DT 30109 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30109

DT Cryptic No 30109
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Twmbarlwm can’t be here today so I’m revisiting one of my old haunts for one day only.

I really enjoyed the puzzle and wondered whether it was the work of our esteemed editor. I could be way off beam – what do you think?

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Scant leaves on a regular basis — is plant OK? (12)
SATISFACTORY: remove the regular letters from scant and add IS (from the clue) and another word for a plant or industrial unit.

9a Wants variable income (9)
YEARNINGS: one of our usual algebraic variables and a synonym of income.

10a With nag, husband’s left more disagreeable (5)
WORSE: start with the abbreviation for with and add another word for a nag after removing the genealogical abbreviation for husband.

11a Children with singular problems (6)
ISSUES: a legal term for children and the abbreviation for singular.

12a Keep sea vessel outside area (8)
MAINTAIN: stick together a literary word for the sea and a metal vessel containing the abbreviation for area.

13a Swindled Conservative departs furious (6)
HEATED: remove the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative from the start of a verb meaning swindled.

15a Dispute about working with female left one in front of court (8)
CONFLICT: we have to knit together six different components to make this 8-letter word: a single letter abbreviation for about or approximately, an adverb meaning working or in operation, the abbreviations for female and left, the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for court.

18a Urge to increase small exercises (5-3)
PRESS-UPS: verbs to urge and increase are followed by the clothing abbreviation for small.

19a Awful convulsive twitch holding newspaper (6)
TRAGIC: a convulsive twitch contains a slang term for a downmarket newspaper.

21a Laud new attempt to cover last of one’s unfaithfulness (8)
ADULTERY: an anagram (new) of LAUD is followed by an attempt containing the last letter of ‘one’.

23a Instrument I love endlessly playing at home (6)
VIOLIN: an anagram (playing) of I and LOV[e] then an adverb meaning ‘at home’.

26a Cross after eastern craft turned over (5)
EXTRA: the letter that resembles a cross follows the abbreviation for eastern. Finish with a reversal (turned) of a word for craft or skill.

27a Host a ball, following food (9)
ABUNDANCE: host here is as used by Wordsworth for his daffodils. Start with A and add a ball or social gathering after a small cake.

28a Eventually hot then failing to finish marathon? (2,3,4,3)
IN THE LONG RUN: assemble an adverb meaning hot or trendy, ‘then’ without its last letter and a way of describing a marathon race (4,3).

Down Clues

1d Fashionable pen starts to leak ink, staining hand (7)
STYLISH: a farmyard pen followed by the starting letters of the last four words of the clue. Excellent clue about our new monarch getting in a strop:

2d Transport quick to turn up (5)
TRAMS: reverse an adjective meaning quick or brisk as in ‘he set off at a ***** pace’.

3d Cuckoo  lacking feeling? (9)
SENSELESS: double definition, the first meaning cuckoo in its informal meaning of silly.

4d Spots note inside card (4)
ACNE: put an abbreviation for note inside a playing card.

5d Will producer examine a rocky hill? (8)
TESTATOR: a verb to examine or assess, A and a rocky hill of which there are many on Dartmoor.

6d Some complain a workman’s climbing tree (5)
ROWAN: hidden (some) and reversed (climbing) in the clue.

7d Smashing book about what Charles has become? (8)
BREAKING: the abbreviation for book, a preposition meaning about or concerning and what Charles has become (1,4).

8d Pressure on each group of teachers formerly to get something to eat (6)
PEANUT: abbreviations for pressure and each followed by a teachers’ trade union which merged to form a new one in 2017.

14d Had to remove top and make uniform good enough (8)
ADEQUATE: remove the top letter of ‘had’ and append a verb to make uniform or even out.

16d Fed no bird nuts — it’s banned (9)
FORBIDDEN: an anagram (nuts) of FED NO BIRD.

17d Fish after parking and dad’s picked up tackle (8)
APPROACH: tackle here is a verb meaning to set about. A freshwater fish follows the reversal (picked up) of the abbreviation for parking and an affectionate term for one’s dad.

18d Found squeezing European’s heavenly body (6)
PLANET: a verb to found or put in place contains the single-letter abbreviation for European.

20d Business  trouble (7)
CONCERN: double definition, the second a verb to trouble or worry.

22d Teach artist without money? On the contrary (5)
TRAIN: on the contrary means that rather than artist without money we need a dated slang term for money containing our usual abbreviation for artist.

24d Person who doesn’t want company car finally going after large one (5)
LONER: the final letter of car goes after the clothing abbreviation for large and ONE (from the clue).

25d Lower  centre of dartboard (4)
BULL: double definition – lower is something that lows.

The clues I liked included 26a, 5d and 24d (all with cunningly disguised definitions) but my favourite was the excellent and topical 1d. Which one(s) made the grade for you?

Quick Crossword Pun: MAY + JAR + QUAYS = MAJOR KEYS

38 comments on “DT 30109
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  1. I found this sifficult to get into at first but, as is often the case, things speeded up as the checkers went in and iperceived the compilers predilection for lego clues and misdirection. The two best lego clues for me were 14d and 9a and I also liked the reverse lurker at 6d. Any thanks to Gazza for stepping in to do the hints and to the compiler for a lego clue masterclass

  2. Good Tuesday fare – after a blank first glance at the NW decided to “go up the downs” instead, resulting in a quicker completion than I thought was going to be the case. Much to enjoy, with 10a, 27a, 1d and 5d getting Hon. Mentions, with 14d just beng pipped to the post by 25d – even if the ‘lower’ is becoming something of a chestnut, now.

    1.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and of course to Gazza – particularly for the cartoons!

    (And if it is the work of the ‘esteemed Ed.’, and should he pop his head around the door and glance at this blog, perhaps he might comment on the various inadequacies of the appalling new Puzzles site? After all, he keeps asking for feedback in the weekly newsletter.)

    1. If the editor of the new site does pop his head in, can he explain why I do not receive the aforementioned Newsletter? enjoyable crossword, I have never tried starting with the down clues first. Thank you for the tip Mustaf G.

      Stay safe and travel safely

      1. Three emails I have sent to the puzzles editor have been ignored. I am worried that the old site will be taken down before the new site is improved.

        1. I am certain of it, Kim. That’s how “improvements” work these days – from MS Windows to Office, Firefox Android to the Telegraph puzzles site!

  3. For no good reason the right hand side of this enjoyable puzzle went before the left. I, too, thought 1d as topically excellent, but my favourite clue was 26a.

    My thanks to our setter and Gazza for an amusing blog.

  4. Unexciting but reasonably straightforward with a slight delay in the SW to which 18d found contributed. I agree with others above and nominate 1d as Fav for its surface. Thank you setter and Gazza – easier to spell than Mr(?)T!

  5. Many Lego clues and some very clever misdirections.
    Good surfaces.
    An excellent training exercise.
    So, */****.
    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza,

  6. Couple of instances where the parsing followed the answer but what a 1a puzzle this was.
    Like our reviewer, I put 1d at the top of the pile and I smiled at 19a which brought back memories of my godfather relaxing after a Sunday roast.

    Thanks to our setter (could well be Mr Ed) and to Gazza for the review and excellent cartoons – particularly liked the chap who wanted to be buried with an elephant bone!

  7. 1d was my favourite too & immediately thought of Charles – always think he’s a rather dapper dresser. Enjoyed the puzzle & was very quickly on wavelength for a sub 1.5* time finish & with no parsing issues – most unusual if indeed it’s one by CL. 9&21a were 2 other particular likes.
    Thanks to the setter & Gazza – great illustrations
    Ps – shout out for a very accessible Toughie

  8. I am more confused than usual! The grid appears to be an ‘Anthony Plumb’ but the contents don’t. So, whoever the setter is it was enjoyable as ever – 2.5*/3.5*.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 12a and 27a – and the winner is 12a,

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  9. Took a while to get going today, like Young Salopian the right hand side for some reason went in first, then the bottom left and finally the NW corner which took a while to parse, not on my wavelenght today.
    Enjoyable solve and a ***/****.
    Liked the brevity of 9a,lots of my favourite charades 27a my favourite’
    Thanks Gazza for the pics.

  10. Like Young Salopian I found the East easier than the West but an extremely enjoyable romp all in all and I agree with Gazza’s ratings. Particular favourites were 11a, 15a, 27a and my COTD the clever 24d. Thanks to G and the setter. Finished on a rather bumpy Cawsand ferry and now recovering with a glass…..

  11. Of water, NAS? A very 1a puzzle once I got going. 9a, 12a and 14d had daisies by them but it was all good fun, which is more than can be said for all the holes which have appeared over the grass. I think they are boring bees – anyone experienced that? There must be 100 or so. I know they are good pollinators but I am allergic to stings and a bit nervous. Help?

    1. I had multiple holes in my lawn. It turned out to be holes made by sharp-beaked starlings searching for Lear her jackets, the larvae of the crane fly my lawn was infested with them two or 3 years running until I ordered some nematodes (natural predators of whatever you are trying to get rid of, which come in a small package and can be eatered in). From the timing, it could easily beleatherjackets in your lawn, Daisy. You should find bees entering and exiting the holes if you watch.

      1. Thank you Chris, the reason I thought of need straight away was because back in the hot weather George and I sat in the shade watching bee/bees going in and out of a hole in the ground. Suddenly there are so many holes and the grass round the top looks sort of swirled round. It’s very odd. I might have to get a Proper Man in!

  12. A nice enjoyable crossword with lots of amusing clues 😃 ***/**** Favourites: 27a, 5 and 14d. Thanks to Gazza for the blog, enjoyed the cartoons 🤗 and thanks to the compiler

  13. Thank you setter and Gazza. At first glance I thought it was going to be hard, but once I got into it the rest followed swiftly. 19d was my last in. Favourites 1 10 12 and 28a and 14d.

  14. Loved this one! Not a dud in the grid, with 1d, 7d, 24d filling the first of many podia. Top-notch all the way, Thanks to Gazza and today’s setter. ** / *****

    1. Hi I’ve only just got my paper so will comment in my usual slot – the morning after club – just wanted to agree with Robert on reading preferences. I’ve read the new Galbraith novel – very long and needed concentration- then read new Horowitz novel for light relief – now reading new Osman book – I can recommend any novel by Christopher Fowler as I really enjoy the history and stories of real London- also they make me laugh- so glad you survived the storm. Happy reading and will be checking out the extra hints from the wonderful Gaza. Many thanks.

  15. A lot of lovely clues today. Great misdirections.
    For me the bottom went in before the top.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

    Lots of rain here today….particularly heavy as I was walking from the car park to the supermarket….not pleased….

  16. Wonderful puzzle. Top clues for me were the topical 1d and 7d.

    Thanks to our setter for the challenge and to Gazza for a brilliantly illustrated review.

  17. Tough to get this one started with SE, then NW done and the rest gradually came together.
    2.5*/3* for me.

    Favourites include 12a, 15a, 27a & 7d with winner 27a

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  18. I thought this was just about as perfect an early/midweek back-pager as you could get, as Robert said, not a dud in the grid.
    Top three for me in a very strong field were 27a as plus 5&24d.
    Many thanks to the setter and Gazza for the top-notch entertainment.

  19. That was fun – about right for a Tuesday, as far as I’m concerned.
    No one seems to have jumped up and down to claim ownership of today’s crossword – I wonder who did it – will we ever know!
    A nice easy long answer all the way across does help a lot to get going.
    My last ones were all in the bottom left corner – no excuses for any of them – just dim!!
    I liked 10 and 21a and 14 and 24d. I think my favourite was probably 7d.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and also to Gazza for the hints and the pics – love them!

    1. Kath you certainly seem to be back to your “old” self which is so great to see. Hopefully you will be hinting again soonish? 🌈🤞.

  20. I enjoyed today’s offering and it was a joy throughout with just a couple of head-scratching moments. Many thanks to the setter and Gazza for the entertaining illustrations.

  21. Loved the lego clues. Finished the right side before getting much on the left, NW really challenged me.
    On a slightly separate matter, I find it so galling when people label a crossword with * difficulty when I have racked my brain and got stuck! Gazza’s hint for 1a got me going again. For me ***/****
    Perhaps if I’m offended, ratings will be banned or no-platformed or some such rubbish!!!

    1. You should avoid the Times For The Times site then, Peter – I’ve become inured to it now, but it was so disheartening at first seeing people post times well below 10 minutes for puzzles that were taking me a good half hour and more!

      At least star ratings are individual and entirely subjective – one person’s 2* could be the same time as another’s 4*. I’m sure a Cryptic Sue 1* is much faster than my own 1*, for example.

      Hence I regard one of the many good features of this site as being the House Rule about not publishing completion times.

  22. I wouldn’t know how to rate a crossword, some people seem to do it on time, so I don’t. That said this was as straightforward as they come as nothing held me up for long. Enjoyable though. Favourite was 1d. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  23. Thoroughly enjoyed this one as an early start to the day with a few cups of coffee. My paper pops through the letterbox around 5:30 am

  24. Well, I just couldn’t get started on this and needed a lot of help from Gaza’s extra hints. I think that having a complete night’s sleep- the first in ages has left me- feeling tired! Many thanks to Gazza and setter – onwards and upwards for today’s cryptic.

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