DT 30180 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30180

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30180

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from the Vega Baja.  You may remember I said last Monday that I was off to Benidorm for Christmas and that’s where I am.  Chris Lancaster sent me an advance copy of today’s puzzle so I actually wrote this blog last Thursday!  He sent me the puzzle from today’s paper but I’d rather he’d sent me the football results!!!

A fairly benign puzzle today from Campbell but 19a nearly had me beat. Never heard of it and it took about ten minutes of Googling to get an answer! There’s eight clues involving anagrams and two lurkers so you should get off to a good start. I’ll be interested to see what you all make of 19a.

As usual my podium three are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a           Small milliner greatly upset (7)
SHATTER:  S(mall) followed by another word for a milliner, there was a mad one in Alice in Wonderland.

9 a          Couple in book holding pig back (7)
TWOSOME:  A large book with a female pig inserted (holding) but she’s reversed (back).

10a         Early invader’s point of view (5)
ANGLE:  Double definition. An early invader from around the time of the Saxons is also a point of view.

11a         A bishop housed in a villa, in resort close to diocese, for free (9)
AVAILABLE:  You need the A from the clue and a B(ishop) inserted into (housed in) an anagram (in resort) of A VILLA and finally an E (close to diocesE).

12a         Starter of bran flakes a caterer put out in a dish first thing? (9,6)
BREAKFAST CEREAL:  B (starter of Bran) followed by an anagram (put out) of FLAKES A CATERER.

13a         Sucker beat target! (7)
LAMPREY:  A word meaning beat followed by the target of a predator gives a fish which sucks.

16a         Kid attending party left large plaything (3,4)
RAG DOLL:  A word meaning to kid or josh is the first word. The second is the usual party followed by L(eft) and L(arge).

19a         Labour in vain in one’s stocking feet? (1,8,6)
A BOOTLESS ERRAND:  This phrase for a labour in vain or hopeless task sounds as though you’ve done it without shoes.  Honestly never heard of this phrase and it took some finding. Was about to  ask the other bloggers for help when suddenly Google came up trumps!

23a        Poet could be godlier, somehow, in church (9)
COLERIDGE:  Anagram (could be) of GODLIER in the abbreviation of the Church of England.

24a         Writer retired by a lake in a Himalayan country (5)
NEPAL:  Something you write with is reversed (retired) and followed by the A from the clue and an L(ake).

25a         Drank a rum after initially taking pot (7)
TANKARD:  Anagram (rum) of DRANK A placed after a T (initially Taking).

26a        Yearbook hidden by naval man, a commodore (7)
ALMANAC:  A lurker hiding in (hidden by) the last four words.


1d           Built, as ordered, around new city in Turkey (8)
ISTANBUL:  Anagram (ordered) of BUILT AS placed around an N(ew).

2d          One may be running starkers, briefly, around middle of field (8)
STREAKER:  Take the word starkers from the clue but remove the last letter (briefly) to leave STARKER and put it around an E (middle of fiEld) to get someone who may be running and, indeed, may be starkers too!

3d           Fleet, American – not all there captured by artist (6)
ARMADA:  Start with an A(merican) and the usual artist. Into the artist (captured by) put a word meaning not all there or crazy.

4d           Miner clipped dog (6)
COLLIE:  A coal miner without his last letter (clipped).

5d           Gloomy beggar at the end with nothing in hat (8)
SOMBRERO:  A word meaning gloomy or grave followed by an R (beggaR at the end) and then an O (nothing).

6d           Live it up, taking in a show (6)
REVEAL:  Take a word for live it up or party and insert (taking in) the A from the clue.

8d           A wild urge to quarrel (5)
ARGUE:  A from the clue followed by an anagram (wild) of URGE.

9d           Path, mostly to right, will find tower? (7)
TRACTOR:  A word for a path without its last letter (mostly) followed by the TO from the clue and an R(ight) to get something which tows.

14d        Austen heroine crossing over heath (8)
MOORLAND:  Take the heroine from Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and put her around (crossing) an O(ver).  This would have been much easier to parse if I’d ever read Northanger Abbey!

15d        Surrendered and brought in (7)
YIELDED:   Double definition.

17d        Apache chief in rocky region north of Missouri (8)
GERONIMO:  Anagram (rocky) of REGION followed by (north of in a down clue) the abbreviation of Missouri.

18d        Fortune duly affected during shortage (4,4)
LADY LUCK:  Anagram (affected) of DULY inserted into (during) a word for a shortage.

19d         Woman who wrote about four sisters inhabiting rural cottage (6)
ALCOTT:  A lurker. The author of a book about four sisters is hiding in (inhabiting) the last two words of the clue.

20d        Last to comment on old Pope’s headdress (6)
TURBAN:  Start with a T (last to commenT) and follow with the name of a Pope, of which there have been eight. The last of them reigned from 1623 to 1644 so I guess “old Pope” is a fair description.

21d        Watch cutter swing (6)
SEESAW:  A word meaning to watch followed by a type of cutter with teeth.

Top three today for me are 2d, 11a and 8d in that order.

Quick crossword puns:

Top:       CHATTER     +     NOUGAT     =     CHATTANOOGA

Bottom:  PROPER     +     GAITERS     =     PROPAGATORS

68 comments on “DT 30180
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  1. A straightforward solve apart from 19a. I worked out the answer but have never heard of it so refrained from entering it for ages until I had all the checkers. Even then, I hesitated as I tried to find another answer. Not being au fait with Jane Austen, 14d took a while. but was obvious once the answer arrived. My COTD is 16a.

    Many thanks, Campbell for the fun and I did like both your Quickie puns. Thank you, pommers for the hints and enjoy the sun.

    Bright and cold in The Marches so Hudson and I will walk across a few fields to work of all the festive indulgence.

  2. This didn’t really float my boat, Campbell and I occupy different worlds I guess.
    I haven’t checked but there seemed to be a lot of single letter indicators, at least three in which we needed to take the final letter of one word.
    Never heard of 19a, (I suspect it’s long since fallen out of use) the writer at 19d or the Austen heroine though they were sympathetically clued. I thought 20d a poor clue too I’m afraid.
    I did like however 25a plus 6,9&18d.
    Thanks to our setter and Pommers

    Unless I drank too much yesterday I think “around” in 2d is an anagram indicator rather than a containment indicator.

      1. In the way that Pommers has defined the clue I think “around” works fine as the anagrind. If however you define the clue as an &lit (which may well have been, and probably was, Campbell’s intention) then I agree that “running” is the indicator Gazza.

    1. In 2d, I took it to be an error by Campbell not picked up in editing. “running” has to be part of the definition and “around” is just a containment indicator of ‘E’ by STARKER, after the final ‘S’ has been deleted (briefly) which Campbell’s, the editor’s, and pommers’ brains were convinced was STRAKER.

      1. I think the whole clue is the definition so it’s a semi-all-in-one. Th wordplay is an anagram (running) of STARKER[s] containing the middle letter of fiEld.

  3. A nice gentle solve today apart from 19a, which like others I had never heard of. I was without the T checker, although the answer was an obvious option and even though the phrase itself is not in the BRB it does give ‘useless’ as one of the definitions of bootless. 20d was my LOI, having recalled said pope so that is my favourite today. Thanks to Campbell ( loved both quickie puns) and pommers.

  4. Indeed – 19a was a bit of an unknown but we could think of nothing else! It helped to pass the time waiting to be collected for the Boxing Day fun with the grandchildren!

  5. Glided into the home straight set for a sub *time finish until the brick wall that was 19a. The last word was pretty obvious but like Pommers never heard of the phrase. Despite guessing the probable last 4 letters the first 4 wouldn’t come until the penny dropped with 20d which gave me the giveaway checker & then confirmed. Perhaps scarred by doing Mansfield Park for A level Austen has never really been my bag & haven’t read Northanger Abbey so while the answer was easily guessable Mr G had to tell me what novel Catherine featured in. A very pleasant kick off to the new week with a literary SW for Robert. 11a my fav.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers.
    Ps can’t comment on the Quickie because for whatever reason it won’t load from the digital paper on my iPad

    1. Just accessed the Quickie – top pun excellent once I’d eventually figured the chewy sweet out – which took a while

  6. Enjoyed this. 19a flashed into my mind, so I must have heard or read the phrase, although I couldn’t recall it. I needed google to find a suitable Austen heroine, but I can see it would have been obvious if I had solved 17a first, so fair play, I suppose…..

  7. I’m not sure where our setter dragged up 19a from. The wordplay got me there but it was not my favourite clue of the year. By contrast, 2 and 20d were excellent and came out on top of my podium. In terms of favourites, the top pun was superb.

    My thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  8. Thanks to Campbell and pommers for the Boxing Day entertainment.
    Like others I’ve never heard of the 19a phrase although I see that it’s in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. I did know the literary heroine in 14d although she’s from my least favourite Austen book.
    My favourite clue was 2d.

  9. Not my favourite Campbell, got stuck in the same places as others, and too much GK for my liking.
    My BRB only has the definition associated with 7a as an adjective and with “ed” on the end, so not convinced the clue works, but happy to stand corrected if anyone can explain it.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers, and best Christmas wishes to all who contribute to this invaluable blog.

      1. That’s my point though Stephen the verb definitions in my Chambers don’t include to greatly upset
        1. To dash to pieces
        2. To wreck
        3. To scatter

        1. From Collins…

          (verb) in the sense of devastate
          to upset (someone) greatly
          the tragedy which had shattered him

  10. Can’t remember a back-pager getting so many almost identical comments, I will go with the trend and confirm Mr G’s help with 19a & 14d. Struggled to parse 20d but it just had to be.
    Bright, sunny but cold on the Kent Downs today.
    Thanks to Campbell for the action and pommers for the hints.

  11. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: but he was somewhat trickier today and I had the same problems as pommers and others with 19a and 14d – 2.5*/3.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 16a, 6d, and 22d – and the winner is 6d.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  12. I came up with an alternative solution for 9D with an I instead of a C. In the old days these people would find themselves in the Tower.

      1. Funny, I did exactly the same and didn’t think about it until rereading the blog. I justified the path as trail without its ending

  13. It has been decades since I last read Northanger Abbey (her most forgettable book, if you’ll pardon my saying so) and I did not remember the heroine’s name. Fancy that! 14d had to be what it was, though. As for 19a, yes, I have heard of it but decided to google around to be sure. Strangely, I found this whole puzzle rather tough sledding, but it could be that I am suffering from the bitter cold over here as we struggle to keep our antique house warm enough to live in. We are now in our third day of below freezing temperatures. It’s 24F / -4.4C right now, but we’re promised some relief soon. Thanks to pommers and Campbell. ***/***

    1. I cannot imagine what it is like to be so cold (although Leningrad in November 1987 was pretty gruesome) in your own home town. I think I would just stay in bed, I feel for you.

    2. I agree about Northanger Abbey, but strangely I remembered the heroine. Alas, I put my answer in with her name and not the heath.

  14. Nothing bootless about this puzzle in my opinion. Bootless was used by my elderly guardian and my late middle aged mother quite regularly for my efforts in the garden or clearing and tidying up. As for Northanger Abbey as least favourite Jane Austen let me suggest Emma. This contains a young woman who a gentleman has known since she was a child and has obviously been grooming for the purpose of marriage. She herself is a woman of little character and what there is makes her unlikeable.

    As for the puzzle this is an excellent Boxing Day crossword, not too easy and not too hard. Candidates for honourable mentions are 16, 19, and 23a together with 5, 6, and 20d.

    Many thanks to Pommers and to Campbell for Boxing Day fun and enjoyment.

  15. Can someone tell me why I have fallen off the 11am email and could someone be kind enough to put me back on it so that I don’t have to literally log on each day. Thank you very much. I inadvertently pressed the ‘reveal all’ button today when I was only half way through and you cannot unsee what you have just seen! Merry Boxing Day everyone.

    1. I assume you’ve used your full name in error so I’ve taken the liberty of replacing it with your usual alias. If you intended to use your full name let me know and I’ll change it back.

      1. Thanks Gaza – I tried unsuccessfully to change it. For some reason I now have to fill in my details each time despite clicking the save button.

    2. I don’t think I got the email today so I logged in. On the plus side I did not have to add my details to each comment

  16. Completed this bar 19a & 14d, then put it aside to await inspiration whilst I got on with other ‘stuff’. Eventually had to turn to Mr G who also took a while to figure out the answers. Must have read the required Austen tome but obviously had erased it from the grey matter!
    Top three here were 16a plus 5&21d.

    Thanks to Campbell and also to pommers for the review.

  17. Like others I was stuck on 19a even though both my grandmothers were fond of using outlandish expressions. Everything else fell into place and I did like the quickie puns. I am reading Longbourn by Jo Baker – a rewrite of Pride & Prejudice but from the point of view Below Stairs – quite intriguing. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Hinter- we are off now for a second day with DD2 – she’s a wonderful cook 😊 by I am a bit worried by the advertisement at the top of the blog showing a gluten belly. Ugh.

        1. Me too, Jane. I’m reading one now that’s too close to “chick-lit” for comfort. It’s not bad enough to abandon halfway but enough to think I’m wasting valuable time! Glad of recommendations.

  18. We hadn’t heard of 19a either, who has? Otherwise an ok puzzle with no standout favourite but if pressed we’d go with 13a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  19. The digital newspaper site is still playing up – revealing mistakes highlights whatever answer one’s own highlight is on🙃

    Likewise the DT Puzzles site requires a fresh sign in every time.

    However – thanks to all on this site for your cheerful assistance to a cryptic learner.

  20. It’s Campbell the usual miscellany of easy and hard (if the general knowledge is not one’s own.)
    Not a great fan. Sorry.
    Thanks for the hints etc.

  21. Like everyone else I’d never heard of 19a but apart from that I didn’t have too many problems.
    Popes aren’t my specialties so 20d took a while as did Apache chiefs – I’m better at 4d’s! :smile:
    I did quite like 19 and 21d.
    Thanks to Campbell for the Boxing Day crossword and to pommers for the hints and pics.

  22. Oh dear.
    Defeated on a Monday!
    By 19a, an hitherto unknown phrase for me.
    Much experimentation with various shoes plus less.
    But to no avail.
    Still, the rest went in very speedily.
    Thanks to Campbell and pommers

  23. Thought this to be a tad harder than a normal Campbell today.
    2.5*/3* for me.

    Favourites 7a, 9a, 23a, 4d, 14d & 22d with winner for me 4d
    No idea of the saying in 19a, but had no issue with 14d

    Did this after walking the dog in the absolute pouring rain at 6:15 this morning and now off to have my 12a and a coffee.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers for the help.

  24. I am reassured to know I am not alone in my ignorance of 19a which slowed my completion of the South particularly SW. Overall not a barrowload of fun and Senf’s help much needed and appreciated and no Fav to nominate. Thank you Campbell and Senf.

  25. The definition is “trembling poplar” or tremulous – it’s a two letter abbreviation for Anglo-Saxon followed by a three letter enclosure or cage.

  26. Well, I enjoyed it – sorry it was too easy for some. I would never have got 19a, not only have I not heard of it, but I put the name of the heroine in 14d instead of the heath, or what I think is her name, I suppose I should google. Lots to like, so many to choose a fave from, loved the poet, but I’m going with Kath and choosing 4d; it’s a furry friend innit?
    Thanks to pommers, the music at 16a was rather an oh dear! I needed your hints to unravel some, eg 2d. Thanks Campbell for giving us a doable puzzle on this cold and sunless day. I’m about to book a flight to Manaus, at least I would be warm there (I think).

  27. I had never heard of 19a but persisted till I got it. Even then I got the first word in advance of the second. As well as 19a I had four others left after cracking most of them. The craziest was 1d which was obvious! It was the SW quarter which delayed me but once I had the Austen clue the checkers gave me the others. Thanks Campbell I loved it and Pommers too.

  28. Thanks to Campbell and to Pommers for the review and hints. An enjoyable puzzle in parts, but too much GK for my liking. Had never heard of 19a and the heroine in 14d. Luckily I guessed 19d, but had never heard of her either. Needed the hints for 19&20d. Favourite was 12a. Was 3* / 3* for me.

  29. Cut and paste comments today and it’s the same from me; never heard of 19a, and both 14d and 20d were too obscure for me. I also thought the definition was over-stretched in 9d.

    I usually enjoy Campbell Mondays but this one missed the mark for me. Ty anyway and pommers for the GK.

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