DT 30124 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30124

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30124

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A very good Friday morning from Winnipeg.

Amazingly, after yesterday’s loss I did find another five bob in loose change by looking down the side of chair cushions, so, as we have a Pangra where the missing letter is the 24th of the alphabet, I am confident in saying that this is a proXimal production.

Candidates for favourite – 15a, 22a, 28a, and 10d.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the Click here! buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a King having coronation (8)
CROWNING: Something we will probably have to get used to, the regnal cypher of our new King and a synonym of having.

5a Decline accompanying soldiers in retreat (6)
WITHER: A four letter synonym of accompanying followed by the abbreviated form of some familiar soldiers reversed (in retreat).

9a Reports of earnings regularly carrying little weight (9)
ANNOUNCES: Alternate letters (regularly) selected from eArNiNgS containing (carrying) a small (little) imperial unit of weight.

11a Superhuman removing leader of ancient people (5)
IONIC: A term used to describe someone who might be considered superhuman with the first letter deleted (removing leader).

12a Simple game with short cue (6)
RUSTIC: The two letter abbreviation of the name of one version of the oval ball game and (with) a synonym of cue with the last letter deleted (short).

13a Neighbourhood against chains being put on little space (8)
ENVIRONS: The single letter, based on a Latin term, used to indicate against and a synonym of chains (as in clapped in) all placed after (being put on) the small (little) version of a printer’s space.

15a Country inn seen in artefact after analysis, we hear (5,8)
CZECH REPUBLIC: A synonym of inn inserted into (seen in) a synonym of artefact and placed after a homophone (we hear) of a synonym of analysis.

18a Exceptional bus plan’s sure a hit (13)

22a Perhaps Poirot’s man given many tasks (8)
HERCULES: What could be (perhaps) an indication of possession by Monsieur Poirot using his first name (ignoring the possessive apostrophe).

23a Directive backing dock strike (6)
WALLOP: A three letter directive reversed (backing) and a synonym of dock (as in reduce in size).

26a Bung kid stuck in empty bottle (5)
BRIBE: A verbal synonym of kid (as in hoax) inserted into (stuck in) the first and last letters of (empty) BottlE.

27a Fellow nurses worn-out continued at length (7,2)
DRAGGED ON: Our usual three letter fellow contains (nurses) a synonym of worn-out.

28a Overindulge in Greek island group (6)
COSSET: The Greek island that starts with a C or a K, just make sure you guess the correct one, and a synonym of group.

29a Good man eyed new moon (8)
GANYMEDE: The single letter for Good and an anagram (new) of MAN EYED.


1d One holds garment firm on a dog (8)
COATRACK: The abbreviated form of a synonym of firm (as in business) placed before (on) A from the clue and a verbal synonym of dog (as in follow).

2d Old fluids in pens which pigs emit (5)
OINKS: The single letter for Old and fluids which go in pens.

3d Further broadcast in hours (7)
NOURISH: An anagram (broadcast) of IN HOURS.

4d Condition institution for cons (4)
NICK: A double definition – the second is an informal term.

6d First, put up plait in individual clasps (7)
INITIAL: A reversed lurker (put up . . . clasps) found in three words in the clue.

7d Awful moans stifled by composer mounting carriage (6-3)
HANSOM-CAB: An anagram (awful) of MOANS contained (stifled) by the illustrated composer reversed (mounting).

8d Foolhardy, heartless and hollow (6)
RECESS: An eight letter synonym of foolhardy with the two ‘centre’ letters removed (heartless).

10d One wrong handle lifted leads to alarm ringing (8)
SINGULAR: A three letter wrong, a synonym of handle reversed (lifted), and the initial letters (leads to) of Alarm Ringing.

14d Make pals with beer find rum (8)
BEFRIEND: An anagram (rum) of BEER FIND.

16d Attendants of European Republican deluged by questions … (9)
EQUERRIES: The single letter for European and the single letter for Republican contained (deluged) by a synonym of questions.

17d … wrongly press one for answer (8)
RESPONSE: An anagram (wrongly) of PRESS ONE.

19d That girl embracing university still rejected sleep (4-3)
SHUT-EYE: That girl represented by the feminine form of the third person singular pronoun containing (embracing) the single letter for University and a synonym of still reversed (rejected).

20d Glittering bridge above lake filling sides of gully (7)
SPANGLY: A verbal(?) synonym of bridge placed before (above) the single letter for Lake inserted into the first and last letters (filling sides) of GullY.

21d Fearing supernatural creature in picture (6)
PHOBIC: BRB verified – a three letter supernatural creature, such as Robin Goodfellow, inserted into (in) an abbreviated form of picture.

24d Erected for one party, large shelter (5)
LODGE: The reversal (erected) of all of a two letter abbreviated form of a Latin term equivalent to for one, a two letter party, and the single letter for Large.

25d Drink Rioja, not port, and case of Valpolicella (4)
JAVA: What remains after the abbreviated form of a South American port is deleted from rioJA and the first and last letters (case) of ValpolicellA.

The Quick Crossword Pun:


67 comments on “DT 30124
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  1. Very enjoyable indeed, I must have tuned into proXimal’s wavelength as this went in much quicker than the previous two days, though the moon was new, and it took me a little while to parse 13a.
    As ever with this setter lots to admire, I particularly liked 1(a good spot)&23a plus 10&24d. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Senf

  2. 3.5*/4*. The third challenging back-pager in a row and this one, like yesterday’s, was very enjoyable. I found the SW corner the hardest nut to crack.

    Good to see His Majesty making an appearance. My podium selection comprises 1a, 15a, 22a & 27a with a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    The fact that it was an x-less pangram leaves little doubt as to the identity of the setter; so, many thanks to proXImal and also to Senf.

  3. I turned 61 on Tuesday and haven’t completed a puzzle since!
    Is there a part of your brain that automatically disappears on this Birthday?

    1. I didn’t notice anything special at 61. My wife reckons it maybe connected to the amount of gin, wine and beer that accompany my crossword habit ( for clarity, I don’t drink all three at the same time). They have been a bit tricky this week too.

  4. The third backpage Toughie in a row and I am seriously considering cancelling the Daily Telegraph. Today’s was the hardest of rhe three and it was well above my pay grade. There were 7 clues that were impenetrable and a handful of others rhat I couldn’t parse. The only way todescribe it is frustrating. Thanks to Senf for the hints, which were much needed and to the compiler for his efforts, which I’m sure lovers of the Toughie will have appreciated

    1. There seem to be so few of us with similar thoughts re the crossword these days. Everyone else seems to enjoy having two Toughies to solve every day.

      1. Not me! Needed far too many hints. We are not in the minority I’m sure! But I do admire those who can crack these almost impenetrable puzzles.

    2. I totally agree Chriscross. After two hours I managed about 40% of this. Which is about my average for a DT Toughie. I have long suspected that some of the back page compilers cannot resist playing to the small gallery of accomplished puzzlers, trying to prove that their work is every bit as challenging as the ‘elite’ Toughie-setters. All it does is alienate the majority who do not post on sites like this. Partly because of this reason I now only buy the DT once or twice a week instead of five times.

  5. My initial thought for 1d was ‘trail’ for dog; luckily I did not put it in, as the word does not exist (despite the fact that I have used it in conversation in the past!).

    Many thanks to ProXimal for a most enjoyable puzzle.

    1. You weren’t alone in being on the wrong trail Hezza. I compounded it by putting rail instead of rack for 1d, which seemed logical to me but left mee going round in circles for ages.

    2. Well, it does exist but as two words … so I just thought that this was another DT error in putting the clue as (8) rather than (4,4)! When 15a dawned, reader, I kicked myself.

  6. For once I was immediately on proXimal’s wavelength and just jived along with him in this one, the best backpager of the week for me. Hard to top 1a, 15a, 22a, & 27a, but 7d edges them out by a nod and is my COTD. Loved this puzzle, not a dud in the grid. Thanks to Senf and proXimal. 2.5*/5*

    1. Robert I have started to reread my William Faulkner collection and one doesn’t have to read much to feel the wokerati might just wade in with guns firing. Has there been alarums on Faulkner recently?

      1. Well, Corky, Faulkner has always had his, as you call them, ‘wokerati’, though from my perspective they fail to find the gold in the ore they mine so carelessly. The jewels in the crown (Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, The Bear, and the Snopes Trilogy–just for starters) are still solid gold. One must place the man in his time and in his place. For me, he remains Our Man in Yoknapatawpha, our greatest 20th Century writer, and peerless.

        1. Agree with your choice Robert but I would add Light in August to it. Just started the Yoknapatawpha treasure with Sartoris. Not his best by a long way but the writing is so good and his writing on the natural world puts you in the scenes he describes.

          Thank you for your response Robert.

  7. Another nicely testing backpager that was full of excellent clues, among which was my favourite, 7d. A nod, too, to 1a which is the first time I can remember seeing CR rather than the familiar ER in a crossword.

    Thanks to proXimal and Senf.

  8. As confessed in my reply to Jezza, I fell into the ‘trail’ trap at 1d which held me up at the end of a fairly tough but doable solve.
    Ticks here went to 1,5&23a plus 7d.

    Thanks to the X-man and to Senf for the review – doubt that you found a taker for your wager today!

  9. A top-rate puzzle as we now get every Friday – thanks to proXimal and Senf.
    The new King’s cipher will, I’m sure, give lots of opportunities to setters.
    Top clues for me were 1a, 12a and 23a.

  10. Cracking puzzle, a proper Friday backpager (after all, as the Editor has said, these backpage puzzles are intended to get more challenging through the working week) to get the LGCs working. A relatively slow start (not helped by my misconstruction of 1d) saw the NW and SE largely completed, then the rest fell pretty swiftly, finishing in the NE with a resounding clang as the penny dropped on the parsing of my LOI, 11a.

    What super clues throughout, all entirely fair, most just requiring a little more work than usual. Hon Mentions to 5a, 15a, 29a (once I’d got ‘st’ out of my mind), 7d & 21d, with COTD 16d.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to Proximal & to Senf for another excellent blog.

  11. Sadly another did not finish for me.
    Needed a lot of help from Senf.
    Above my pay grade I’m afraid.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Senf.

    Still rainy here, if not currently raining, so it looks like we have no alternative but to wash the inside windows…..deep sighs all round….but bread is baking so not all is lost.

  12. Loved this puzzle, even parsed 10d. COTD 13a for me. Compared to the previous two days this felt like a return to the right level for the back page!

  13. Not the easiest puzzle in the world by any means but for me a great improvement on yesterdays offering.
    No real favourites but I have to admire the neatness of many of the clues.
    Satisfying to complete.
    Thx to all.

  14. Another brilliant puzzle to complete the working week. I was fortunate not to fall into the trap at 1d so got off to a good start. Found the NE corner most frustrating. Had the answer to 13a, but needed Senf’s help to parse it as my knowledge of printer’s spaces is somewhat limited! Favourites were 15a, 26a and 7d. Many thanks to ProXimal and Senf.

  15. Either I am getting the hang of this crossword solving or I am just being lucky this week. Another doable puzzle with only minimal electronic help. 1a, 15a, 20d all get honourable mentions with 7d wearing the laurels.

    Thanks to Senf and Proximal for a Good Friday out of season.

  16. Re 20d. You wrote “A verbal(?) synonym of bridge” as if you were unhappy with it. It’s used quite happily in the term “BASE jumping”… ;-)

    1. Your comment went into moderation because you used a different e-mail address – both should work from now on.

      I was just having second thoughts about it being more than a verbal synonym which it probably is.

  17. Another top-notch puzzle, making 3 on the trot. Great clues, a toughish challenge and an enjoyable skirmish. Of the ones I’ve ticked I’ll pick 7d as my favourite. 3.5*/4*.

  18. Hurrah
    Just completed my third in a row Toughie-like puzzle.
    And unaided.
    But in 5* time.
    What a struggle!
    Last in 11 and 13a, both absolute gems.
    Always relish ProXimal’s.
    Many thanks and to Senf.

  19. Certainly a week of tough puzzles, maybe just the ageing process!
    Well clued throughout, last in was 1d which took me too long to parse, must confess on a bung in for 15a.
    Favourite was 11d,liked the surfaces of 21d and27a.
    Going for a****/****

  20. Having managed to complete all three of the last challenging ones I realise that my system has been perfected:
    1. Locate all anagrams and solve
    2 Now you have some letters bung in the most unlikely words that fit regardless of whether it seems to make sense
    3. When you realise you can’t understand why it is right check with the day’s blogger who will explain it for you.
    Job done.
    Thanks to all setters and bloggers – but I must say I particularly enjoyed Thursday.

    1. Thank you for that – now I don’t feel like quite an unrivalled neophyte.
      I enjoyed Thursday too – lots of new words.
      Thanks to all who obfuscate and to all who illuminate.

  21. Wow I found that a real hassle without many lighter moments but surprised myself by finishing. It took ages. NE held out longest. The cue synonym for 22a a bit broad but perhaps it’s a known colloquial term. 24d was a bung-in. Just hoping that Saturday’s exercise is more friendly than recent offerings. No Favs. Thank you proXimal and Senf.

  22. Finished without help for the answers, but as usual parsing (or, rather, inability to parse) let me down in places. Still, I’m counting it as a win! I liked 5A and 29A in particular Thanks, Senf and ProXimal.

    The toughie will go the way of all Friday toughies…ignored for the sake of my mental well-being.

  23. Difficult but doable. I too fell into the ‘trail’ trap but I couldn’t parse ‘Irish’ so I decided it must be wrong. Taking of parsing it took an age for the penny to drop in 13a and I had to check 25d which I hadn’t heard of. Still, great fun. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to ProXimal and Senf.

  24. I am afraid I fell at the Friday hurdle 🏇😳 yet again *****/*** The clues once explained are so very clever and “cryptic” but I don’t think that I would have ever solved 10d 🤔 without assistance! Favourites 11a & 2d. Thanks to Senf, who I believe is himself a Compiler, and to ProXimal 😬 PS I really enjoyed the Quicky phrase 👍

  25. Some rather odd clues today with parsing hard to figure out. In addition some weird words in the answers too.
    Not for me today with 6 or so unsolved so a DNF

    Not my cuppa today … too obscure.

    Thanks to setter and Senf

  26. The 3rd corker in a row. Wouldn’t go as far as saying I jived through it like Robert but happily meandered round the grid for a brisk finish having clocked the likely X- less pangram early doors. Thankfully coat rail didn’t occur so no problems on that score other than (wrongly I’m sure) thinking surely that’s 2 words or at least hyphenated. 12&23a my top two – nicely clued throughout
    Thanks to ProXimal & Senf

  27. A real test again today, bottom half went in slowly but steadily, the top half I found a really tough nut to crack. Got there in the end after much head-scratching, though on reflection, everything (except 3d) was well clued as usual from the X-man.
    Though the anagram at 3d was the obvious answer with the checkers, I can’t reconcile this with the wordplay.
    Thanks to the setter for a great puzzle and Senf for the hints (? 3d).
    As an aside, I booked a Flu jab for this morning and a Covid jab for tomorrow via the NHS website (at different venues, being the suggested options). I attended for the Flu this morning and was asked if I wanted the Covid there and then, rather than visit the other venue tomorrow and duly accepted. On returning home I went back into the NHS site to cancel tomorrow’s appointment only to be met with a blank refusal to cancel as my “appointment is today Saturday 22nd October and cannot be cancelled, contact us tomorrow to book a revised date”. So presumably I shall be logged as a “failed to attend” tomorrow. Anyone else encountered this, or similar?

    1. What else can I say on 3d – the definition (further) is in the entry for the answer in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary, so fair game.

      1. Thanks for that Senf, I don’t have the luxury of the CCD, but having rechecked in my BRB, where there is no direct reference to “nourish” in “further” and vice-versa, I can now see the “further nourishment” connection…….. funny old language we got, ain’t it.

    2. Yes, same here.
      I had to wait a day before I could cancel.
      Instead, now, I phoned my local surgery and am on the waiting list for a home visit for both the
      booster and flu jab. God knows how long!
      That stupid NHS booking site needs to enable cancellation at any time.

  28. Another back pager that was nearing Toughie standard. Still, it had (I think) the first use of ‘CR’ for the (new) King.

  29. Words fail me. Why do I waste money buying the Telegraph? After struggling to solve four clues I just gave up. Three extra tough toughies in a row calling themselves backpagers is way beyond my pay grade, but maybe the powers that be have decided that this site is only for the cruciverbalist elite. It is so sad that the pleasure of the mental battle of ultimately solving at least most of the clues seems to have gone. Very many thanks to Senf for all the hard work in providing the hints and to the setter for providing an extremely clever puzzle.

  30. I could not quite finish the crossword this morning – very challenging for me (but enjoyable at the same time). Things were not helped by my answer to 1d (coatrail).

  31. Thought 1d was Coatrack [ which parses pretty much the same as the answer ] and as a result ended up in the Irish , not Czech , Republic! Funny, but slightly annoying .

    1. 1d is coatrack. Irish would not fit the clue. Czech sounds like check. Irish doesn’t. Only just done this having had Birthday and Golden Wedding yesterday. I don’t understand some of the comments. This was not a Toughie whereas the previous two days were.

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