DT 30103 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30103

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30103
Hints and tips by Twmbarlwm

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **    Enjoyment ****

Good morning. This was great fun to solve and notable for some very neat anagram clues, which were among my favourites. The only clue that held me up for longer than normal was 6d, a solution that does occasionally turn up in crosswords but which I was slow to dredge up from memory.

Many thanks to the setter.

In the following hints, definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual.
Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle and which aspects you liked etc.


1a Revolting gherkin’s true reason to refuse grub? (6,6)
HUNGER STRIKE: An anagram (revolting) of GHERKIN’S TRUE. Arguably the healthiest part of the post-pub takeaway kebab, but often discarded by its merry recipients

9a Sign engaging chap’s getting something to help with the crossword? (9)
THESAURUS: One of twelve signs significant to astrologers goes around (engaging) a male personal pronoun with the possessive apostophe -s

10a James Bond, perhaps, a man of refinement (5)
AGENT: ‘A’ from the clue and another word for a polite chap, as opposed to a geezer

11a Gold, for example, regularly found somewhere in the USA (6)
OREGON: The usual two-letter expressions for a gold/yellow colouring and for ‘for example’, plus some alternate letters (regularly)

12a Bosom buddy nasty to Samuel (4,4)
SOUL MATE: Not a biblical reference (or one to our editor’s setting pseudonym), but an anagram (nasty) of TO SAMUEL

13a Stretch no clothing when you do this run (6)
STREAK: A double definition (and perhaps a semi-&lit, where the surface reading as a whole leads to the solution), one of which is a noun meaning stretch, or spell of time

15a Fireproof material American bosses ordered? About time! (8)
ASBESTOS: A single letter representing America with an anagram (ordered) of BOSSES containing (about) the usual letter for ‘time’

18a Calm exercises with smashing female university student (8)
PEACEFUL: A five-part charade of (school) exercises, a word meaning ‘smashing’ or great, and one-letter abbreviations for each of the clue’s last three words

19a Sexy man, one with ordinary apartment (6)
STUDIO: A word for a gigolo-type, familiar to readers of Jackie Collins, plus single-letter representations of one and ordinary

21a If last of good leaders ignored 1 Down? (4,4)
FAST FOOD: Remove the initial letters (leaders ignored) of some words in the clue to get something exemplified by the solution to 1d

23a Australia gets most of support in summer? (6)
ABACUS: The three-letter abbreviation for Australia goes around (gets (hold of)) a truncated (most of) word for support, as a verb

26a Author is penning book in French (5)
IBSEN: ‘Is’ from the clue containing (penning) a letter that can mean ‘book’, followed by the French word for ‘in’

27a Start to speak, swallowing current drink (9)
ORIGINATE: Another containment clue: a verb meaning ‘speak’, especially pompously at length, is ‘swallowing’ the usual letter for (electrical) ‘current’ and an alcoholic drink

28a Recklessly I tap rifle — why take foolish risk? (4,4,4)
PLAY WITH FIRE: An anagram (recklessly) of I TAP RIFLE – WHY


1d Trendy party with good, southern food (3,4)
HOT DOGS: A synonym of ‘trendy’ (or in another context, stolen), with a very short word meaning party and single letters that represent good and southern

2d Relative turned up in Greece inexplicably (5)
NIECE: The solution lurks in reverse (up)

3d Complicated work in America in each telephone exchange, initially (9)
ELABORATE: An American spelling of work that removes the ‘u’ goes ‘in’ a two-letter abbreviation of ‘each’ and initial letters of two words in the clue

4d Certain coastal area is on the radio (4)
SURE: A homophone (on the radio) of a word for where you might find sea shells

5d Press one criminal for answer (8)
RESPONSE: An anagram (criminal) of PRESS ONE

6d Chest picked up north of a large South African village (5)
KRAAL: A reversal (picked up) of a rather old-fashioned word for a chest or coffer goes to the north of (ie above in a down clue) ‘a’ from the clue and a letter for ‘large’

7d Thespian’s role in act’s vanished (8)
DEPARTED: Another word for an actor’s role or character goes ‘in’ a synonym of act, as a noun

8d Anxiety as adult’s lost hair (6)
STRESS: A single letter representing adult disappears (‘s lost) from the second letter of the clue, and is then followed by a synonym of hair, more specifically a lock or layer of it

14d Again evaluate animals in reserve (8)
REASSESS: Some beasts of burden are contained (in) by a three-letter abbreviation of reserve

16d Found nuts a bit less hard (9)
ESTABLISH: A well-disguised definition and an anagram (nuts) of A BIT LESS, followed by the usual single letter for ‘hard’

17d Car now reduced my freedom (8)
AUTONOMY: A generic word for car (more common in the US) and a ‘reduced’ word from the clue precede the penultimate word in the clue

18d Bird almost out of breath? (6)
PUFFIN: Another truncated word (almost), this time for the whole solution

20d Fuss after old boy’s rude (7)
OBSCENE: A synonym for fuss in the noun sense – ie something you might ‘make’ or ’cause’ – preceded by an abbreviation of ‘old boy’, as in an ex-public school pupil

22d Ultimate aid for swimmer on a lake (5)
FINAL: Something that guides a swimming creature plus ‘a’ from the clue and the common shorthand for lake that’s seen on maps

24d Adult in bed with one animal (5)
COATI: The same abbreviation for adult that was used in 8d goes into (in) a word for a (very small) bed and the roman numeral for one

25d I am upset about fashionable skirt (4)
MINI: The contraction of ‘I am’ is reversed (upset) around (about) a word meaning fashionable or currently popular

My favourites were 1a, 12a, 21a, 28a and 16d.  What were yours?

Quick Crossword pun: CAT + CHA + PLAIN = CATCH A PLANE

62 comments on “DT 30103
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  1. A return to Typically Tuesdayish and, based on what Cephas reminded us about this particular grid last Thursday in a comment on DT 30099, an Anthony Plumb production – 1.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 7d, and 17d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Twmbarlwm.

    P.S. Complemented by a very pleasant, and a little less Floughie, Chalicea Toughie.

  2. Some tricky parsing today,liked the surface of 23a-thanks TWM for the amusing pic, 18d made me smile.
    21a was originally clued, going for a **/****,
    Thanks to setter for a fine puzzle.

  3. Another easy solve but no less enjoyable for that. 23a my favourite, once the penny dropped. I’ve been caught out by that one before! Thanks to the compiler and Twmbarlwm, who’s hints I didn’t need but enjoyed reading.

  4. Like today’s Toughie, smooth, fast, and fun to do, and as our blogger says, filled with very clever anagrams. I especially enjoyed 1a, 21a, & 17d. Thanks to Mr T and Mr P. 1.5* / 4*

    Hurricane Ian, now a Cat 3 storm, is headed our way but if we’re lucky, it will be only a tropical storm. Wish us luck here on the Carolina Coast!

      1. I think it’s safe to assume that Robert has enough books to weather several storms but I do hope ‘Ian’ has lost some of its strength by the time it reaches him.

        1. Yes, I do, and I just ordered the sequel to Oh William!, the latest in the ‘Lucy Barton’ series. This one is titled Lucy by the Sea.

          Thanks to all for the good wishes!

  5. This was an enjoyable solve in bed this morning. We both have terrible colds so its nice to snuggle under the duvet with the crossword especially when its not too difficult. Covid tests negative though which is good. On BBC2 tonight at 7pm there is a programme about our little village here on the North Norfolk coast. Thanks to the setter and the hinter whose name seems a bit weird!

    1. Weirdly Welsh Manders, careful you don’t offend! I’ll watch your programme – do we see you? I had a phone call from a BBC producer who is researching a series, I imagine on the paranormal from her questions, who wanted to pick my brains having seen the Melbourn History Book – 4 years, £26,000 and 2” thick and she called it a booklet!!

      1. Oh, I didn’t know it was Welsh, didn’t mean to offend. I don’t think I will be in the TV programme but someone who has seen it says that one of our WI members is in it. I think its about the Dutch influence from the 1500’s.

      1. Thanks Madflower, just really feel washed out but the Dr has put David on antibiotics which I picked up this pm. Hope you enjoy the programme. Did you see our white crowned sparrow here a few years ago? Made about £6000 with someone holding a bucket and there’s a little stained glass picture of it in the West Window of the church.

        1. Hopefully the antibiotics will do the trick.
          Yes I came to see the lovely white crowned sparrow and it was good to know the donations went to a good cause. It was my first ever ‘twitch’ leaving home at 2 AM on a January morning. I’ll never forget it. My partner has been birdwatching for umpteen years but at that point I’d only known him 3 months!

    2. Manders, thank you so much for the tip-off about tonight’s programme about Cley which I have just watched. That was however with a degree of sadness as many years ago we dearly wanted to buy a house in the village but lost it at the auction. Nevertheless we continued to visit Cley regularly (even introduced to samphire there) from our house near Bury St. Edmunds. Fascinating to know about the reestablishment of a maritime connection.

  6. As straightforward as yesterday (certainly no need for a 9a) but the better of the two in my view & fun while it lasted. 21&23a my top 2 & I rather liked the surface of 1a even though I’m partial to a gherkin with cod & chips.
    Thanks to Mr P & T.
    Ps A shout out for the Chalicea Toughie – very accessible at least up to the 4 I’m stuck on in the NW.

  7. I also thought **/**** and a very enjoyable exercise. A generous supply of anagrams unlocked some great clues including 21a,23a and 17d and 23a was my COTD. Thanks to Twmbarlwm and the setter.

  8. Blimey, quicker than Monday’s.
    Found this fairly straightforward.
    eg the 1a anagram and the 17d Lego clues.
    And even the lurker.
    Fingers crossed for this speed of solving for the rest of this week.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm.

  9. It’s turning out to be a pretty gentle week so far – thanks to today’s setter and to Twmbarlwm for the review.
    Top clues for me were 21a, 23a and 8d.

  10. 1a was my first to go in and remained the biggest laugh throughout the puzzle so that is my COTD. This was pleasantly straightforward and good fun, so many thanks to AP and T.

  11. 1*/3.5*. Another very light but fun puzzle using the “Plumb” grid with 12a, 23a & 8d making it onto my podium.

    My repetition radar was kept busy with two occurrences of “one” = “I” and two of “adult” = “A”.

    Many thanks to Mr P. and Mr T.

  12. A gentle Tuesday work out, but enjoyable all the same.
    Clever clues and no real obscurity or General Knowledge.

    I have recently subscribed the new online puzzles page and I am now using this rather than the hard copy newspaper & pen. I am quite enjoying how it works.
    However, sometimes upon completion the front page shows a tick and says completed on the relevant puzzle and sometimes it just shows a complete progress bar. I always get the ‘Bravo’ screen after completion that confirms I have completed the puzzle but this is not reflected when I return to the front page.
    Has anyone else noticed this?

  13. Another fairly gentle but enjoyable stroll through crosswordland today. Top three here were 1&26a plus 8d.

    Thanks to our setter (Mr Plumb?) and to Twmbarlwm for the review.

  14. Straightforward and very enjoyable, with, as others have said, some well camouflaged anagrams. I liked the 1a anagram and the lego clues at 1d,23a and 6a. Rthe latter eased me because it was geographical. Thanks to Twmbarlwm for the hints and to the compiler

  15. I agree with Young Salopian that 1a was a smashing start, I also liked 9a and 21a. We have funny weather here – heavy rain then warm sun, more like April. But then it gets cold at night ☹️ Thanks to the setter and Mr T, I shall take your advice and have a go at the Toughie which I don’t always get the time to do. Reading the DT articles about gender problems and internet bullying makes my heart sink. What are they doing to our children?

  16. Another puzzle I managed to finish without help which doesn’t often happen. 23a my favourite but plenty of other nice clues. Thanks to both setter and hinter.

  17. What two Monday’s this week, oh joy! 😃 **/**** Favourites were 1 & 13a and 7d 🤗 The most difficult task was trying to spell the blogger’s name correctly🤔 Thanks to Twmbarlwm and to the Compiler ( he can come any time!). I think the answer to the Quicky should be “Catch a plane”

  18. Thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, clever clues, good fun. I was beaten by 6d, which I’d never heard of. One for the memory bank. I liked 18&22d, but my favourite was 21a. Was 2* / 4* for me.

    1. I forgot to say I was also ignorant of 6d but the parsing was pretty easy and I then googled this obscure creature to reassure myself. So you weren’t alone!

  19. Oh good – a crossword that I could do!
    Just 27a which was silly and took ages to sort out.
    Lots of good clues including 1 and 12a and 6 and 16d.
    My favourite was 17d (I think!!) for reasons which are obvious for things that have happened for me over this year!
    :sad: :cry:
    Thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm
    Wonder if I dare a quick peep at the Toughie . . .

  20. Time flies when you’re having fun, though I’m starting to worry about coming down to Earth with a Wednesday bump. Luckily 6d was retrievable.
    Thanks setter and Twmbarlwm, loved the cartoon.

  21. I thought this was quite good, generally light but clever in places.
    My podium is 21a plus 3d with top spot going to the author at 26a for the smart wordplay.
    Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  22. Why is it that every time I manage ti complete one crossword or even two. YES !!!!
    even with a degree of help everyne says how easy they are. I really am trying to learn so please a bit of encouragement.

    1. Well done from me too, Lyn,
      It must be very discouraging for you when everyone says how easy a crossword is for you who’s just beginning to learn – keep going!
      Perhaps I understand a bit more than others, I’ll explain – I’ve done crosswords for almost for ever. I’ve commented on this blog for about twelve years (about the sort of time that the blog got started) and then, just out of the blue and with no warning, I had a stroke about seventeen months ago. I’m getting going a bit now but have still got a very long way to go.
      So, Lyn, keep going – this is a great blog – if you don’t understand something then all you need to ask and someone will reply, usually very quickly. No-one will ever make you feel dim, even if you think you’re being it!!
      Good luck and the important thing is to enjoy it. :smile:

    2. Good work Lyndylou. I stumbled across this blog years ago googling a sticky clue but lurked in the shadows until I was completing more back-pagers than not. I still have mixed success and there are extrinsic factors (including interrupting partners, a la Hilary, caffeine levels, time of day) as well as intrinsic difficulty. I try but fail to add my thoughts as often when incomplete as complete.

  23. Manders @7: no offence taken, it *is* an unusual-looking word and that’s part of why I chose it!
    It’s the name of a hill where I come from in South Wales that supposedly means ‘Hill of the Judge’, but which doesn’t have one accepted translation apart the Twmp(b) part, meaning hill. It has a distinctive lump on the summit that’s locally known as the pimple – Newport-born BBC radio boxing commentator Raymond Glendenning is alleged to have once said of one of the boxers in a commentary, “He has a lump on his head the size of the pimple on the top of Twmbarlwm!”, which must have baffled 99.9% of listeners.
    :unsure: Pronunciation is roughly Toom-Bar-Loom, with the double-o pronounced shortly as in RP ‘wood’ rather than ‘soon’.

  24. A most enjoyable romp while it lasted to accompany an afternoon mug of builders’ tea (scrubbing the carpet – thanks new pup – and forgot it was brewing) on a wet, grey and miserable day. Podium top step shared by 18d and 21a.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm.

  25. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle as it all fell together nicely and was one of my quickest solves. Possibly also because my other half was out for lunch and I was spared numerous interruptions. Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm. Twmbarlwm thanks also for your entertaining explanation of said pseudonym!

  26. No major hold-ups. Mrs. TWLC wasn’t keen on 13a but generally good fun. Favourite was 7d, our last in, just pipping 18d. Thanks to the setter and T.

  27. Another very late entry … same issues still as yesterday.
    Desatted overnight so still in RCH.

    2.5*/3* today

    Favourites include 1a, 15a, 23a, 4d & 18d — winner 18d
    Did not know the words in 6d or 24d

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Twmbarlwm

  28. Well I knew I was in with a chance of doing well on my own as I sailed through the quick crossword in record time and almost did this on my own. I’m feeling much more positive about solving cryptics having had a frustrating time solving lately. Thanks to setter and Twmbarlwm as your extra clues and answers helped enormously. I’ve just finished reading the new Galbraith novel which I really enjoyed but had to concentrate and read in large chunks in order to understand the characters and plot. So for light relief now I’m reading A line to kill by Anthony Horowitz set on Alderney. Have also had to buy a blood pressure machine to check my readings from home but not sure if I’m being over anxious as I’m stressed by results which makes the numbers high! Always thought I was a really relaxed person. Hey ho will persevere and maybe by the end of the week the numbers will be down.

    1. Granny Helen, just ignore me if you already know this but some tips for taking your BP readings. Do not eat/drink for at least 30 minutes beforehand. Don’t talk /move while taking the readings. Try to take some deep breaths first. Take two readings each morning and evening, about 5 minutes apart and either take the second reading of each pair or the average of them (my second reading is often higher than the first!). I had very high BP (under control now) and also used to calculate the patient’s home BP readings when I worked at a GP surgery.
      I’m sure they will come down just as your crossword puzzle solving ability is rising.

      1. Thanks so much- I didn’t know any of that- practice nurse panicked me – will definitely do that especially as I’ve had a cup of tea to hand when taking reading.

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