DT 30225 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30225

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30225

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from a now sunny South Devon. In a case of “deja vu all over again” I’m back where I started (at least for the time being) up against my old sparring partner Ray T.

For those familiar with today’s setter, the puzzle will have provided few surprises, just the usual concise clueing laced with typical wit and a couple of less than obvious synonyms. All very enjoyable.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Help when one’s stuck in position (10)
ASSISTANCE: Piece together a conjunction meaning when and a position or attitude into which is inserted the letter that looks like the number one and the possessive S.

6a Drive with parking on slope (4)
RAMP: Drive or thrust followed by the abbreviation for Parking

10a Defend former partner left in drag (7)
EXPLAIN: The usual 2-letter noun for former partner plus an insertion of the abbreviation for Left into a synonym of drag in the sense of nuisance

11a Say, a space turned into berth (7)
MOORAGE: Start with the abbreviated form of for example (say). Add A from the clue and a simple synonym of space and reverse (turned) the result.

12a Analysis of chap facing madness (8)
COVERAGE: A rather old-fashioned name for a chap or character plus a synonym of madness or great anger.

13a Pips best players (5)
SEEDS: A straightforward double definition, perhaps think tennis for the less obvious.

15a Buries old doctors on hospital department (7)
ENTOMBS: Start with an abbreviated hospital department, add the abbreviations for Old and Bachelor of Medicine (don’t forget the plural).

17a Excuse could be so naive (7)
EVASION: Anagram (could be) of the following two words

19a Blocks forces capturing a rook (7)
PARRIES: This puzzled me for a while, not the solution which is a synonym of blocks as a verb (think goalkeeper stopping a shot) but the parsing. Place a verb meaning forces or levers but usually spelt differently (it’s in the BRB) around A from the clue and the abbreviation for Rook. Here is an example provided by the very best.

21a Student more inadequate taking arithmetic? (7)
LEARNER: A synonym of more inadequate or meagre goes around (taking) the single letter representation of what arithmetic is said to be an example of (the other two being reading and writing), hence the question mark at the end of the clue.

22a Complete havoc, anarchy or shambles initially (5)
CHAOS: The first letters (initially) of the preceding five words. For newer solvers this setter usually includes one of these clues.

24a Sweetheart is trying to retain style (8)
ARTISTRY: A cleverly disguised (in that sweetheart is not this setter’s usual “e” but part of the fodder) lurker as indicated by the word retain.

27a Capital is strong following detailed warning (7)
BELFAST: Something that could be used as a warning or reminder loses its last letter (detailed) and is followed by a stretched synonym of strong in the sense of steadfast or maybe in the sense of a current in a river.

28a Cook, large inside, getting more slender (7)
SLIMMER: Insert the abbreviation for Large into a method of cooking something on a low heat.

29a Language is Queen’s English (4)
ERSE: The regnal cipher of our old queen, the possessive S and the abbreviation for English giving a Celtic language.

30a Dodgy hip, so rests hip replacement? (10)
PROSTHESIS: Anagram (dodgy) of the following three words. Amusing and clever surface read


1d Last word from alpha males (4)
AMEN: The letter represented by Alpha in the phonetic alphabet and some adult males.

2d Second drink follows drink (9)
SUPPORTER: Start with an informal word for drink as a verb then add a type of ale. Second here is in the sense of a backer or advocate.

3d Quiet beer possibly source of gas (5)
SHALE: Another beer needed here, this time after an interjection requesting quiet or silence. Quite topical as it happens

4d Makes hard queen say less occasionally (7)
ANNEALS: A former queen and the alternate (occasionally) letters of sAy LeSs.

5d Struggle with advance embracing sweetheart (7)
COMPETE: A simple synonym of advance as a verb goes around an affectionate or quaint name for one’s sweetheart.

7d Conscious of strife in hospital department (5)
AWARE: Insert a synonym of strife or great conflict into a different hospital department from 16a, one where you go if all else fails and are prepared for a (very) long wait

8d Joke from proletariat about Labour’s leader (10)
PLEASANTRY: Place a mildly derogatory name for a group of poor or rustic people around the initial letter of Labour giving some banter. Good surface read.

9d Endless dessert, also called foreign delicacy (8)
MOUSSAKA: A blancmange style dessert loses its last letter (endless) and is followed by the abbreviation for Also Known As.

14d Wretched ‘celebs’ paid to go wild (10)
DESPICABLE: Anagram (to go wild) of the preceding two words. Ignore the punctuation.

16d Beneath sea one finds tarry anchor (8)
MAINSTAY: Tarry here is a verb meaning to remain, not an adjective, and it follows (beneath in a down clue) a synonym of sea or ocean.

18d Halfwit on air with smug broadcast (9)
IGNORAMUS: Anagram (broadcast) of ON AIR plus SMUG.

20d Possibly dirty small talk (7)
SPATTER: The abbreviation for Small and some talk usually associated with sales. Good surface read again.

21d Share applications for plants (7)
LOTUSES: Append some applications or implementations to a synonym of share as a noun, a portion or part.

23d A sailor turns up world map (5)
ATLAS: A from the clue and a reversal (turns up) of a quaint name for an experienced sailor.

25d Actress’s last desire to be fashionable (5)
SWISH: The final letter of actresS and a desire or want.

26d Reportedly makes vases (4)
URNS: A pretty straightforward homophone of makes in a financial sense.


Favourite for me was the pun, brilliant! Which did you like?



64 comments on “DT 30225
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  1. I agree with our blogger’s opening comments, although I would have added another star for enjoyment. I thought the Quickie pun was outstanding, and dovetailed nicely with 8d. All in all a terrific puzzle.

    Thanks to Ray T for the fun, and to SL.

  2. Thank you to one and all. I am still wrestling with this, I will get there I hope. 4d the definition is the exact opposite of the process which is to take something hard and brittle and soften to toughen.

    1. Good evening.
      Just about finished, although I had to look at the hints (thank you Stephen!) for 12a, 4d, and 5d, and had recourse to the dictionary for the definition of 4a as well. Loved the misdirection in 27a; definitely thought 30a was the best clue, and a “Crikey!” for 21a

  3. More straightforward than many Ray T puzzles, apart from the few head-scratchers and the unusual synonyms. I enjoyed this puzzle, especially 24a, 27a, 8d and, 16a and 9d. Thanks to SL for the hints and to Ray T for an intriguing puzzle.

  4. A few new words for me today, and some difficult parsing for me. I got all the words but didn’t understand all the clues. Cove, Erse, and porter (in the sense used) being totally new to me. I thought clue for 2d was mistakenly incomplete!
    Thank you again for the clarifications!

  5. A bit of a struggle today. Even with 1a, 1d and 6a in I could not sort out the rest of the top half. Bottom was better and I particularly liked the anagrams at 14d and 30a along with the misdirection at 16d. Returning to the top half it was the NE that held me up the longest. Loved 11a and 9d when the penny dropped. Finally have to admit to needing the reveal for 12a as that synonym for ‘chap’ was completely new to me and the whole idea of ‘ coverage ‘ meaning analysis would not have occurred to me. Not altogether my cup of tea today but appreciated as always. Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  6. I enjoyed the challenge of this puzzle, which required some head scratching to complete. As with StephenL, I wasn’t entirely sure about the parsing of 19a and while 4d was obvious from the clue, it was a new word for me. I am always impressed with how RayT manages to keep his clues so succinct. No particular clue stood out for me today, but will opt for the disguised lurker in 24a as my COTD. Thanks RayT, thanks SteohenL.

    1. 4d could not have been obvious because the definition is wrong. I’m a metallurgist.
      “Temper” is often misdefined, too.

  7. Ray T is enjoyable as always – thanks to him and StephenL.
    I liked 10a, 16d and 20d but I agree with SL that the highlight was the Quickie pun.

  8. I for one didn’t particularly enjoy this and found it hard going. I disagreed with too many, 8d being an example – a joke is not a pleasantry IMHO. Anyway I finished unaided but came to look at the hints (for which thanks) to parse quite a lot of them 19a and 21d for instance. Horrid day here on the North Norfolk coast and my lovely gardener battling away in the rain.

  9. 2*/4.5*. Great stuff from the master of brevity. I confidently entered “sleeker” as my answer to 28a believing that “seeker” was a devious description of Captain James Cook, which messed up the SE corner for me for a while until I realised that wasn’t right.

    16d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

    P.S. There is a splendid Silvanus Toughie on offer today.

  10. RayT in a benign mood, I thought.
    Many a smile eg 10 and 11a.
    And some very well concealed lurkers.
    Last in 19a which added .5 to my ** time.
    Many thanks, and to StephenL.

  11. First of all, I got the pun right! (I do try to keep up.) Second and more importantly, I loved this Ray T with a difference, most notably his variations on the queen. Stylistically, the clues were as witty and concise as usual, with the NW particularly clever (12a, my LOI, is also my COTD). Big ticks also at 11a, 8d, 20d, 21d, and 19a.

    What a great week we’re having with the backpagers and Silvanus’s Toughie today is another work of art. Thanks (and welcome back to Thursday), Stephen. Kudos as usual to Ray T. ***/****

    1. Correction and addendum: I think my intention was to say ‘variations on the queen and sweetheart’ in my comment above, but my mind misbehaved apparently. Also, I just forgot to include 16d among my favourite clues.

  12. Ray T at his very best – 2.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 2d, 9d, and 16d – and the winner is 16d, I do like ‘tarry.’

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

    P.S. Ditto with RD on the Silvanus Toughie.

    1. Both the BRB and Collins give one of the definitions of the solution as “to strengthen or toughen” presumably used in a wider context then what you’re thinking of.

      1. From Wiki:

        In metallurgy and materials science, annealing is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable. It involves heating a material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature for an appropriate amount of time and then cooling.

        The key phrase being: “reduce its hardness”.

        1. 3. (transitive)
          to toughen or strengthen (the will, determination, etc)
          The above is from Collins giving a more general meaning outside of metallurgy.
          Anyway, the setter has set it and the editor has approved it and I’ve attempted to justify it so I’ll say no more. Maybe Ray T will clarify when he pops in.

          1. Indeed. I’m not saying anybody’s right or wrong – just suggesting that the word should be regarded as an auto-antonym.

  13. Another top-notch offering from Ray T. Not too difficult but with great clues providing an enjoyable solve. The 4d answer does seem to be a bit of a contranym/Janus word. It usually means to harden/toughen but can mean to make (metal) softer/more malleable/ductile and easier to work. Perhaps our resident metalurgist could clarify? I’ve ticked a few but can’t pick a favourite, so will mention 16d. 2.5*/4*.

  14. I feel really blessed – two of my favourite DT setters working in tandem for the second week running!
    All of Mr T’s wicked humour on show in this one and my tick list was really long, mostly due to the smile-inducing surface reads.
    Short list comprises 15&17A plus 7,14,18&20d. A mention also for the novel Quickie pun.

    Devotions as usual to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review.

  15. I found this a real mixture, getting through a lot of it quite quickly and then grinding to a halt on the last five or six in the top right. The combination of tenuous synonyms left me short of checkers.

    The brevity of the clues along with the fluent surfaces is very impressive.

  16. WAH! I found this far from benign. A challenge! A struggle! I needed the delightful Stephen’s help more than once.

    My toast and orange juice with no bits were long consumed before I crossed the last one (21d) off. Never was there a story of more woe than this.
    I feel like Spode after Aunt Dahlia biffs him with a cosh.

    Thanks to Ray T and Stee-Fen-Ell.

    1. Thanks for the Jeeves moment, Terence! (I had to refresh my memory of ‘Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit’.) Hope you’re recovered.

  17. A bit of a chewy one for me, as I always struggle with RayT’s wavelength.


    Fav 30a LOI 12a

    Thanks to RayT & StephenL

  18. So I just get it into my head that Sweetheart is ‘e’, and now it isn’t …. twice!

    Many thanks to StephenL for much needed help, and to RayT for an enjoyable challenge.

  19. So a RayT puzzle this week that I found manageable, as I find his puzzles quite challenging.
    Lots of great clues with a few that really made for some head scratching.


    Favourites include 1a, 15a, 29a, 30a, 7d & 16d with winner 15a
    Good fun this week.

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL for hints.

  20. I usually get on well with RayT puzzles and today was no exception – I mostly went through this fairly easily albeit with a few more bung-ins than I prefer. Some of the wit and surfaces (often with a topical edge) I think are top notch, such as 10a, 15a etc. I did have a few ums today though, and needed Stephen’s help; I had never heard of cove for chap in 12a, and 19a synonym for forces looks a mistake to me. However, 24a, 27a, 30a were great, with the simple but hilarious 1d getting my COTD. **/****

    Ty to RT and SL

  21. I struggled a bit with this and needed the hints for a couple. Having said that, I managed about 90% unaided and found those very enjoyable. Trying to make “palp” mean slope in 6a stopped me seeing the obvious answer. A great penny drop moment with 19a but the one that gets my vote for COTD is 2d for the laugh and the great surface.

    Thank you, Ray T for the fun and the variations on sweetheart. Many thanks to StephenL for the hints, which were very useful.

    A terrific Quickie pun today. :good:

  22. Super puzzle from RayT, all the usual favourites and of course some slightly less familiar synonyms. More of a challenge than the other backpagers this week, and some wonderful “Doh!” moments when pennies dropped.

    2.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to RayT & to StephenL

    1. I don’t know whether you’ve commented before as your comment went into moderation but if you haven’t welcome to the blog John.

  23. Better than most Ray T puzzles although I still needed the hints to parse my answers to 27a, 16d and 21d.
    For me too many answers where the checking letters are all vowels.
    Thx to all

  24. Not for me, too much like hard work! I solved less than ten when I decided this was no fun, so I’m off to the pool to do my exercises. I did say earlier in the week that we can expect an awakening at the end of the week, we’ve been spoilt so far!
    Thanks RayT for taking the time and StephenL for the hints and tips.

  25. I’ve struggled with this one today. I’ve had to use SLs excellent review far too many times for my liking. Thanks anyway to the setter and to SL.

  26. Due to a series of unfortunate events and then visitors I am only just starting todays and ran out of time for yesterdays crossword or blog. I have discovered my success at solving anything is directly proportional to how much sleep I have had, having a clear head and being able to make several visits to the clues! So I may well not be too successful today!
    I mainly popped on so you know I have not returned to lurking.

  27. Late solving this one today & certainly didn’t find it in the least bit benign with completion edging me into *** time. Some of the synonyms didn’t spring readily to mind (well mine anyway). 4d was unfamiliar to me but easily gettable from the wordplay & I’ve certainly never seen the synonym for forces so spelt. I liked the fact that neither sweetheart was what we are used to & would look no further than the excellent lurker at 24a for top spot. Quickie pun super too.
    Thanks to Ray T & Stephen.
    Ps Am looking forward to Silvanus which I’ll save for later on.

  28. Quite straightforward, another excellent daily, and a fine quickie pun. Thanks to Ray and to StephenL for theblog.

  29. It’s Thursday and Ray T, so obviously I was not going to romp through this. However, I did in the end get a lot of satisfaction from most of the puzzle. The spoilers, for me, were 11a, 19a, with complete ignorance of 12a of the old chap (?), and 4d term. Peter did try to explain to me that term, having worked at Ferranti in his youth, and explained the process of heating and cooling. Both answers guaranteed to make me fail to finish on my own. But mostly enjoyable, so not bad for a Thursday.

  30. Completed this at sparrow fart this a.m.(thanks to our trusty village shop delivering newspapers before 6.30 a.m.) but then I omitted to comment. Anyway overall I think I can recall quite enjoying the questioning. Thank you RayT and StephenL

  31. Found this tough, more like ****\*** for me.4d a new word to me and I was not fond of 8d.
    Thanks to Ray T for the challenge and StephenL for the blog

  32. Finally completed but could not have done so without help from Stephens hints – thank you. I completed most on my own but just did not have the brain capacity to work out the last few. Similar to others I learnt several new synonyms.
    I am in awe at being able to produce such clever clues, I am amazed how long it took me to find the lurker in 24a and the anagram in 17a.

    Thank you to StephenL and Ray T for the exercise

  33. Many thanks to Tay T and to Stephen for the necessary hints (6a 20&21d) to occupy my sleepless night! 30a was brilliant.

  34. Got all apart from 19a without help. Don’t think I ever would have with that spelling of « forces ». Penultimate in was 16d which was a great clue, thanks.

  35. Way beyond me, too much thinking outside the box required ,only to find another box. Managed half then resorted to hints. Thanks to all.

    1. Good afternoon, Mr T, just popped back in to check whether you’d left us a message – it means so much to your solvers every time you do.
      Hope Ms Sturgeon’s eventual successor provides you with another good opportunity for a Quickie pun!

    1. To answer your question, yes it is. It’s
      A place for mooring a boat
      A charge for mooring a boat
      The act of mooring a boat

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