DT 30220 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30220

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30220

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday. We’re making some adjustments to the back page puzzle blogging schedule which see me moving to Fridays and StephenL returning to the Thursday slot. The use of every letter but X in the grid today suggests that my first Friday blog is a proXimal creation. I thought it was a wonderful puzzle with lots and lots of smiles produced during the solve.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Antipodean recognised headless spirit with sign of hesitancy (3,9)
NEW ZEALANDER:  Concatenate recognized or understood minus its first letter (headless), spirit or enthusiasm, a synonym of with, and a short word of hesitation 

9a    Chap occupying a hospital ward gets fixed (9)
PERMANENT:  A chap or fellow inserted in (occupying) the fusion of a or “for each” and the abbreviation for a type of hospital ward 

10a   Calm person that's good in school subject? (5)
PEACE:  The answer split (2,3) might describe a person who excels in something taught at school 

11a   Like a shot at home and can't stand having consumed second (2,5)
IN HASTE:  At home or not out is followed by can’t stand or dislike containing (having consumed) the single letter for second 

12a   Underground part of passage reportedly allowed (7)
ROOTLET:  A homophone (reportedly) of passage or path is followed by allowed or permitted 

13a   Criminal don's cruel rogue (9)
SCOUNDREL:  An anagram (criminal) of DON’S CRUEL 

16a   Rank river in Italy, not Belgium (4)
TIER:  The river upon which Rome stands minus the IVR code for Belgium (not Belgium) 

18a   Dance official vocal (4)
REEL:  A homophone (vocal) of official or actual 

19a   Jumpers and loafers covering yard (9)
SKYDIVERS:  Some loafers or idle people containing (covering) an abbreviation for yard 

22a   Live event happening involving United and Rovers (7)
BEDOUIN:  The combination of live or exist, an event or bash, and happening or fashionable contains (involving) the single letter for united 

23a   Yielding when lacking with regards to protection (7)
DEFENCE:  A noun meaning yielding minus (when lacking) a short word meaning “with regards to” 

25a   Hard stone terrine regularly used (5)
STERN:  The abbreviation for stone with alternate letters (regularly used) of TERRINE 

26a   Moment right to return doctor's instruments (9)
TROMBONES:  A contraction of moment and the (2) abbreviation for right are joined and reversed (to return), and that’s all followed by an informal word for doctor

27a   Sloshed night rum explains (5,5,2)
SHEDS LIGHT ON:  An anagram (rum, as in odd or strange) of SLOSHED NIGHT 



1d    Sleep on family's sheets (7)
NAPKINS:  Combine a brief sleep with a synonym of family plus its ‘S from the clue 

2d    Virtue of West player in bridge losing lead (5)
WORTH:  The single letter for west with one of the four players in bridge minus their first letter (losing lead

3d    Passing light reflected over grass (8)
ELAPSING:  The reversal (reflected) of light or faded is followed by grass or inform on 

4d    Master collie gently bites (5)
LIEGE:  The second and third words of the clue hide the answer (… bites

5d    Raised game and beat friend, of course (9)
NATURALLY:  The abbreviation for an oval ball game and a synonym of beat are joined and reversed (raised, in a down clue) and followed by a friend or supporter 

6d    Exercise tempo slow, gym keeping all content (6)
EMPLOY:  The inner letters (keeping all content) of the remaining three words in the clue 

7d    Nick computer record for digital tool (4,4)
NAIL FILE:  Nick or arrest with where data may be stored in a computer

8d    Bug is way to intercept spy (6)
PESTER:  The abbreviation for a street or way inserted in (to intercept) spy or stare 

14d   Devotee losing fifty deer exaggerates (8)
OVERDOES:  A devotee or fan minus (losing) the Roman fifty followed by more than one female deer 

15d   Sounded relaxed receiving acceptable answer (9)
RESONATED:  A synonym of relaxed containing (receiving) both an informal word for acceptable and the single letter for answer 

17d   In posh car, dodgy banker's opening padded envelope (5,3)
JIFFY BAG:  Inserted in the contraction of a posh car brand are a synonym of dodgy and the first letter (…’s opening) of BANKER 

18d   Tough lifting gold sculpture (6)
ROBUST:  The reversal (lifting, in a down clue) of the heraldic gold is followed by a sculpture of the top part of a person 

20d   Attacks blocked by foremost of titanium headwear (7)
STETSON:  A (4,2) phrase meaning attacks containing (blocked by) the first letter of (foremost of) TITANIUM 

21d   Satisfy female monarch disheartened with church (6)
QUENCH:  A female monarch minus her middle letter (disheartened) with the map abbreviation for church 

23d   Amusing daughter with sound of drum (5)
DROLL:  The genealogical abbreviation for daughter with a sound that can be made on a drum 

24d   Figure on upcoming group of players (5)
NONET:  A figure or number and ON from the clue are joined and then reversed (upcoming, in a down clue) 


Thanks to today’s setter. Much to like here. Top clues for me today included 9a, 19a, 22a, 26a, 5d, 7d, 14d, and 17d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  HIGHER + PERCHES = HIRE PURCHASE

62 comments on “DT 30220
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  1. Off like a rocket today, for the first five clues, and then came to an abrupt halt.
    Kept at it though, and soon picked up some speed until the last few, which took as much time as the whole lot up to then. Got there in the end and was glad I did.
    Ecellent puzzle, no idea who the compiler is. Great fun!

  2. I thought this was perhaps at the easier end of this setter’s spectrum but no compromise on quality and fun.
    12a a new word for me but easily obtainable from checkers and wordplay and I don’t think you’ll see “bones” for doctors outside crosswordland! Also thought the abbreviation for Yard was Y not YD as in 19a.
    As usual with this setter lots to like including 9&10a plus 5,7&19d but favourite has to be the excellent 17d. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Mr K.

    Rip Burt Bacharach, here’s The Stranglers covering a classic

  3. Stared at it for * time, got 5, then stalled.
    Came back and lo and behold, it all came together in ** time.
    So enjoyable and satisfying to complete unaided apart from spelling checks.
    So many brilliant clues.
    22a is not my COTD, nor my COTW.
    It is my COTM.
    Many thanks, proXimal and Mr K.

  4. I agree with Mr K – a fantastic puzzle right from the off with the fun 1a which immediately put me on pangram alert. The trouble is by the time I remember tonthink pangram again I have all the letters of the alphabet bar an X which I know might not be in there anyway if proXimal is the setter. Or it might be if it’s Cephas! So basically no help whatsoever. LOI the clever 7d which initially misdirected me to prisons and IT tools but my COTD was 17d which out of many amusing clues was the one that made me laugh the most. Thanks to all involved. Have a great weekend everybody.

  5. Un usually for me, on Fridays, I set off quite well and finished three quarters of the puzzle, before coming to a grinding halt in the NE and ending up with a DNF. I liked 22a, 19a and5d best of the clues. Many thanks to Mr K for so e much needed hints on parsing for some of the clues and for the cat pictures (particularly the Kiwi kitten). Thanks to ProXimal for a challebging puzzle.

  6. This was 2*/4.5* for me to complete a splendid week of back-pagers with 17d my favourite.

    For me, “happening” = “in” in 22a and “nick” = “nail” in 7d were both a bit of stretch, but other than those everything in this x-less pangram was excellent.

    Many thanks to proXimal for the fun and Mr K for the review. I’m loving the cat pictures.

  7. An Xcellent finish to what has been an extremely enjoyable week. Tremendous surfaces on a great grid.

    1a gets my nod as it’s the first time I’ve seen it in a crossword.


  8. Cracking puzzle. Didn’t parse 10a until coming reading Mr K’s notes – and now really appreciate the wit of the clue & answer. I’m with RD on 22a and 7d but got both – albeit 22a was my LOI and with 14d took my time from 2* to 3* overall. So many excellent clues, of which highlights were 1, 9 & 16a; 5 & 21d. COTD 19a.

    3* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Proximal and to Mr K

  9. Another gem of a puzzle to see out the non-working week that was full of excellent clues and tight wordplay. 17d went in fairly quickly and proved to be my favourite ahead of 19 and 22a.

    Thanks to proXimal for the fun and to Mr K.

  10. Another brilliant puzzle to end the week. Got off to a good start with 1a going straight in! Made slow progress around the grid but only really held up in the NE corner. Don’t think I would ever have got 7d without the clue. Thank you Mr K. Other clever misdirections that I enjoyed were 22a and, my favourite, 26a. Thanks to ProXimal and Mr K. Two consecutive days of cat pics – wonderful!

  11. A really enjoyable puzzle to end the week – thanks to Mr X and Mr K.
    It’s difficult to make a selection from such a fine set of clues but I’ll go with 1a, 22a and 17d.

  12. A bit of a head scratcher but a very enjoyable end to the (non-)work week – 3*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 14d, 17d, and 24d – and the winner is 18a, I am not sure that I have seen a three word homophone clue before.

    Thanks to proXimal and Mr K.

  13. A spot on end to the week for this Friday puzzle excellent diverse cluing.
    The sw corner slowed me down until the Rovers arrived- my favourite clue.
    Going for a ***/****

  14. Do DT backpagers get much better than this? I don’t think so.

    I seldom manage to select favourite clues these days, finding either a dearth or a glut of choice. This is the latter case.

    Thanks to Mr X and Mr K.

    P.S. Glad to see cat pics getting some love.

  15. I will own up to needing help for a couple but, as I said last week, it is Friday. The whole of this week I seem to have entered wrong words that have held me up. Today it was 27a in which I put “shine” for the first word. Fortunately, it affected 15d only. Again, 1a went straight in so I was off to a good start. The jumpers foxed me for a while as did 7d. With the latter, I could not see how nick related to nail until I saw the hint. 17d raised smile and was nearly my COTD but that spot was soon taken by the excellent 26a.

    My thanks to Proximal for the fun challenge. Thank you also to Mr. K. for the hints – two loads of pusskits in one week! Great! :good:

    1. Talking about wrong words, I got in a pickle because I decided that 22a was an anagram of rovers and u for united and came up with oeuvres which of course only has one r- but it is the middle of the night!

  16. That was tough and I had to resort to using electronic assistance for the NE corner.

    Favourites were 6d and 7d. Didn’t have a problem with the synonym for nick in 7d – I must watch too many crime dramas on television!

  17. Definitely had a struggle with 7d and also with 10a where the checkers I had in persuaded me that I needed a school subject with a good person placed within. Sorted eventually although, like RD, I found nick = nail something of a stretch.
    Top three places went to 19&22a plus the humorous 17d.

    Thanks to proximal and to Mr K and the felines – goodness knows how you root out some of them!

    1. I toospent a lot of time trying to fit a good person into 10a, Jane, and barking up the wrong tree as it turned out, when I read the hints.

  18. I agree with Kitty: they just don’t get much better than this one, even though the NE corner pushed me into **** solving time, with 7d my LOI. This was just brilliant throughout, I thought, with 17d (glad I remembered that little UK-centred term from an earlier puzzle) my COTD, but so much else to like, especially 22a (so very clever), 19a, 26a, & 16a, and I haven’t even mentioned the Down clues! But as I said about Beam’s Toughie yesterday, this was the Total Package, the best of the week for me. Thanks to Mr K and ProXimal. ****/*****

  19. Top notch again today. Suspected a likely X-less pangram after 1a & that certainly helped the solve though it still pushed me into *** time. Didn’t have an issue with nail/nick but share RD’s thoughts about happening/in. Didn’t twig the 2/3 parsing at 10a despite seeing it because I completely ignored person & thought surely the synonym had to be inside the subject. Ticks aplenty & if picking 4 of each they’d match Mr K’s selections other than I’d swap 9a for 1a. 17d my fav.
    Thanks to proXimal & Mr K
    Ps more rain in Gauteng with golf abandoned after just 2 holes.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about Pecks Anchovette – aghast, it was an SA staple and everyone used to love it.Have googled and found a very authentic recipe I will try. Friends used to bring back copious jars for me! Hope you are enjoying SA.

        1. Whenever I come across something I don’t know, I have to look it up. However, Pecks Anchovett eludes me and appears to have been discontinued. Is it a form of anchovy paste?

  20. Not my scene at all with rough ride in East particularly 6, 7 and 9d with all of which I would quibble. Thank you proXimal and MrK.

  21. Popped on to see if I am right to be struggling and I can see from the comments that it might be a bit beyond my grey cells. If I hadn’t found 2 anagrams to get me going I am not sure I would have started. I am now 3/4 done and will return to look at the hints later as I often find I can do a few more if I keep returning to it.

  22. We always reckon that getting the first across clue answered is a great start, but less so today because we soon stalled, but recovered in time to finish before breakfast was cleared away, so 3* for us. Some really good clues and some smilers. We liked 7d and 22 ac best. Thanks to the setter – we still cannot work them out – and our feline blogger for excellent hints.

  23. A fine Friday puzzle. Great clues, a reasonable challenge and a pleasurable solve. I have ticked quite a few and I’ll pick 17d for special mention. 3*/4*.

  24. Another puzzle this week that required a lot of head scratching and pondering. Slow go for me from start to finish. Found a lot fo the parsing hard again today too.

    3*/3* for me.

    Favourites include 13a, 18a, 19a, 27a, 1d & 21d — winner for me 19a.
    Smiles for 2d, 7d, 14d & 20d

    Thanks to proXimal and Mr K

  25. Finally completed without using the hints, but with the use of some of the above comments (thank you all). I confess to not understanding the * system but I am sure I must be in 10* time but I really enjoyed the challenge and I am glad I did not admit defeat. Just as well I had lots of time today between cleaning windows!

    I loved 19a, 22a and 20d. I could not understand how to parse 3d without Mr K’s hints.

    Thank you Mr K for the hints and lovely cat pics and to the setter.

    1. I never use the * system, Misty. Personally, I don’t think it says anything to the vast majority and is just a code that can mean anything. One person’s * is another’s ****.

      Does it matter how long we take to solve? Does it matter to others how much we enjoyed it?

      I am aware that I may be opening a can of worms here but, if I were you, Misty, I would ignore the star system? 😌

      BTW. You seem to be doing well with your solving. 👍

      1. Thank you for the encouragement. It has been a good week for me which is great progress and as you say it has been enjoyable and educational which is the main thing!

        1. Hello Misty, and thanks for commenting. There’s no top-down guidance here for how bloggers assign star ratings. It is most definitely not a science. I try to use 3* as an average for a back-page week. So, a bit easier or a bit harder than average IMO will get 2* or 4* respectively. The editor keeps an eye on puzzle difficulty so we will almost never see a 1* or a 5*. Other bloggers go by solving time, so their 3* difficulty can be very different than mine. You can be sure that I found a puzzle I rated 3* more challenging that one where I gave 2*. Well, except for yesterday when I forgot to change the difficulty rating from the default 2* that I used on Tuesdays. But other than that … :)

          Comments by some of the regulars may give you a read on how the community saw the puzzle that’s more useful than a lone blogger’s opinion.

          But, as Steve C says, the important thing is to have fun and not worry about ratings.

          1. Absolute agree with you and Stephen – I never consider stars and have never timed myself, we usually do the crossword during. Lunch between one and two – such creatures of habit, so I reckon about an hour plus eating time! How nice to have cats two days running ! Many thanks to you and the setter – sleepless night so was glad to have a distraction with a cup of hot chocolate!

            1. Good to know I am not alone in being wide awake in the small hours! Feel like turning to something rather stronger than cocoa!

  26. Being a member of the tiny brain club, this was a toughie! I did manage the NW but the NE was a DNF with three unsolved. South wasn’t nearly as hard, I solved enough to get checkers then use my word search. I had a lot of bung ins, had no idea how they worked but they fit! I wanted to put the right answer for 10a but thought, no, never, makes no sense. I liked 1a, my first solved, but fave was 17d, remembered that Brit envelope by miracle.
    Thanks proXimal for being kinder to us than you normally do, and Mr. K’s parsing much welcomed. Two days of pussy cats? My cup runneth over.

  27. Tough for me today. Lots of bung-ins, most correct but some wrong.🤔
    So many thanks to Mr K and to the setter. Great cat pics as usual….ta!

  28. Very enjoyable with 7d as my favourite and last one in – kept assuming that digital means IT. Thank you x-type and of course MrK with the endless supply of funny cats

  29. All pretty straightforward and enjoyable. Can’t name a favourite as I haven’t got the crossword with me. Thanks to ProXimal and Mr. K.

  30. I am a 19a man for COTD. Thought ** for the most part but the NE pushed me into *** territory. Took me a while to get into 10a and 23a and 7d and 15d. Lunch at the Bedford in Tavistock was excellent so forgive late post. Regards to Mr K and our esteemed setter. Happy weekend all.

  31. Thanks to Mr K for the review and to commenters for comments. I’ll be back on Sunday with a topical Cross Atlantic puzzle.

    1. Thank you for today’s puzzle and for popping in, proXimal. I haven’t got into the Cross Atlantic yet but I may have a look to see the topical theme.

      1. Please do. My Cross Atlantic puzzles are usually every Sunday and they always have a theme — if you like it, you should check out some of the ones you’ve missed, if you subscribe to the puzzles site.

  32. Thanks Proximal for a fun and brain-scratching challenge on the cusp of **/*** time for me.
    After a rapid 1a fuelled start there was a equally rapid deceleration leading to a slow grind at the end – 7d was LOI with a loud clang as the penny finally did the proverbial
    Faves 6d and 17d as well as 22a
    Thanks too to Mr K

  33. Wow, that was tough, but very enjoyable. At the top end of my abilities, and needed all my perseverance.
    22a and 17d were my favourites. LOI was 10a which also raised a smile when the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Proximal and Mr K

  34. Top puzzle with a real bite towards the end. Like others I found 1a and the south fell fairly quickly with greater challenge in the north. I was convinced 7d was a digital tool for far too long and I could not parse 9a until I read the hints. 12a and 22a were new words for me but I got both from the wordplay. Amongst many others, I liked 19a for the surface, 17d for smile and 23d as just a great word – COTD. **/****

    TY to proXimal and MrK

  35. Well that was a struggle for me but with a few extra hints I was able to complete it. Don’t know why but I had trouble with selecting which words were relevant to the answers. Just me a bit muddle headed with a cold! Many thanks to Proximal and I’m looking forward to the cross Atlantic. Thanks to Mr K for putting me on the right path and for the lovely cat pictures.

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