DT 30178 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30178

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30178

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A very good Friday morning from Winnipeg where, not unexpectedly, we are in the deep freeze while British Columbia is ‘closed’ as a result of ice and snow for which it does not have enough equipment or the expertise to use what it does have and Ontario and all points East are experiencing a Weather Bomb, also known as an ‘Explosive Cyclogenesis,’ which, presumably, might continue its Eastern journey and be ‘across the pond’ just in time for New Year.

Silvanus was ‘on duty’ last Friday and ‘on Toughie duty’ yesterday so is very unlikely to make an appearance today.  That leaves the two other members of the Friday triumvirate and today there are no signs of multiple Xs or a pangram except for an X so my five bob is on this being a Zandio production or perhaps it is by A. N. Other.

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 Apt, possibly, to present Fred and Ginger’s speciality (3-7)
TAP-DANCING: APT from the clue used as anagram material (possibly) combined with a word that could be an anagram indicator to create (present) the answer.

6a Tiny mite that delivers half the letters (4)
ATOM: Written as (1-2-1) half of the letters (in the alphabet).

9a 14, wearing this?! (5)
ROUGE: A type of cosmetic that, when applied, will create the effect in 14a.

10a Seasonal event with sadly miscast entertaining personnel (9)
CHRISTMAS: An anagram (sadly) of MISCAST containing (entertaining) the two letter abbreviation of (personnel) department.

12a Page with scripture passage: Our Lady’s clothed in blue maybe (7,6)
PRIMARY COLOUR: Guess a lady inserted into (clothed in) the single letter for Page, and (with) one of the sets of letters for scripture (lessons), a synonym of passage, and OUR from the clue.

14a Embarrassed being 12 and overlooked (3-5)
RED-FACED: An example of the answer to 12a and a synonym of overlooked.

15a Oscar cuts tubas for broadcast — they’ll be hidden under the surface (1-5)
U-BOATS: The letter represented phonetically by Oscar inserted into (cuts) an anagram (for broadcast) of TUBAS.

17a Heart shown by popular bank (6)
INSIDE: A two letter synonym of popular and a synonym of bank.

19a Sue flipped price tag — it illustrates trousers (8)
LITIGATE: A reversed lurker (flipped . . . trousers) found in four words in the clue.

21a Country briefly capturing the heart of its ruler’s father and son (6,7)
UNITED KINGDOM: the father and both sons of this country’s current ruler had/have a 4-letter title where the central two letters are the country’s usual abbreviation.

24a What often follows Yuletide games? Unfortunately, anger must! (9)
ARGUMENTS: An anagram (unfortunately) of ANGER MUST.

25a In retirement, occasionally encountered piquant Noel lassitude (5)
ENNUI: Word of the week? Alternate letters (occasionally encountered) selected from the reversal (in retirement) of pIqUaNt NoEl.

26a Stops tips (4)
ENDS: A double definition – need I say more.

27a Synthetic tree decoration with timer at first going too quickly (5,5)
FALSE START: A synonym of synthetic and a (Christmas) tree decoration with (and) the first letter of Timer.


1d Eurasian offering Sunday’s roast with 33 per cent off (4)
TURK: What will most likely be the roast on this coming Sunday (the last) 33 per cent removed (off).

2d Opted to get round my boss! (7)
PLUMPED: A single word for to get round (as in to swell) and the two letter abbreviated form of this, or any, setter’s boss.

3d For instance, James Stewart fantasy ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (8,5)
AMERICAN DREAM: What the described film could be an example of in terms of hopes and aspirations in the USA.

4d Bike to bridge in the morning going down to new plant (8)
CYCLAMEN: A synonym of bike containing (to bridge) the two letter Latin based abbreviation for in the morning and followed by (going down to) the single letter for New.

5d Wound up in big city catching Queen on Five (5)
NERVY: The two letter abbreviated form of a big (USA) city containing (catching) the regnal cypher of one of two Queens placed before (on) the roman numeral for five.

7d Upcoming Test pitch needs rolling before a fair game (7)
TOMBOLA: The reversal (upcoming) of the abbreviated form of a (vehicle inspection) test and a three letter synonym of pitch reversed (needs rolling) placed before A from the clue.

8d Lovers seeing film, ‘Hair’, sharing time (10)
MISTRESSES: The single letter for Time is shared between a synonym of film (ending in T) and a synonym of hair (beginning with T) .

11d Lack of sense caused by a fall? (4,9)
SNOW BLINDNESS: A type of precipitation (the white fluffy stuff) can cause a temporary deleterious effect on one of our five senses.

13d Perhaps drawing used by copper delayed arresting the writer, say (10)
ARTICULATE: What drawing may be considered to be (perhaps) placed before (used by) the chemical symbol for copper and a synonym of delayed containing (arresting) the perpendicular pronoun representing the writer (say).

16d Admires northbound lasses in oilskin coats (8)
LIONISES: A reversed lurker (northbound . . . coats) found in three words in the clue.

18d Knocked back seconds with syrup on top (7)
SWIGGED: The single letter for Seconds and (with) the ‘translation’ of the abbreviated Cockney expression of syrup on top.

20d Bullets turned in, plus a chemical used in explosives (7)
AMMONIA: A familiar contraction of a collective noun for bullets, IN from the clue, and (plus) A from the clue

22d Clue: ‘A welcoming northern country‘ (5)
KENYA: A synonym of clue and A from the clue containing (welcoming) the single letter for Northern.

23d Facility that’s furnished for 10 (4)
GIFT: A double definition – the first relates to a talent.

Quick Crossword Pun:


I don’t usually include a music selection on a Friday but it’s (almost) Christmas and if you were in Hawaii this is how you would offer Season’s Greetings to those around you (although I think that the video might have been ‘borrowed’ from somewhere else):

80 comments on “DT 30178
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  1. Hells bells! Yesterdays Toughie was easier than this. Managed to finish but more by luck than judgement needing a considerable amount of guesswork. Far too difficult for a back pager. Very little fun, just a tedious slog.
    Thx for the hints to explain my answers to 22d, 25a, 8d, 13d and 16d.

  2. A tough ****/*** end to the week but with some pleasing clues including 2, 11&13d with my favourite being 11d. Thanks for the hints Senf which I needed to understand 6a. Nice Christmas theme. Thanks to the setter.

  3. Quite the mixture between cheery seasonal answers and violent ways to end up in smithereens.

    Sad to hear George Cohen has died leaving only Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst with us of the team from that glorious day in 1966.

    Thanks to the setter and The Man From Manitoba.

    1. Sad news indeed – a fine representative from the better team from SW6 and spent his entire playing career there, something that never happens these days.

      1. As did Jimmy Armfield at Blackpool and he should have been in the team. A great player, a great captain, and as he showed on Saturday afternoons a great reader of the game.

  4. This took me a little longer than I might have expected for a Friday but I got there in the end with a couple of parsings holding me up. I do prefer a Christmas-themed puzzle that isn’t blindingly obvious, so this was much appreciated. 3d was clever and nicely topical, but my favourite was 7d.

    It certainly felt like a Zandio production, so thanks to him (and apologies to the real setter if not), and to Senf.

      1. We needed clue to parse this one.
        The King, his father and his son are/were both dukes. The heart of duke is UK. I had to read clue a couple of times to get it.

  5. 4*/1*. I found this tough and it didn’t float my boat at all, I’m sorry to say. 15d was the strangest of several strange surfaces and, I know it’s nit picking, but why not accurately state “one third off” in 1d rather than inaccurately “33 per cent off”? I won’t say any more but thanks anyway to the setter and also to Senf.

  6. I filled a lot of this in on a “wing and a prayer” and it was only when going over it to nail the parsings (thanks Senf re 21a) that I fully appreciated the cleverness and wit of the wordplay. The theme certainly helped too.
    Lots of smiles but I’ll highlight the two lurkers, very similarly indicated, plus 1a&1d along with 7d but joint favourites are 6a and the lol 18d.
    Many thanks to Zandio and Senf and season’s greetings to both

    1. You and I have to thank Gazza for 21a – I had total brain failure on that one and fortunately he responded to my SOS e-mail and provided the hint this morning.

  7. I feel a bit better now I’ve seen our reviewer’s difficulty rating assessment. Struggled to get on wavelength from the off – the first read through yielded only 2 answers. Eventually put it down less than half complete & as is often the case all became clearer at the second bash but by then I was into Toughie time. Reading back through not sure why I found it so hard as there’s nothing obscure & the wordplay isn’t overly convoluted, though I wouldn’t have parsed 21a in a month of Sundays. Some great clues in there – tops for me was 11d with podium spots for the 2 well concealed lurkers at 16d&19a. Ticks also for1,6&27a plus 1,3&8d.
    Thanks to the setter (Zandio a good call) & to Senf.

  8. A proper Friday-level puzzle – thanks to the setter and Senf.
    1a certainly seems to be in fashion currently.
    For my podium I’ve selected 6a, 27a and 7d.

  9. Even though I managed to finish this one (with some e-help, however), I didn’t find it very pleasurable. Trying to parse 21a wore me out, quite frankly, and I just gave up on that. I’ll settle on 25a as my favourite. Thanks to Senf and today’s setter. *****/**

    More importantly, since we’ve now heard from ChrisCross that her husband is hospitalised with recurring encephalitis issues, let us send our very best thoughts and kindest wishes to them, with the hope that the season has many blessings for both of them.

    1. I’d missed that update. Best wishes to them both.
      Robert you should have a look at Paul’s puzzle in the Graun as pretty sure the theme will appeal as much to you as it did to me

      1. Thanks for the tip, Huntsman, and I hope to get to the Paul later on. I actually finished the proXimal Toughie last night on my own, which may be the first Toughie of his that I have conquered without any outside help.

    2. Oh dear, sorry to hear that he is back in the hospital. My thoughts and with both of them, and hoping for the best possible outcome, and that they can get some joy this festive season. My very best wishes to Chris and her husband.

  10. Hello, compiler here. Thanks for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss. ‘My boss’ thought this was on the easy side for a Friday Zandio, and said he had considered publishing it tomorrow. Different strokes, I guess! Have a great Christmas, especially if you find time for the Dec 25 Sunday Toughie.

      1. Thanks for the analysis, Senf. In case anyone’s bothered, 3d uses wordplay plus definition, rather than an overall cryptic definition. Thank you for taking the trouble to break down these puzzles every week in the middle of the Canadian night. Have a good Christmas.

    1. Thanks to your boss I have seen your Sunday Toughie and I loved it. Not yet tackled this so my own comparisons will have to wait a bit. Thanks for entertaining us in all your guises and slots and A very merry Christmas and a happy new year from the beehive.

  11. Not for me I’m afraid. Far too many abstruse clues for a Backpager . Eg 12a,21a,3d,11d ,18d- all long clues as well . Guessable when you have a few letters , but still … I also jib at clues which reference other clues [ 9a,23d ] and having the same answer [25a] two days running ….. Bet the Toughies easier when I get there !

    1. I don’t normally go anywhere near Friday Toughies especially if Elgar or Osmosis feature but reckon you’re right about today’s one. Haven’t finished it yet but it’s certainly no more difficult than Zandio & they could easily have swapped envelopes

  12. Needed help for a couple but, otherwise, a most enjoyable festive offering. One of the ones that eluded me was 13d – far too convoluted for my few remaining grey cells. The 24a anagram raised a smile because it is so true. I loved the concise 26a, which was so obvious I failed to see it for ages. Two are viewing for the top spot – 6a and 20d with the former being awarded my COTD.

    Many thanks to Zandio for the fun and to Senf. Merry Christmas to you both and thanks for all the entertainment during the year.

    Rain, rain and even more rain in The Marches.

  13. Found this heavy going indeed but managed to finish unaided. Preferred yesterday’s Toughie. No favourites but thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  14. Didn’t find this as tough as others seem to have done but neither did I derive much enjoyment from it. Not to worry, yesterday offered two gems for me and I shouldn’t be greedy!

    Thanks anyway to Zandio and also to Senf for his dedication to ‘duty’.

  15. An excellent Friday puzzle that offered a rigorous Toughie-like challenge. Great clues provided an enjoyable tussle. Some of the clues did have rather strange/quirky surfaces, but that’s fine by me – there’s no obligation that all surfaces must be completely smooth every time. In my book the surface read is decidedly secondary to the word-play, which must be precise. I’ve ticked a few but will mention 7d because it has good/comprehensive crickety misdirection in the surface. 4*/4*.

  16. Certainly toughie standard today and a long drawn out solve.
    Great pleasure on completion when the clever lurkers went in after a scatter gun approach to the rest
    Has to be a ****/*****-**

  17. Absolutely agree with Brian (1st comment). I hope you enjoyed it Senf because I found it too esoteric by half. If this is what Christmas has to offer-bring on Easter!!!

  18. This is the kind of cleverness I appreciate (and, for what it’s worth, I’m with Zandio’s boss in finding it easier than average) — thank you to them and to Senf for explaining the passage in 12a, which was knew to me.

    For favourites I couldn’t decide between the two reverse lurkers, the cunning definitions of 13d and 7d … so instead I’m going for 6a.

    Thanks, all — and Merry Christmas to all of this year’s setters, bloggers, and commenters.

  19. Way to hard for this bear of little brain! I’m glad I’ve got yesterday’s toughie to have a crack at, that gets good reviews. Sorry Zandio but yet again, thoroughly beaten by one of your puzzles which are almost impenetrable to me! Thanks to Senf for the answers. Merry Christmas to both.

  20. Blimey that was tough! Probably the hardest one that I’ve actually completed all year. Took an age to get 23d even though I had 2 letters in it, but wouldn’t give in. Favourites today were 1d and 6a. Will look in the other comments to see who the sadist, sorry, setter was. Well done.

  21. I’m with Smylers on this one, I often struggle with Zandio but not today, the finishing post was reached without any need for the whip. Couldn’t parse 19a, my clue of the day when I spotted the cleverly concealed reverse lurker!
    Seasonal Greetings to Zandio (thanks for owning-up) and Senf for the blog.

  22. 21a is referring to Duke I assume, but it’s a very tenuous clue which is more like a Friday toughie! Not a nice crossword to solve for me ****/*.

  23. I was so far off the wavelength of this one as to be on a different planet. I got half a dozen, two of which were guesses and gave up the struggle. Not a lot of fun. I was relieved to see it wasn’t just me, though!

  24. I thought this was proper Friday test! It got the grey matter going nicely and although like others I struggled to parse a few although the answers couldn’t be much else. I enjoyed it immensely!!

    Thanks to Zandio and Senf and Merry Xmas all!!

  25. A great crossword for the last day of work before the festive season, lots of apt answers. I think my favourite is 1a for the wordplay.

    Did anyone else notice the secondary pun on the quickie? 18a, 23a and 25a?

    1. Your comment went into moderation because you used a different alias (compared to two years ago) – both should work from now on.

  26. I got about half-way before hitting a brick wall. Eventually I finished, but needed about 5 or 6 hints to do so and too often found that even with the right answer I couldn’t parse it. Being brought up on Cockney rhyming slang I have to pick 18d as favourite but both the lurkers were also excellently disguised.

    Thanks to Zandio for the challenge and Senf for the hints – I certainly would be a DNF without

  27. I agree that it became a slog – half went in fairly quickly but was quite stuck in others so many thanks to Senf. I couldn’t get past primary ‘school’ for some reason, I blame the cold in church this morning doing the altar flowers. Off to have a nice meal with friends and then play vicious Canasta. Thanks to setter and hinter- have a good Christmas.

  28. I’m in the ‘I still don’t understand the parsing for 21a’ camp. A crossword of two halves for me, the to half went pretty much straight in the bottom did not. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to Zandio and Senf.

    1. Hi, Taylor. I think it’s that the ruler of the country’s father was and his son is a DUKE. The “heart” of that is its central letters, UK, which is the same as the answer is “briefly”. Any good?

  29. I don’t know what I’ve done to offend you, Zandio, but this felt like being slapped in the face with a wet fish. I can’t ever remember a puzzle quite so lacking in any levity. I don’t blame you, I think our editor should have taken the tiny brains into consideration too. Having given my opinion, I’ve had a week with wonderfully entertaining puzzles, maybe it is why this one seemed to be such an insult. So, editors, instead of complaining, I thank you deeply for providing this weeks’ fun.

  30. Very tricky puzzle. I managed to solve it unaided but in **** time. As with others the parsing of 21 Across eluded me. I would never have figured that one out.

  31. A DNF with four clues needing Senf’s excellent hints. As many have remarked this was a tough puzzle to solve. So tough I never thought of favourite clues or clues deserving honourable mentions until reading the comments and then I really couldn’t be *rs*d I just wanted to have the afternoon nap of the old man.

    Best wishes of the season to Senf for his nightime work to bring us the comfort of knowing what we didn’t know when we came here.

    And the same to Zandio for his work through the year to bamboozle and fox us.

    Oh and yes still don’t understand 21a but it had to be that with the checkers I had. And it had king in it which was enough for me.

  32. I don’t start solving until late in the evening, but having seen the **** difficulty and as a result of that taking a look through the comments, I wonder if I shall make any attempt at all. I am so tired of complaining on behalf of us less clever ones that we really don’t want a toughie on the back page. Anyway thanks to all, and Christmas and New Year greetings to all connected with this blog.

    1. I go with the flow, Toni. Fridays are meant to be tough but some are tougher than others. When I first began trying to solve cryptics in earnest (when I joined this wonderful blog) I didn’t even bother over much with the Thursday and Friday puzzles. It’s not a matter of being clever. It’s more a case of familiarity after persevering for a long time, despite failing often, so that the cryptic “language” starts to make sense.

      I always put the so called difficulty of a crossword down to my own failings and not those of the compiler.

      When I joined the blog, I could hardly solve any but I didn’t complain that the setters were not considering my abilities. That, after all, is the job of the crossword editor. I solved what I could, learned from others and just beavered away. Now I solve most backpagers and one or two Toughies.

      Never despair over a “tough” puzzle, my friend – they soon make sense after a bit of beavering away. 😎👍👍

  33. Found this puzzle to be of varying difficulty with some just jumping out and others needing a lot of coaxing.
    Nice to see some seasonal clues in this too.

    3*/4* for me today … in yet another socked in day with heavy snow falling here for the third time in 7 days.
    And Senf is right, BC, and especially the Lower Mainland area (Vancouver and surround), just don’t have equipment or experience to deal with the sort of snow we have and that the prairie provinces have to deal with.
    But I digress …

    Favourites include 1a, 10a, 21a, 4d & 11d

    Thanks to Zandio and Senf

  34. I am afraid I found this really stodgy and uninspiring but I plodded on and eventually sorted it but with no sense of achievement. West succumbed first. As so often unavoidably happens 25a makes a quick reappearance. 6a is clever but went over my head so my Fav has to be 11d. 23d is a bit obtuse thanks to a furnished facility. Thank you Zandio and Senf (certainly hope you will keep the explosive cyclogenesis your side of the pond – it sounds alarming but nevertheless best wishes for the “festive season” and do hope you can keep warm).

  35. I am afraid that was way to hard for me but we are entitled to have a ***** from time to time. Hard to be objective about it and pick out a favourite but I managed to solve 1d so that will have to do. Thanks for the hints which meant I ‘finished’ it.

  36. I had to check in just to find out what others thought of this one. My goodness I struggled. I couldn’t work out whether I’d just completely lost the plot, or if this was a particularly difficult puzzle. Thanks to the setter anyway for the challenge, and to Senf for the review.

  37. Having read all the hints – which I needed for most of the answers, even those few I managed to fill in – I can appreciate how clever the clues were. But unfortunately they were too convoluted for me, and I didn’t enjoy this one.
    But thanks anyway to setter, and huge thanks to Senf for preventing me going mad!

  38. Wow that was hard! However, managed to get all but 3: 19A (never saw the reverse lurker), 23D which was obvious really and 18D ( didn’t know the cockney slang). Nonetheless, nice to have a real challenge.

  39. 21a apart I thought this was on the easier side of Friday backpagers. 21a was bunged in when I had enough checkers and like Robert the parsing was avoided. I thought the capitalisation of Our Lady made my selection of a girls name a bit firmer than a guess.
    I did like 11d and 18d when the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Senf and Zandio. Those of you who want to see another Zandio are recommended by Zandio himself at comment 12 to have a go at the Sunday Toughie.If at a loose end after Dada’s Christmas Day offering, and Senf’s blog please pop in and tell me which is the easier.

  40. Whew that was hard going! Managed all up to the SE corner. Thanks Senf for the hints. I’m not convinced about either synonym for 23d!

    Thanks and seasons greetings to you Zandio.

  41. Thanks Zandio, effort rewarded throughout this puzzle. I needed Senf (thanks) having missed the lurker at 16 d.
    Lots of joy to be had but I would pick 27a, 3 & 13d.

  42. Did this late last night. Relieved that most people found it hard. Stupidly left with two. 6a we’ve had recently. The other was 7d, probably one of the easiest but I didn’t see it. Favourites 27a and 5 13 and 23d. Thanks setter and hinter.

  43. A very challenging but enjoyable puzzle. If the setter reads this may I respectfully suggest you think twice before using archaic Cockley slang: 18D. It is just too obscure for most and should be reserved for toughie only.

  44. Quick to start, slowed in the middle, quick to finish – great and testing Friday backpager, as they should be, with enough of a theme but not so much it’s rammed down the throat. Witty and clever clues with plenty of PDMs, smiles and groans.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to Zandio and to Senf

  45. 5*/4*…appreciated Senf’s explanations on this one !
    liked 11D “Lack of sense caused by a fall? (4,9)” … do not normally miss the lurkers but I did this time.

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