreviation for Hearts. I needed all the checkers before it revealed itself.


1d        Smash mad character supporting socialist’s leader (7)
SHATTER: The object of the phrase “as mad a ****** ”  supports (or goes beneath in a down clue) the initial letter (leader) of the world Socialist.

2d        Strain constraining Bar magistrate (7)
TRIBUNE: A synonym of a strain in the musical sense goes around a bar in the structural sense.

3d        Feeling terrible tension’s gripping America (9)
SENSATION:  Anagram of TENSION plus the possessive S and an abbreviation for America. A very topical and prescient surface read?

Here’s one of America’s finest with their new song.

4d        Area mainly bounded inside territory, principally (5)
AMBIT:  A first letters clue indicated by the word “principally” giving a nice extended definition.

5d        Vault over line? A fair game (7)
TOMBOLA:  The vault here has nothing to do with jumping as the setter would like you to think but is a crypt or catacomb. Append the abbreviations for Over and Line along with A from the clue.

6d        Puccini’s so right about upcoming composer (7)
ROSSINI:  Hidden and reversed (upcoming) in the clue.

7d        Feeling pressure, bitterness consumes one (12)
PRESENTIMENT:  The abbreviation for Pressure is followed by a synonym of bitterness into which is inserted (consumes) the letter representing one.

10d      Smash, striding, with a tee shot (12)
DISINTEGRATE: Anagram (shot) of STRIDING plus A TEE.

15d      Use empty platitude in speech (9)
OPERATION:  Insert the outside letters (empty) of PlatitudE into a powerful speech.

17d      Feed rhinos somehow eating fruit kernel? (7)
NOURISH:  An anagram (somehow) of RHINOS “eats”  the middle letter (kernel) of the word fruit.

18d      Talk over lease over some property (7)
CHATTEL:  Some informal talk and a reversal (over) of a synonym of lease giving a word I’ve only ever seen in legal documents

19d      Less frequent hits with Queen (7)
SPARSER:  Hits as a pugilist might with the royal cipher of our current monarch.

20d      Regular form over swindle catching mark (7)
OCTAGON:  Start with the abbreviation for over, add a short synonym of swindle or cheat into which a mark or label is inserted.

22d      Misjudged or judged in EastEnders? (5)
ERRED:  How an EastEnder may pronounce a synonym of  judged in a legal sense. Given the rapidly changing face of London I wonder how long these clues can hold up?

Top stuff Mr T, in a strong field my winner was 24a.

Quickie Pun  Azure + Lie + Kit  =  As You Like It


86 comments on “DT 30069

  1. Completely aligned with StephenL’s assessment of this puzzle.
    Thanks to him and RayT for another cracker.
    My top 3 in no particular order are 1a, 24a and 17d

  2. 2.5*/4.5*. Superb!

    The verbose 26a (by RayT’s new standards :wink: ) was a new word for me and, like SL, I needed all the checkers before working out the answer which I then confirmed in my BRB.

    My podium comprises 24a, 15d & 22d.

    Many thanks to RayT and SL.

  3. This was one of my favourite crossword situations. I sit and stare for a minute or two and think, “Uhoh, I’m not going to get any of these.”
    Then… I started with 17d followed by 24a and I was underway. It was very challenging but satisfying solving clue by clue until 12a and 4d tootled in at the end.
    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

  4. The Thursday ‘toughie’ variety today which I really enjoyed ,top draw from our setter,
    Last in was 18d,I initially put in the wrong ‘dendron’ until I twigged the parsing of 26a and 18d then fell into place!
    Favourite was the clever 6d followed by 18d
    Agree with SL’s ***/****.
    Now for the cricket,

  5. As SL has said, a corker of a puzzle, just what a cryptic ought to be. It had a modt i teresting variety of clues, with a little General Knowledge toadd interest. 25a was a clever homonym, 6d a great qlurker, 26a a superb anagram and 7d a clever anagram, using a synonym for the letters.i couldn’t just one today. Thanks to our clever compiler and to SLfor the hints.

  6. Great pun in the Quickie to start with. Lots of enjoyment throughout this model cryptic, with all of the earmarks of this matchless setter. How does he keep doing it? I think 26a has to be my COTD because I once had one that lasted 10 years and was the talk of the neighbourhood when I put it out on the front porch in the summer. I also especially liked 2d and 12a, my last two in. Thanks to StephenL and to Mr T. **/****

  7. I’m going to buck the trend, I’m afraid because I found this difficult. I would never have got 26a without Mr. G. having realised that Rhododendron was wrong. I struggled with most clues but, as usual, could not understand why once solved. Having said that, there were some great clues and I have two in particular competing for the top spot – 16a and 26a – with the latter winning COTD for me.

    For the first time ever, lifting potatoes was preferable to slaving away on a crossword. Not Ray T’s fault of course and I thank him for the challenge. Thank you, StephenL for the hints.

  8. Another excellent puzzle from our Thursday ray of sunshine – most 1a!
    Think my top three were 26a plus 1&7d but the one that really made me smile was the Quickie pun.

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

    1. I’m a tad more SC than SL as I am hopeless at horticulture and couldn’t guess 26a correctly and transposed a couple of letters in my guess. Thanks for the hints SL. The rest was great RayT stuff and I particularly liked 12a. The usual smattering of anagrams and lurkers helped.

  9. Why am I not surprised at the reaction from our Ynys Mon correspondent? A most enjoyable Thursday challenge – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Perhaps one ‘minor slip’ in the same 4 letter endings for the definition and the answer in 9a.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 12a, 18d, and 19d – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to Ray T and to StephenL. I might be able to have a different ‘swim’ this morning as we have a thunder storm rumbling through which I hope has completed its passage before I start my daily ’rounds’ in a couple of hours.

    1. He won my heart years ago (and Kath’s) even though I haven’t got a clue what he actually looks like! I think BD met him years ago but men are rarely very good at describing appearances.

          1. Thanks Senf. I know the area well and as an impoverished youth from the it’s grim up north zone and a budding climber used to sleep in the sea shelter after the pub. A lovely island.

    2. A super puzzle, great fun and 24a COTD. But I do agree with you Senf re 9a, not by any means terrible but not ideal either. Whilst quibbling (sorry, it really is a top puzzle!), add to that 6d, which I don’t think quite captures containment, grammatically? 19d the synonym for hits doesn’t seem right (boxes, yes, but this is a step further? I thought similar about the “points” in 12a but think that does just about work). 20d the solution isn’t necessarily a regular form. So a half-star lost for ultra-pedantic quibbles, sorry!

      1. F, 20d. I think this one is OK, the answer is a form/shape and it is “regular” (meaning its internal angles are equal and all sides are the same length). You ever seen an irregular one?

        1. Ah, but it’s not necessarily regular, any more than a triangle is. E.g. four-pointed star, or some cuts of jewel. I guess in common usage it’s ok though – I did confess to being ultra-pedantic!

          1. I suppose the setter could have used either regular or irregular and they both would be (technically) OK. But how often do you see the answer described as an irregular form/shape? We’ll call it a draw, then? :-)

      2. You’re not being pedantic Fez, let alone ultra.

        They are interesting observations, two of which I have different views on but…who cares!

        The etymology of 26a is brilliant – ‘lover of trees’ as this climber embraces trees.

        My flora and fauna knowledge is a disgrace. So, like others, I was trying to justify ‘rhod’ at the start.

        Another solid workout from Raymundo

        1. G273. Come on, we know you DO care! Are you being reticent because of recent kerfuffle? I rather like debates about technical nuances – I nearly always learn something new. Pray, reveal …

          1. Go on then.

            I think regular is fine as is the synonym for hits.

            I made my peace with ‘so’ a while ago.

            I’m sooooooooo not going to tidy my bedroom.

            In fact, I use it occasionally.

            1. Well, whilst we’re at it … and fearing backlash . . 19a “sweetheart”? I know it’s this setter’s “thing” and as such has a familiar, comforting quality, but … really?

              1. Sorry, Fez, but you really are straying onto hallowed ground! Setter’s licence and editor’s discretion have determined its validity and I’m sure we all know by now exactly what function it serves in a Ray T puzzle.

              2. Fez, I assume you are okay with the term sweetheart or is that making you harrumph?

                I appreciate that alright sweetheart/darling/treacle/love/doll is in the past but a loved-up couple saying ‘You are my sweetheart, my one true love’ is obviously fine.

                Apologies if I’m barking up the wrong tree.

            2. Yes, I’d agree with the first two, not least because RT recently confirmed that he checks all definitions/synonyms in the dictionaries and CL does too – I ain’t going to start gainsaying those two!

              Have I missed something – is the “so” thing related to this crossword or just a general statement?

              1. Re the “hits” (sorry to go on!) I think it’s similar to cluing “rambles” as “steps” … you can link “rambles” to “walks” to “steps” but there are two stages, just as “*****” to “boxes” to “hits”. Of course I do know I’m wrong as CL wouldn’t allow it otherwise – but I still enjoy the debate!

                1. No need to apologise and I can see where you are coming from, both now and in your original comment. I think you have to take these clues more as mere contrived word-puzzles rather than pieces of exactly precise literature. The setters use legitimate grammatical jiggery-pokery, and then there’s the editors discretion – together making it sometimes, or even often, mysterious to the solver regarding what’s allowed and what isn’t.

                  In a cryptic clue (not in general written work) sweetheart for E (but perhaps not so often), city centre for IT and garden centre for RD are all OK in my book. Plenty will disagree – it just depends on how “pure” you like your clues.

                  1. Thanks Jose I entirely agree these are mere trifles to be enjoyed! And the setters here are consistently brilliant. I do like things “pure” (even more so since I’ve attempted setting myself) but appreciate for many “fair” is simply “gettable within reason” rather than “technically precise”, and in any case “fun” is always the main thing … for me that includes the silly pedantic debates :-) (With thanks to Gazza, “city centre” is synonymous with “city’s centre” so IT is fine; “garden centre” doesn’t mean “garden’s centre” so RD isn’t … for me, anyway!)

                    1. I agree that garden centre doesn’t literally/precisely mean garden’s centre, but in a cryptic clue (which is a word-puzzle) using the (rather clever/mischievous) “device” “garden centre” to trigger RD in the answer is perfectly fine to me – just the sort of thing I prefer. In my experience, trying to be a complete “purist” setter can lead to writing clues that are overly staid, prosaic and humourless. That’s just my opinion, I’m not necessarily right.

                    2. In reply to your comment re “about”, below (which has no Reply button attached). As G273 says, about as a containment indicator has been going for yonks. In the sense of round/around/enfolding: She threw her arms about him. Or in the sense of surrounding: There were screaming Indians all about us.

                      I’m going to bed. Night, night …

                2. Re your post below….

                  ‘About’ has been a recognised lurker indicator for a while, which I’m cool with though, I agree, there are better out there.

                  What grammatical boo-boo are you referring to if it isn’t ‘so’?

                  Ray doesn’t have a six word limit, btw, though the majority tend to have fewer than seven.

              2. ‘So’ is grammatically incorrect in the clue but it’s becoming more and more accepted. That’s why I’m okay with it….ish.

                However, I have yet to crack with super, e.g this blog is super exciting.

                I don’t think that one will pass my lips.

                But, let’s see….

                1. You mean the “so” in 6d? Isn’t it just being used as an intensifier/emphasiser as in: I’m so hungry? Not sure, I’ll have to muse about it for a bit. If there was something decent on the TV I wouldn’t be writing this stuff …

                  1. So is superfluous in 6d.

                    Something is either right or it isn’t.

                    There are different levels of hunger.

                    It’s like…..I’m so going to the pub tonight.

                    1. A lot of this stuff is subjective, isn’t it. People do use informal grammar. You often here things like “You’re absolutely right about that!” “You’re right about that!” would fully suffice, but people sometimes feel the need to add “absolutely” or “so” to emphasise/intensify a point or that they concur. I’d say that the setter has skilfully/deliberately used a bit of informal grammar in the surface to make the cryptic word-play work. I’ve got an answer for everything, I have! :-)

                    2. I don’t think the surface grammar is an issue. E.g.:
                      Well, no – I’m. like. literally at the start (3)
                      Surface grammatically awful but cryptically fair (I think – just come up with it as an example!)
                      So(!) in 6d for me the “so” is fine, but I just can’t see how the “about” means “contains” – how about “engaging” to maintain a viable surface and keep within the 6-word limit?

                  2. ‘So right’ wasn’t around years ago, it’s a new one. Therefore it’s perfectly acceptable.

                    That’s why I said I made my peace with it a while back though I would never use it on paper.

                    It slips out in speech every once in a while.

                    No problem with RayT using it as it makes for a good clue.

                  1. Absolutely and completely don’t have levels like ‘so’ and ‘very’ do.

                    You can’t be very right.

                    Emphasising how right someone is by saying ‘completely right’ is fine but using a word that has levels isn’t.

                    If you did, it would be very not right.

                    1. *I got that a bit wrong at 9.58, above (no Reply button there). I should have said make the reverse lurker work rather than make the cryptic word-play work. Though I suppose a lurker is a kind of word-play anyway. Bed now …

  10. How odd. After my labours with Jay’s puzzle yesterday I sailed through this one in under 1.5* with barely a head scratch. Having said that both 7d&26a required confirmation. I’ll plump for the 6d lurker, nicely disguised in the surface read, as my favourite.
    Thanks to RT&SL

  11. Another fine puzzle from Ray T. I’d say a tad above average difficulty for a back-pager with good, concise (as usual) clues providing a reasonable challenge and much enjoyment. I had to resort to some googling to finally suss out 26a. I’ve ticked quite a few, any of which could be a favourite. From those I’ll mention 24a and 5d. 3*/4.5*.

    *I think it’s now correct to use googling (without the capital G) as a verb form – making it a gerund? Is that right, I’m not really much of a grammarian?

    1. Hmm, ridiculous – you’ll be using “you”=U without qualification next! (Must get on with the hoovering….) 😉

      1. :-) (I think). I only asked because some commenters on here (including “experts”) still write Googling.

    2. But, as a ‘fan’ of the BRB, you could have solved your problem – even the ‘aging’ Revised 13th (Dead Tree) Edition includes the name of the e-help product, with a lower-case g, as a transitive verb.

        1. With my bare pass at English O-Level, it is a transitive verb so, presumably, you can do anything to it.

  12. Ray T puzzles continue to maintain the high standard we appreciate, good fun generally, some head-scratching to excite the grey cells and several miss-directions to round it off. Like others I needed to check 26a.
    Thanks to Mr T and SL for the review.

  13. On a slightly off topic note, is anyone having problems solving the puzzle on the app? I’ve been using it for several months but for the last couple of days each time I return to the puzzle it’s completely blank. I find them hard enough to solve without having to remember my previous answers!

    1. I don’t have the puzzles app but if you take a screenshot of the puzzle each time you leave it you will have your answers to hand

    2. It is irritating. On the puzzles website you have to click Save in the bottom left before leaving, or it is back to square one. However on the android app the electronic version auto saves your progress.

    3. I’m using the iOS version of the app and it always used to auto save whenever I left it, but not any more it seems. Taking screenshots is a good idea, although I haven’t given up trying to fix the app yet.

    4. I had this issue too. I deleted the app and reinstalled it from the App Store. It now saves my, mostly incomplete, puzzle answers.

  14. A slightly tougher RayT than usual. The four outer clues didn’t fall easily. I couldn’t remember 26 across so needed all of the checkers to solve it. Apparently the plant grew on the bomb sites after the WW2 and gave its common name to the beer. Thanks to StephenL for a blog that rolled off the tongue and RayT for a top puzzle

  15. Cracking puzzle, a really good and testing Thursday challenge for which many thanks to RayT and to SL for the blog.

    The QC pun was outstanding.

    3* / 3.5*

  16. Enjoyed a lot, particularly as my new Kindle turned up yesterday so it didn’t take hours to download the puzzle. However, trying to work out where my cloud is, is another question. I also can’t remember half the stupid passwords to log into various bits and pieces but my photos have miraculously appeared. Thanks to the setter for the fun and SL for his comments. Off to Aldeburgh tomorrow for a week – yippee.

  17. Another day, another DNF for me although I really enjoyed the workout. Lovely picture to define 9a SL.

    Perhaps someone can help me with the homophone at 25a, I’m just not seeing it. It’s not in sight at all.

    Usually pretty good with animals but I have never come across Chriscross’s General Knowledge toad.

  18. Superb puzzle.
    Only aid, dictionary experimenting to get 26a.
    Otherwise, a hard mental effort to completion in 4* time.
    SE last to fall, 25a enabled 20d.
    I would hate to exclude any clue from the podium.
    Many thanks RayT and StephenL.

  19. Phew, I thought I was never going to get off the ground but hung in there and eventually managed to complete with the NE presenting biggest problem – 12a particularly. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  20. Another stunning puzzle from Ray T. At least it stunned me with three quarters done and as much hope of finishing as being declared the heir to Dostoevsky with my non existent next novel.

    Thanks to SL and to Ray T.

  21. Found this very hard today and struggled mightily to finish.
    Considering I used almost all the hints I consider it a DNF for me today.

    Favourites include 16a, 21a, 24a & 17d with winner 24a

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL

  22. Approached this with the usual Ray T dread but it turned out to be a very good crossword even if I have never heard of the plant before! Luckily I am a great fan of the Macro and Cato series of Roman novels which got me the magistrate.
    Very enjoyable
    Thx to all

  23. This felt rather like two separate crosswords – the right side was finished before there was a single answer put in.
    Then everything got sorted out quite easily and quickly until the last three or four answers which beat me – finally I gave up with 26a just left.
    The last Ray T few Thursdays have been quite different – a couple of long anagrams across the middle and no other ones. Today we just had the very long anagrams around the outside – nothing like some variety!!
    Thanks to Ray T for the crossword and to StephenL.

    1. Nice to hear from you Kath and glad you enjoyed this one, a vintage Ray T puzzle for me too.

  24. Kath has said what I was going to say … but much better! Thank you also to RayT and StephenL

  25. Again I found this solve very difficult 😟 just when I thought that I had the measure of the Thursday puzzle along comes this tricky little 🐒 😳 ****/*** Favourites 4 & 22d 😃 25 was new to me, thanks to Stephen L for much needed help with 26a and of course to Ray T

  26. A dnf because of 2d.

    Nevertheless an enjoyable challenge today which is still a good result for me with a Ray T.

    Thanks to all.

  27. I found this at the easier end of Rayt’s spectrum until I didn’t, just a few in the SE. Once I’d solved them I couldn’t see what the problem was. Great stuff as usual. Favourite was 17d where I was trying to fit nut in for ages. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  28. Thanks to Ray T and to Stephen L for the review and hints. A cracking puzzle. Quite a few difficult clues. Hadn’t heard of 26a, but got it from the checkers and the fodder. Favourites were 20d & 23a. Great entertainment. Was 3* / 4* for me. Quicky pun was superb.

  29. I’m still in holiday mode down here in Devon – which translates as brain not functioning! Must be the gluten free fish and chips and cream teas which I’m definitely not used to. Thanks to Ray T – hopefully I’ll be up to the challenge next week. Also thanks to SL for the much needed extra help. I’m glad you were able to swim yesterday- here in Budleigh and Sidmouth we weren’t able to because of the water quality after the rain. Not to worry as we’ve enjoyed the warm water temperatures all week.

  30. Fabulous. Only fixed by the plant at the bottom. I bunged in rhododendron. My other difficulty was chattel or chatter. Neither of course fitted my first choice of plant. Goods and chattels is a phrase I’m well familiar with. In the end I opted for the L and from the checkers guessed P was the first letter. Favourites 23 and 24a and 3 5 and 7d. Thanks Setter and Hinter.

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