DT 30196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30196

Daily Telegraph No 30196

Hints and tips by BetterLocksRoy

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Morning all.

No idea who set this, but I found it tricky to parse in places.

Please leave a comment on how you got on.


1a          Scaling rocks when visiting favourite Hebridean location (7,4)
FINGALS CAVE : Anagram of SCALING [rocks] inside a shortened term for favourite

7a          Agreement is close (7)
COMPACT: Double definition

8a          Intellectual for instance claims golf title (7)
EGGHEAD: The Latin abbreviation meaning ‘for instance’ includes the phonetic letter for Golf, followed by another word for title

10a       Dress restricts one about to get beauty treatment (8)
MANICURE: I think this is dress as in top feed the garden including I [one] about[C]

11a       Placate retired gentleman when ill-tempered on vacation (6)
DISARM: Reverse a man’s title, a synonym for ‘when’ and add the outside letters of the last hyphenated word

13a       Essential new wine (4)
MUST: Usually ‘A  ****’, or  wine before it’s  fully fermented

14a       One supplying retailer with pickle and salt, reportedly (10)
WHOLESALER: Homophone of pickle, as in a spot of bother and a crosswordland salt

16a       Army, perhaps on edge, professed loyalty that’s insincere (3,7)
LIP SERVICE: How one’s time in the Army might be described appended to a synonym of edge

18a       Setter maybe signifies contentment with this indicator? (4)
TAIL: Setter here is a dog – presumably he’s wagging it

21a       Arduous round trip regularly ignored before (6)
TIRING: Round is something that looks round, after the alternate letters of trip

22a       Retorts from priest so unusual (8)
RIPOSTES: Anagram [unusual] of PRIEST SO

24a       Partied, leaving clubs excited (7)
AROUSED: Another word for ‘partied’ ignoring its first letter

25a       Sought to justify former copper’s heartless intent (7)
EXCUSED: Usual former partner, copper then subjected to heartless intent, I suppose

26a       Homeless vagrant hugs extremely nonplussed northern composer (11)
MENDELSSOHN: Anagram [vagrant, wandering] of HOMELESS + ND [extremely NonplusseD]



1d         Instigates Times leader being changed (7)
FOMENTS: A word for brief intervals with the first letter changed

2d         Subtlety of problem is overlooked (6)
NUANCE: Synonym of a problem person or pest, ‘overlooking’ IS

3d         Male fragrance Eva’s father ordered (10)
AFTERSHAVE: That’s easier – anagram [ordered]

4d         Small storage facility in Slough (4)
SHED: Look up ‘slough’ whilst looking at an allotment

5d         Worry about Republican that is becoming most incensed (8)
ANGRIEST: I like this clue – a five letter Nordic derived word for worry includes the abbreviation for Republican and the Latin for ‘that is’

6d         Watch dance in which pupil’s seen? (7)
EYEBALL: Obvious words for watch and dance betray the answer

7d         Claim Tommy is occasionally permitted each drink (8,3)
CAMOMILE TEA: Anagram of CLAIM and the occasional letters of tOmMy followed by the abbreviation for each

9d         Disheartened daughter supports protest Israel condemned (11)
DEMORALISED: Daughter ‘supports’ [is at the bottom of] a colloquial word for a protest and an anagram of the other word

12d       Bravery investing fortune in conifer plantations ultimately succeeded (10)
PLUCKINESS: Four letter word for good fortune inside a group of conifers often found in Scotland with the abbreviation for succeeded following

15d       Curious new difficulty upset poet (8)
TENNYSON: Four-letter word for curtain-twitching curious, abbreviation of new and a bit of a dodgy synonym of difficulty – reversed

17d       Present hairstyle, cut by pro (7)
PERFORM: A Latin synonym meaning ‘Pro’ cuts a hairdo which derives from ‘Permanent Curls’, an alternative to rollers in the 70’s [I’m sure you will correct me ladies]

19d       To some extent sweetheart is a natural craftsperson (7)
ARTISAN: I’m sure the answer is hiding in there somewhere…

20d       Cloak on cop ruined, husband’s admitted (6)
PONCHO: Anagram [ruined] ON COP + H[usband]

23d       Side with upper hand (4)
EDGE: Double definition; one is a rim, the other is an advantage

Quick Crossword Pun:


84 comments on “DT 30196
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  1. Greetings from a sun drenched Sandhurst, well for now anyway.
    As to the puzzle, an absolute stinker in the words of the late, great Mr Thomas,
    easily the hardest for some while, and thoroughly enjoyable once I got a toehold, which I might add took a good while today. In a couple of cases I had to put in an answer and then work back to see how it fitted the clue.
    Luckily we did something about 1a at school which triggered a memory, and
    that in turn helped with 26a. A real case of get thee behind me compiler today,
    very clever clueing, well done!

  2. While I was not 100% certain that NYDK was yesterday’s setter, deciding on who is today’s setter is a no-brainer – Zandio was on duty last Friday, neither of proXimal’s ‘trade mark’ features are present, and the smoothest of smooth clues can only mean that this is a Silvanus production – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 18a, 6d, and 17d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and thanks and welcome to the Friday ’chair’ to LetterboxRoy.

  3. I really enjoyed this bit of a head scratcher, appreciating and admiring the ingenuity of the wordplay in equal measure.
    Although I clocked the anagrind immediately at 1a it took me a little while to see the solution and I had to check the net/difficulty synonym in 15d. Otherwise, though not exactly plain sailing, no major hold ups.
    Podium contenders aplenty but I’ll mention 1,14(lol)&26a plus 1(false capitalisation seems to be flavour of the month) 2&12d
    Many thanks to the setter and to LBR for a top puzzle and blog (I’d say “welcome” Roy but I seem to remember you’ve already done a few!).
    7d is the occasional letters of the first three words plus let plus the abbreviation.

  4. One of those puzes that I can only complete by getting a few checkers, then guessing the answers and finally teverse engineeri h the parsing. I had to look up 2 clue hints in the SW and gwt some help in parsing a few to finish this one. Still, it was a big improvement on the miserable 4bclues in last Friday’s puzzle. I particularly liked the homophone at 14a and the geographical clue, 1a. 16a and 7d were good runners up. Thanks to the compiler, it was very clever. Thanks to BLR for the much neded hints, not the easiest of tasks for your maiden voyage with the Friday hints butwell done!

  5. Friday is always mock Toughie day.
    Laboured progress with three to go, 21 and 24 and 15d.
    Took an age, put me into 5* time.
    The very clever 15d is my COTD in a very strong field.
    Many thanks, Sivanus all very satisfying and enjoyable.
    And thanks BetterLocksRoy.

  6. Whew, took me a while but I happily got there, all on my own, at the end, pushed well into *** time. The complementary and harmonious connection of 1a with 26a led me to listen to a lovely interlude of The Hebrides Overture (aka 1a), and I think the compiler should be congratulated for such a lovely gift. That combo is obviously my COTD, but I also enjoyed 7d (which I parsed a little differently from LBR–using alternate letters from the first three words of the clue + let + ea), with further ticks at 11a & 15d. My LOI, 18a, made me laugh. Thanks and a big welcome to LBR and kudos to perhaps Silvanus. ***/*****

      1. Groan! But good! My first knee jerk reaction to 1a was the correct answer but I missed the anagram and had the wrong spelling, spelling so wrong it jumped out at you!

        1. I would like to add my appreciation of 1a and 26a. Mendelssohn was a great composer and his Hebrides/Fingal’s Cave Overture is a wonderfully descriptive piece of music. He also played a large part in the 19th century revival of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

  7. Very enjoyable indeed – thanks to Silvanus and welcome and thanks to BLR.
    I thought that Silvanus had upped the difficulty level a bit on this one.
    1a is excellent. I have visited the location and remember having to scale a few rocks when getting off the boat.
    Other clues I liked were 10a, 11a, 13a (best double homophone we’ve had for some time) and 18a.

  8. 3*/5*. What a nicely challenging and splendid finish to the week.

    With plenty of excellent clues to choose from, my podium choices are: 11a, 14a & 16a.

    The synonym for difficulty needed in 15d was new to me, but it is in the BRB.

    Many thanks presumably to Silvanus and also to LBR or is that BLR?

  9. I kind of enjoyed this but needed some help certainly with 1d and 4d – I am not familiar with 1d and don’t think I have ever had cause to use this word which doesn’t make the solve much fun!

  10. 7d was my doorway into this puzzle that initially looked harder than it turned out to be.

    My last one was 1d, as I misread the first word in the clue as investigates!

    Many thanks to Silvanus, and to BLR

  11. Struggled here.
    1d stumped me and, while I got the answer, even with the notes I still can’t parse 25a…why is heartleess intent “ED”? Good sometimes to be left with a bit of headscratching.
    14a stood out for me as COTD

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your previous comments (in 2019) so this needed moderation. Both aliases will work from now on.

      1d change the first letter (leader) of moments (times).
      25a Intent or goal is END – remove its middle letter (heartless).

      1. Sorry – didn’t realise I’d ever commented before…and thanks for the clarification on 25a…have gone from ‘confused’ to ‘frustrated with myself’ in the blink of an eye!

  12. Felix-itations indeed to Robert and to everyone else, thank you all for your kind comments. “German week” continues, as Huntsman will have noted!

    It’s a pleasant surprise to see LbR back in the blogging chair, unless I’m mistaken I believe his last time was also for one of my puzzles (in August 2021). Many thanks to him, Robert is correct about the parsing of 7d though.

    May I wish everyone a good weekend.

    1. Thanks for dropping in, Silvanus, and congratulations on a first class puzzle. The best from a good week of puzzling.
      1a is quite brilliant, but there are plenty of other worthy contenders for CoD.
      Great stuff!

    2. As Merusa is wont to say, Silvanus, you are a STAR! I see that Sloop John Bee also caught the Hebridean vibes. I always listen to both the Overture and FM’s Scottish Symphony (the 3rd of those great ones, each so different from the other) when I want to remember my happy days in Scotland. Sorry, though, that I never made it to Staffa, even though I once spent a week–with Boswell and Dr J–in the Hebrides. Thanks for a great puzzle!

    3. Great puzzle as always Silvanus. Top & bottom cracking clues & along with 18a my picks from a whole host of lovely clues. You beat me today but won’t hold it against you. Never come across 1d before & just couldn’t come up with the synonym for times in the wordplay. Likewise for placate at 11a & just couldn’t get sir out of my head trying to parse an answer. Top notch & best of the week for me also.
      Welcome to LBR/BLR into the Friday slot

  13. Easy to tell which of our setters penned this one, I only needed to look at the smooth surfaces and count the number of ticks on my sheet! Particularly worthy clues were 1,11,14&26a plus 2,9&17d with smiles for 8&18a along with the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasurable solve and also to LbR on his debut as our regular Friday blogger.

  14. A great ***/**** end to the week. The hardest as befits a Friday. 26a and 6d were my picks of the pops. What fun to have a new blogger and thanks BetterLocksRoy and of course Silvanus for what I found to be a consistent puzzle.

  15. Well, I’ll be jiggered – LBR! Would’ve never guessed that in a million years. I found this one very similar in all departments to yesterday’s. Fine clues, a decent challenge and a pleasing tussle. I have ticked a few clues the two I liked best were 26a and 5d. I assume 13a is a DD? 3.5*/4*.

  16. I got through this one, but it was a struggle with difficulty parsing. Last ones in, always the 4 letter words, 18a and 23d.

    I parsed 7d differently I thought it was the odd letters of ClAiM tOmMy Is followed by LET (permitted) the EA for each.

    Thank to the setter for a tough challenge and to BetterLocksRoy

    1. Sorry, hadn’t noticed that Robert had already shown the parsing of 7d.
      Must do better.

      I blame the roofers who are still at it and still using all my sugar.

      1. OM. My mother (d. 2021 aged 94) was very frugal/protective with her sugar, which she considered a very precious commodity. I guess it was to do with shortages/rationing during and after WW2. She kept it in a plastic container with a lid on her kitchen worktop. It would easily hold a full bag but there was only ever a very small amount in the bottom. One day when visiting, decades ago, I asked her why she didn’t have a decent quantity of sugar in there. She explained that if it ever got knocked over onto the floor, only a small amount would be wasted! Different generation, you see. Bless her …

        1. Sugar is certainly on the shopping list for my next visit to the supermarket, so I’ll let you know if the roofers have caused a shortage.
          Thankfully they have pushed off early today, so no more tappy-hammering. But they did threaten to come back tomorrow. Time and a half I presume. In fairness to them , they are making a good job of it and are tidying as they go so I shouldn’t moan…..but where’s the pleasure in that ?

  17. Just brilliant. Every clue a gem, and the slightly increased difficulty merely raised the satisfaction levels. 18a was my final entry, but the clear favourite was the excellent 15d ahead of 1a.

    Thanks Silvanus for the challenge, and thanks too, to BLR.

  18. A solid and challenging Friday backpager, and quite agree with LBR/BLR re the synonym in 15d. Hon Mentions to 1, 14 (laughed out loud!) & 16 across, with COTD to 10a because the dress was so left field – as opposed to being left on the field …

    3* / 3*

    Many thanks to Silvanus, but especially to LBR/BLR for taking on the mantle of blogger.

  19. Difficult for me and I needed a few hints to get across the line. Still, it is Friday so has to be expected. I wanted to put “contract” in at 7a but there were too many letters. The trouble is, having latched on to “contract”, my brain refused to entertain anything else. I’m not sure where “dress” comes into 10a. I assume it is to do with gardening but it doesn’t sit well with me. I’ll “top dress” with fertiliser but I dig in manure. Oh well, chacun pour soi. I did like 7d but my favourite and COTD is 14a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge. Huge thanks to our spoonerised blogger for the much needed hints.

    Thought the house was going to blown away last night! What a racket!

    1. Hi Steve,

      I hadn’t fully appreciated just how wet it has been in your neck of the woods until a friend related to me his tale of woe in trying to travel by train from London to Aberystwyth yesterday. Firstly the train tracks were flooded west of Shrewsbury and the many of the roads were also under water, apparently. In the end he was forced to catch a train to Carmarthen and then go north by road from there, arriving in Aberystwyth at midnight. His overall journey took twelve hours!

      1. Yes, I’m afraid the River Severn is very prone to flooding. Flood defences are built but they just move the problem downstream. I think there are about seven flood warnings along the river as the water continues to rise.

  20. Not posted for a while but always read the blog. I found today’s and yesterday’s puzzles really difficult but finished them both. Twelve months ago they would have been in the bin. So ta to all.

  21. My goodness that was a challenge. I enjoyed bashing my way through this crossword even though it hurt my brain. The weariness, the fever, and the fret.

    Thanks to silvanus and Roy Of The Mail Slot.

  22. A most enjoyable head scratcher that was completed in two sittings, one either side of a bit of shopping. 1a brought back some happy memories of Hebridean visits, partly to see the location mentioned in 1a and also to observe the puffins on the island – what cute little chatacters they are too. Lots to like about this puzzle and many stand out clues, but my top couple of clues/answers were 1a and 16a. Just looking at Ora+’s note, I parsed 7d similarly so..Thanks to the setter for a fun filled puzzle and to LBR, but happily I solved it without his hints.

    1. I was surprised at how small the puffins are! They appear much larger in pictures, they are like dinky little bath ducks.

      1. They’re also relatively tame – we sat on the grass waiting for them to come out of their burrows, then for them to stand and eye us curiously whilst photographing them. I hope to be back among them again in late April.

  23. Excellent Friday puzzle, the most challenging of the week but rewarding of thought. Full of smooth surfaces and precise wordplay. Further to the 7d parsing, I parsed 25a a bit differently from BLR (not sure if I’m right or not) EX – CU + S (from copperS) – ED (a heartless synonym for intent). Favourites of the day include 8a, 14a, 16a, 5d and 7d with COTD to 6d for the penny drop! ***/****

    TY to Silvanus and wlecome and thanks to BLR

  24. What a good end to the week. For me, not as enjoyable as yesterday, but I don’t know why. Lots of brilliant clues, and got 1a straight away which you’ll know pleased me greatly. Candidates for favourite are 1a, 14a, 18a which made me laugh, and 12d. The winner is 14a. Thanks to Silvanus and BetterLocksRoy to whom welcome to the Friday blogging spot.

  25. Good puzzle for the Friday spot, certainly not a walk in the park but plenty of good instruction for the hill climb, the relative clues at the upper and lower limits put me in the right direction.
    Sunny start on The Downs this morning but offset by the chilly wind.
    Thanks to Silvanus and a welcome back to BLR

  26. Many thanks to Silvanus for this somewhat “Toughie” of a back-pager.

    I appreciated the toughness as I have finally given up attempting today’s Toughie setter.

    The 1a/26a combo made it to the top of my podium.

    ps Wecome to the Friday blogging chair, LbR.

    1. I’m afraid Elgar is way beyond my capabilities. About a year ago, I managed to solve one clue in one of his crosswords. It was a red letter day!

  27. Good puzzle for the Friday spot, certainly not a walk in the park but plenty of good instruction for the hill climb, the relative clues at the upper and lower limits put me in the right direction.
    Sunny start on The Downs this morning but offset by the chilly wind.
    Thanks to Silvanus and a welcome back to LBR.

  28. This puzzle was another nice one to end up the non-work week. Lots of interesting clues and some head scratchers too.
    2*/4* for me today

    Favourites include 1a, 14a, 16a, 18a 4d & 6d — with winner 1a, but I can really relate to 18a!!! That was a good one!
    There were a couple I didn’t get the parsing on, so will check them when the blog comes up on Friday after I walk my setter … er … I mean Sheltie

    Thanks to Silvanus and BetterLocksRoy

  29. Wow that was a tricky one but enjoyable all the same. A couple remained unparsed until I read the hints – certainly couldn’t see the Times in 1d. Anyway, thanks to all involved on a horrid grey afternoon.

  30. This was a real pleasure to solve. Best of the week by some distance. Started in the SE corner as is my wont and seemed to get on the right wavelength straightaway. The 10a dress made me chuckle and I loved the 14a homophone
    Many thanks Silvanus for the entertainment and to LBR/BLR for joining the team and for helping me parse last one in 15d

    1. Translated from the original Latin, “e.g.” means for (sake of) example/for instance and “i.e.” means that is (to say).

  31. Regarding 15d, I got it because it had to be. As for the.BRB I don’t have it, I have the sister Chambers Crossword Dictionary that has well over 1000 indicators of anagrams, and that isn’t one of them. I have noticed several peculiar new ones recently – isn’t 1000+ enough? Apart from that enjoyed it, so thanks to Compiler and LBR.

    1. Thank you, I find the Chambers Crossword Dictionary invaluable when compiling puzzles. It does in fact list “difficulty” as a synonym for net, but I would concede that “net” is not listed under “difficulty”.

  32. Oh dear. It’s days like this when I realise I’m such a novice. After several minutes, I only have the answer to four clues. Now I must go and sort something out for dinner. I’ll say thank you setter and thanks too to LBR (brave to review this one). I might get back to it later, on the other hand I might not. I’m not in the mood to fight my way through it.

    1. Brave? Not sure – I sharpened my pencil at midnight, then spent the next half hour staring at it blankly
      I went from the bottom up, if that’s any help

  33. A very difficult crossword for me. I needed a lot of your help LBR, so thank you.
    I agree with your parsing of 10a. I do “dress” bare soil with manure and let the worms do their work with it.

    14a is my COTD

  34. Loved it today and getting 1a and 26a was a flying start, work intervened and connection problems prevented my link to a rather pleasant Hebridean Overture got lost, I once visited 1a and agree with Gazza that the rocks were quite slippery but the violinist who played made a very atmospheric echo.
    The puffins on Staffa were very cute too ala Shropshire like.
    Thanks to BetterLocks (better than mine I bet) and Silvanus

  35. This was really beyond my pay scale, though I would have done better if I had spelt 1a correctly, or at least checked it as It looked wrong. Shudda, orta looked it up first! There were some that I really liked, apart from the 1a/26a combo, I thought 14a a smiler, so was 18a – Sadie helped me with that one.
    Thank you Silvanus, I always find your puzzles to be difficult. Welcome to LBR in the Friday seat, you’re a brave man to try unravelling that lot, you’ve done a grand job. Wot, no pics?

  36. I enjoyed this crossword, especially the 1a and 26a connection. Curiously on Radio 3’s In Tune tonight, there were two pieces by Felix, one being his Scottish Symphony, and one by his sister Fanny. I did need LBR’s help to parse both though! We were reminiscing about our trip to 1a many years back on a beautiful September day but there was too much of a sea running to land…consolation prize, we did see a basking shark.
    Thanks to Silvanus for a tricky but enjoyable crossword and LBR for help parsing.

  37. Found it quite hard also.
    Knew that 1a was from 26a, but had no idea it was in the Hebrides. Nice surprise.
    On the chestnut front, it was good to see 2d and 24a.
    Thanks to Silvanus and welcome back to LBR.

  38. This was an all-day on/off tussle however by fair means or foul I have just got there but have to admit to resorting to some electronic help along the way and I still ended with some parceless solutions. Thank you Silvanus and Better Locks Roy (thanks to a 17d hairstyle?).

  39. Glad it wasn’t just me!

    I had to look up 15d – I thought it was a poet I had never heard of, but I was bought up on the Isle of Wight, and I have been to his house…oops 🤨

  40. We started this late and found this a brain mangler, but got there in the end. I’m not sure I’d have completed this on my own. Hard to pick a favourite but we’ll go with 14a thanks to Silvanus and BLR.

  41. Way out of my league, I’ll just go and stand in the corner with my dunces hat on. Well done LBR you must be a Marvin ( brain the size of a planet). Thanks to all.

  42. Thanks to Silvanus and to BLR for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but a bit too tricky for me. Needed 6 hints to finish. Favourite was 10a. Was 5* / 3* for me.

  43. It’s Sunday, it’s 16.10 and I’ve just finished this. I have done Saturdays and Sundays in between.
    Thank Silvanius and BLR

  44. I’m a few days behind currently. Been getting the papers weekly. This was fiendishly tough, I got there eventually, albeit with a couple of “fingers crossed “ answers.
    Has to be 5 star difficulty.

    PS, haven’t seen a comment from Brian for a week or so, hope he’s ok.

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