DT 30122 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30122

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30122

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

Another Logman Toughie day so “Guess the Setter” is the game you’re all invited to play.

Plenty here to keep us amused during what we found to be quite a challenging solve, particularly 13d which we pondered over for ages.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Believer a bit wet? Not the fellow being imprisoned (10)
MONOTHEIST : A word meaning a bit wet or dampish encloses ‘not’ from the clue and a masculine personal pronoun.

6a     Desdemona’s husband maybe in a desolate place (4)
MOOR : A double definition. Desdemona is from a Shakespeare play, set in Venice.

9a     In which one must have the drive to win? (10)
MOTORSPORT : A cryptic definition for something like F1.

10a     Some trouble afoot? Maybe one’s fallen in the wood (4)
LEAF : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

13a     Violent expression of sorrow before swilling gin (7)
TEARING : What may be expressed from one’s eye in a time of sorrow, then an anagram (swilling) of GIN.

15a     Saw agent dressed in brown (6)
TREPAN : A light brown colour contains an agent or commercial traveller.

16a     A gee-gee pinned by the German weapon (6)
DAGGER : ‘A’ from the clue and gee-gee written as letters are inside one version of the German definite article.

17a     I’ll be hanged if I do? Not so! (5,3,7)
CHEAT THE GALLOWS : An expression meaning get off more lightly than deserved. We’re not sure if there is more to the wordplay than this. Any thoughts?

18a     Portrayed wise man with hidden identity? Quite the opposite (6)
IMAGED : An old word for a wise man is inside two letters for identifying papers.

20a     Country almost liberated with introduction of political party? (6)
FRANCE : A South African political party is inside a word meaning ‘liberated’ without its last letter.

21a     Wise person collecting bill is about to get refunds (7)
REBATES : A wise person who might predict the future contains a mainly N. American bill. All of this is reversed (is about).

22a     Woman — one is more than a little breezy, we hear (4)
GAIL : A homophone of a significant wind.

25a     Attendant in skimpy attire meeting with street protest? (10)
MINISTRANT : Skimpy attire from the 1960’s, then ST(reet) and a protest or diatribe.

26a     Wild cats — not hers for long (4)
PANT : Remove ‘hers’ from a type of wild cats.

27a     Effect of wind and rain could make one white with anger (10)
WEATHERING : An anagram (could make) of WHITE and ANGER.


1d     I am upset, your setter? I am speechless! (4)
MIME : The short way of writing ‘I am’ is reversed (upset) then the pronoun the setter would use when referring to himself.

2d     Heads? Crazy people (4)
NUTS : A double definition.

3d     Vessel containing cut grass that’s used for soup! (6)
TUREEN : A large barrel or vessel contains a grass that might be used for thatching without its last letter.

4d     One using brain is engaged by boffin who works in the lab? (15)
EXPERIMENTALIST : Roman numeral one and a word meaning using brain and ‘IS’ from the clue are all inside a word for a boffin or buff.

5d     Money buried under street or seashore? (6)
STRAND : ST(reet) then South African money.

7d     Like mode of transport traversing sporting venue? (10)
OVERGROUND : A preposition meaning traversing and a general word for a sporting venue.

8d     Mix of red trees — when wild land has been this? (10)
REFORESTED : An anagram (mix) of OF RED TREES.

11d     Job of someone building piles is making sense (8,2)
STACKING UP : A double definition.

12d     What could make a Rev. intone in worship? (10)
VENERATION : An anagram (what could make) of A REV INTONE.

13d     Sailor imbibes champagne substitute — fifth-rate or more flavoursome? (7)
TASTIER : A three letter word for a sailor contains a sparkling wine from Italy and the letter denoting fifth-rate. This wordplay gives us one extra letter which we don’t know what to do with.  Changing the first word of the clue to Turkey would fix it. Any other thoughts? 

Amended on-line clue.
13d      Short period imbibing champagne substitute that’s more flavoursome? (7
A period of time that could be part of a school year loses its last letter and contains a sparkling wine from Italy.

14d     Guards so large doing turns (7)
GAOLERS : An anagram (doing turns) of SO LARGE.

19d     Dirty line of soldiers (6)
DEFILE : A double definition. Dirty here is a verb.

20d     Repair fine kitchen vessel without its lid (6)
FETTLE : F(ine) and a kitchen vessel used for heating water without its first letter.

23d     Garment is taken up for a queen to wear (4)
SARI : ‘IS’ from the clue is reversed and contains ‘A’ from the clue and the designation for a monarch.

24d     Animal in dramatic situation, losing tail (4)
STAG : Remove the last letter from a dramatic situation or platform for a play.

Quickie pun    inner    +    scents    =   innocence

61 comments on “DT 30122
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  1. The faulty 13d clue has been replaced in the on-line puzzles site with the following:

    13 Short period imbibing champagne substitute that’s more flavoursome? (7)

          1. Yes, I know. There are two As shown in the answer in my comment. I was just explaining to EB, who didn’t seem to fully understand the problem with the original clue.

  2. 4*/1*. My eyebrows were going up and down while solving this and I am sorry to say I didn’t enjoy it much with 13d being the last straw. I won’t say any more.

  3. I found this the most difficult backpager for some considerable time – the game of Guess the Setter brought up two possible suspects so I’ll be interested to see if anyone turns up to claim ownership. Those looking for Jay will find him in the other crossword.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and the setter

  4. Good puzzle which for once I spent time thinking about and came up with some answers to clues I thought at first would be part of a DNF. He who must not be mentioned gave some good advice before he was unceremoniously ushered out of the door.

    Managed 13d without the change and 18a is a word I would never use but the four edge clues helped a lot. 25a my pick of the rest.

    Just read the comments above which go to show how our perception of puzzles vary.

    Thanks to the 2Ks and the setter. I only know the setter when they are identified in the blog or by other puzzlers so no guesses from me.

  5. I’m glad that I was not alone in querying 13d. The repair meaning of 20d was unknown to me – no doubt it is to be found in Chambers. I agree with CS that some of the clues were more challenging than usual. Thanks to setter, 2Ks, CS and Gazza.

    1. re:20d this word is often used in North Yorkshire to mean “repair” as in “A’ve fe##led tha motor n job’s a good ‘un.”

    2. My late mother-in-law worked in the potteries industry, as a ‘fettler and sponger’ – cleaning up the joins in the damp clay where e.g. handle and spout have been joined to the main body of a teapot.

      1. Love your pseudonym – I spent many a happy hour with my two daughters when they were younger engaged in that occupation.

  6. A very tricky puzzle today, almost creeping into Toughie Territory, it was like pulling teeth to finish it. I had my doubts about 13d, like others and had to look at the hint for 27a, since, with my Geography/ Geology teacher hat on ,cthe definition seemed not quite ade quate to the solution. However, 1a was a very clever lego clue a d 11a a good double definition. I had to find my crystal ball, hidden behind the Big Red Book for a couple of the cryptic definitions, but all fell into place once a few checkers went in. Many thanks to the Kiwis for the hints and to Mister Ron, the compiler.

  7. Holy moly that was a challenge. Completely agree with CS that it was the toughest backpager for some time. I got about as far as our reviewers parsing 13d but it required a missing A. Last in (eventually) was 25a & had to get Mr G to tell me what one was. Like RD can’t say I was much taken with the puzzle though I did like 1,20&27a.
    Thanks anyway to the setter & 2Ks for the review.
    Ps dread to think what Brian will have to say about this. Yesterday’s excellent Hudson Toughie an option for those looking for a fun & much more gentle puzzle. Logman today isn’t really trickier either.

  8. 13d rather spoilt this for me too. I found a few of the clues a little awkward to solve, but that just might have been me. 27a was a neat and topical anagram so that became my favourite.

    Thanks to our as yet unidentified setter and the 2Ks

  9. Agree that this puzzle was the most difficult for a while, something was lacking in 13d maybe the A was meant to be shared by the sailor and the drink!
    Last in was 25a, a new word for me but located in my Chambers.
    Took a while to solve 17a, seen this before somewhere.
    4d was a tad clumsy, favourite was 11d,eventually parsed 1a.
    Going for a ****/***

  10. A humourless grind with a dated feel and a few obscure religious terms – I know where my 50p in the “Guess the Setter” sweep is going. Afraid to say that I didn’t enjoy this much.

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  11. Enjoyed the Logman Toughie, not so much this one. Not feeling up to par, I ended up seeking some letter reveals and managed to finish the puzzle that way. Just not a good day for me. It happens. I did like 1a, 11d, & 1d, Thanks to the Kiwis and today’s setter. ****/**

  12. Not so enjoyable today though I don’t know why. Never heard the phrase at 17a before but the answer was obvious, as was the answer at 13d which I saw as an oversight in the clueing. I liked 1a, 20a and 25a. Managed without the hints but was interested to see the comments in relation to 13d in case I’d missed some subtlety. Thanks to the compiler and 2Kiwis.

  13. I can’t remember a back-pager where I’ve had to work so hard for an unaided finish, I’m surprised it got past the editor.
    1&25a were new to me but luckily they were quite sympathetically clued.
    Nothing really jumped out at me as favourite but I did enjoy solving it so many thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  14. Had a few ‘well I suppose so’ moments with this one, not helped by that fact that I hadn’t come across 17a previously – GK sadly missing! Have to confess that I slotted in 13d without spotting the error until our 2Ks pointed it out.
    Top three here were 10a – reminds me of a poem, 20a – nicely done and 20d, a splendid word.

    Thanks to our setter (NYDK?) and to our 2Ks for the review – lovely illustration for 26a.

  15. A cracking and most enjoyable solve, generally speedy and uneventful with the exception of four clues in the S which took nearly as long as the rest combined. Felt about right for a Wednesday. Unaffected by the 13d problem as I only get the online edition of the puzzle. Some lovely “less common” word usages, and definitions one might usually encounter some way down the list in the BRB.

    Quite spoiled for choice with nominations for the podium – 1a was a wonderful combined surface read and answer; 26a for the Doh! moment as the penny dropped. Enjoyed the clever construction and direction of 27a; 1d another laugh-out-loud moment. COTD to 15a for being so wonderfully misleading with such a smooth surface read.

    2.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to the mysterious setter (I’m inclined to agree with Jane, NYDK could be a good call) and to the 2Ks.

  16. Agree with the majority today, I found this more of a Friday rather than a midweek back-pager, though far from Elgar or Osmosis toughie fare.
    1a & 25a required the BRB though fairly clued, 17a came to me straightaway but I had difficulty matching the wordplay.
    Tend to agree that NYDK is a likely candidate for setter as he usually has me rattled.
    Thanks to the 2Ks for confirming my bung-ins.

  17. Very poor. A number of clues that just don’t parse, very rare words, 1a,15a.18a,20d 25a. Didn’t like 12a although not difficult to guess; 9a is weak.21a could do without the “is”. Hope the Toughie gets me back in a good mood!

  18. Oh dear – I really can’t do this at all – I needed more hints more than I managed to cope with “my own self”!
    I’ve never heard of 17a.
    I think I’m giving up.
    Thanks to the setter and to the very brave 2K’s.
    Am I the only one who thought of sticking out my neck and suggesting Giovanni’s today’s setter – probably pushing my luck a bit but who knows . . . ?

    1. Could well be, Kath … and with a few of those goldarned religious clues thrown in for good measure just to get someone’s goat!

      If it is the Don, that could explain why I enjoyed it so much – one of my favourite setters.

    2. Kath, I found it tough also and thought I might have to throw in the towel but a sudden inspiration gave me the solution to one clue (I don’t recall which one) which then unlocked the rest of the puzzle.

      I hope you saw my response to your comment on Monday regarding the RayT clue. It was posted fairly late your time.

  19. What a variety of responses! I’m with Huntsman in the Holy Moly camp, I struggled, mostly with satisfactorily parsing guesses. I liked 5d and 14a. I did know 17a and had to look up the repair reference for 20d, is that where we get being in fine fettle? Many thanks to the setter for making me work hard and to the two K’s for the help.

  20. Finished–just about– but not until after banging my head against the wall a few times and revealing all five letters. On that basis, I can’t say I enjoyed it much but as always I appreciate the setters who put themselves out there to entertain us on a daily basis. So thanks to today’s setter, whoever he may be, and the 2Ks.

  21. Wow a Wednesday/Thursday toughie on the back page! 13d has already been commented on, but how is the answer to 19d a line of soldiers. Rank clue? 50th entry in the BRB?
    *****/* for me.

    1. 19d is defined in the BRB as ‘to march off in single file’ or a long pass or passageway in which troops can only march in single file’

      1. So I could say the soldiers defiled into the defile and found it defiled so defiled back out. English language, so many words so many meanings…..

  22. Still no sure about 17a. Cheat the gallows is a well-known saying, but what does the first part of the clue mean? Is it a faulty clue as 13d?.

    1. You’ve changed your alias again – this time using your full name

      I think the clue is trying to say that if you don’t 17a, you’ll be hanged

  23. A tricky little beggar with some sloppy clues. The answer to 20d does not mean repair at least not in my copy of the BRB:
    “Condition, trim or form, esp in in fine ******
    A lining of loose sand or ore for a furnace”
    26a is just simply a dreadful clue and for me at least 25a is a new word which I had to look up.
    It was a Curates Egg of a crossword for me.
    Thx for the hints.

    1. Brian, if you keep reading the entry in the BRB you will find …

      vt to make ready, set in order or arrange; to tidy up (dialect)

  24. Well this was a walk in the park compared to trying to set up 2 TVs with Sky Stream. I enjoyed the puzzle and finished unaided but admit it was a tricky little number. Our TV aerial blew off the roof a month ago so decided to join Sky. The engineer said there were too many trees for a dish to work so I opted for Sky Stream. OMG I am nearly bald – no instructions and Customer Services say they don’t send engineers for Sky Stream. 2 x 2 hour telephone calls! Left it for a day and somehow managed to set it up by sheer luck – why send no instructions? No idea what the buttons on the remote are for – why is technology so damn complicated!! Grrrr – rant over.

    1. What a bind! As with most technology problems, I say to George go out and find a ten year old – it will be sorted in a trice!

  25. A really good Wednesday puzzle. Mostly fine clues, a stiff challenge and an enjoyable tussle. I didn’t notice the flaw in 13d, just bunged it in on autopilot – who needs any word-play with a definition like that? Fav: 15a. 4*/4*.

  26. I agree with Rabbit Dave and many others about this puzzle. Bizarre would be a word to describe it too, along with a few other words.
    Unknown words for me in 1a, 15a, 25a. Some weird definitions too. For example 13d and 20d
    Not a fun solve today.
    4*/1* my rating today

    Favourites …? … um, NO!

    Thanks to the 2K’s for muddling through this mess.
    This puzzle was 2d

  27. Had to walk away a few times and come back hoping fresh eyes and brain would help. Alas, it was too tough for me today. Hearty thanks to the 2Kiwis for much needed hints.

  28. Needed quite a bit of help with this puzzle, but overall enjoyable 😬 ****/*** Favourites 21a and 5 & 13d! Thanks to the 2 x Ks and to the Compiler who, if nothing else, produced material for a very interesting blog 😳

  29. By 5pm I had given up picking up and putting down whilst waiting for inspiration. So have given up.
    Now looking at the answers I am sure I would never have got there so not a happy experience for me sadly.
    Well done to those who made it.

  30. Kudos the the expert level cruciverbalists who could solve this.

    So off the wavelength for this, I didn’t even get as far as 13d before going off to do something else that didn’t make my brain hurt.

    Why are there 2 toughies today?

    1. If you usually get on well with Jay’s Wednesday cryptics, have a look at the “Toughie”, as it is definitely more like one of those puzzles than a Logman Toughie

  31. Morning all.
    We’ve just put up the amended on-line version of the clue for 13d. We had checked it on both sites before going to bed last night and it was then still the original version. Don’t imagine that the error held many people up much as the answer is a 7 letter word with 5 of them being checked as well as a very clear definition. It was only the poor bloggers who have to completely parse everything who had to struggle.
    Note that the setter hasn’t popped in yet to claim the puzzle. We’re not even going to hazard a guess with this one.

    1. Well said…. And “poor” bloggers made us chuckle – we read this to mean the (unfortunate) bloggers who are so intellectually precise as to require exact unequivocal structures… like us.

      Mr & Mrs Pedantic

  32. Toughie territory.
    Took two sessions but completed unaided.
    Nearly every clue made me delve deeply into the grey matter.
    Luckily constructed 25a correctly, a new word for me.
    And the last in.
    Thanks to the setter for this real challenge and to the 2Kiwis.

  33. Alarm bells always ring and spirits drop when I find the toughie much more accessible than the back pager. This was no exception with so many dubious clues. Both the setter and the DT person responsible for commissioning this work should hang their heads in shame, and learn lessons.

  34. We enjoyed this immensely, except for Mr T describing the drilling of holes in my skull (please don’t give him ideas Captain Scarlet- if it is you). And thanks to our Antipodean guides.

    COD was 9a, non-COD was 18a.

    Mrs T

  35. Reading other bloggers’ comments and indeed the hints reassures me that I wasn’t alone in my judgment of this as a vexation and for me the most demanding DT ever hence dnf. If it is a product of the usually appealing Giovanni I will eat my hat. Enough said! Thanks 2Kiwis for your hints but not sure what to say to the setter.

  36. 5/1. I’m normally tolerant of setters doing their job but this was a real piece of work with little or no satisfaction from my perspective. Nuff said. Thanks to the 2Ks.

  37. Yet again we have a toughie masquerading as a backpager. When will those in charge of selecting the day’s puzzles ever learn. This was way beyond my poor brain and I just gave up – very disappointing nnot to have any pleasure in this. Thanks to the 2 K’s for all their hard work.

  38. 4*/2*…
    liked 26A ” Wild cats — not hers for long (4)” …. nice picture in the hint !
    also liked 15A ” Saw agent dressed in brown (6)” …. would be unfair to say that solving this crossword has made me feel as though my brain had undergone the operation described in the answer !

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