DT 30252 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30252

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30252

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Greetings from Ottawa, where it is finally feeling very springlike with the days rapidly getting longer and the snow cover quickly receding – the roads and driveways are bare but there is still two or three feet of the white stuff on lawns.

I found today’s puzzle from Campbell to be a very quick and enjoyable solve. I am thankful for the former as we are still only four hours behind the UK – meaning I don’t get access to the puzzle until 8:00 pm on Sunday evening instead of the usual time of 7:00 pm. I’m hoping by the time my next review rolls round, Britain has finally reset its clocks.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Record of Hungarian composer broadcast (4)
LIST — sounds like (broadcast) a hugely popular 19th century Hungarian pianist and composer

3a   Trip with mates, I suspect, that’s good for morale (4,6)
TEAM SPIRIT — an anagram (suspect) of TRIP MATES I

9a   Work adding a large gemstone (4)
OPAL — line up the abbreviation for a musical work, the A from the clue, and the clothing size symbol for large

10a   Newspaper columnist on houses? (10)
ASTROLOGER — cryptic definition of one who reports on future events that are written in the stars

11a   That man’s Conservative background (7)
HISTORY — “that man’s” expressed as a possessive pronoun and another name for a member of the Conservative Party (in the UK or Canada)

13a   One failing to get a place in annals, or annal (4-3)
ALSO RAN — a lurker hiding in (to get a place in) the final three words of the clue; the indicator is longer than the answer (thank you to Vince for bringing to my attention the error in the original hint)

14a   Indiscreet, facing conflict in plant (11)
LOOSESTRIFE — a word sum of indiscreet or promiscuous and a bitter conflict or fighting

18a   Curiously OTT about a medium hit by private record label (5,6)
TAMLA MOTOWN — start by linking together the A from the clue, the clothing size symbol for medium, and a slang term for hit or thrash; then enclose the result in an anagram (curiously) of OTT and append a word denoting private or personal

21a   Famous rapper, short name, close to retirement (7)
EMINENT — the name of a well-known rapper with its final letter removed (short), the single letter for name, and the closing letter of a word from the clue

22a   Initially find us in genuine denial (7)
REFUSAL — the initial letter of FIND and US from the clue placed inside a synonym for genuine

23a   Popular signs, conspicuous (2,8)
IN EVIDENCE — the usual word for popular followed by telltale signs

24a   Church dignitary heading off sometime soon (4)
ANON — the title of a senior member of the Anglican clergy missing its initial letter

25a   American boarding train for famous race meeting (5,5)
ROYAL ASCOT — the single letter for American inserted into a famous London to Glasgow train service that ceased operation two decades ago

26a   Dam — peculiar, no end (4)
WEIR — a synonym for peculiar minus its final letter (no end)


1d   Predicament after syndicate raised an ambiguity in contract? (8)
LOOPHOLE — a predicament that one digs themselves into following a reversal (raised in a down clue) of a syndicate or group operating in concert to further their common interests

2d   Photo of unexpected attempt on goal (8)
SNAPSHOT — split (4,4) this could be a sneaky manoeuver by a striker

4d   Try Spain and its capital, for example (5)
ESSAY — concatenate the IVR code for Spain, the capital letter of Spain, and another way of expressing ‘for example’

5d   Drink at marriage, endless bubbly (9)
MARGARITA — an anagram (bubbly) of AT and MARRIAG[E] without its final letter (endless)

6d   Accomplished cricket side eliminated (8,3)
POLISHED OFF — accomplished or proficient and one of the two sides of a cricket field

7d   Relation in care (6)
REGARD — double definition, the second denoting consideration

8d   Bully, in reality, ran theatre (6)
TYRANT — our second lurker, hiding in (in) the final three words of the clue

12d   Obvious ambassador fell, being elderly? (4,3,4)
OVER THE HILL — a charade of obvious or open, the abbreviated honorific for an ambassador, and the type of fell one might climb in Scotland or Northern England

15d   Femme fatale, very French, surrounded by some office workers? (9)
TEMPTRESS — the French word for ‘very’ in the midst of some non-permanent office workers

16d   Two knights full of love and feeling for bull! (8)
NONSENSE — two instances of the chess notation for knight on either side of a nil tennis score followed by a feeling or impression

17d   Wisecrack from individual on ship (3-5)
ONE-LINER — another word for individual and a large passenger ship

19d   No rise, strangely, for one of higher rank (6)
SENIOR — an anagram (strangely) of the first two words of the clue

20d   Suffering like Scrooge, perhaps, having lost pound (6)
MISERY — remove the single letter for pound sterling from an adjective that would describe the Dickens’ character mentioned in the clue

22d   Page parish minister shortened (5)
RECTO — a less senior member of the Anglican clergy is subjected to shortening (but this time the other end is removed)

Although there are numerous contenders for the title, my clue of the day is 16a where one has to take care in isolating the definition from the rest of the clue.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): MISSED + RILE = MISTRIAL

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : BLEW + BURIES = BLUEBERRIES

86 comments on “DT 30252
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    1. I agree with you PG but have to concede that a 10a could be a newspaper columnist although not necessarily so.

  1. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: Another very enjoyable challenge to start the week 1.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 22a, 6d, and 22d – and the winner is 22a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  2. What a joy compared to yesterday’s absolute stinker, this one simply flew in. Thanks to Falcon for parsing 12d for me, I knew it was right but couldn’t see why! Have tweaked a muscle in my back so am not in the best of spirits and I was meant to be doing my volunteer printing this afternoon but no chance of that. Thanks to Campbell for an enjoyable puzzle with no weird pieces of clothing, etc.

    1. I was going to say back trouble is a pain in the neck but levity is not always the best medicine. So commiseration to you and I hope it sorts itself out soon.

    2. I have a chronic muscle that flares up every now and then, ever since my fall, and I find a heating pad always calms it down. Don’t know if that helps.

      1. Merusa, I’ve got one of those bags that you heat in a microwave and its now sitting in the small of my back which is really helping. Back problems are a bloomin nuisance so I sympathise.

          1. I was given a microwave pad for Christmas. I didn’t expect to have to use it but here I am hoping for some relief. What a club I’ve joined!

  3. Campbell again proving enjoyment is the great thing about doing crosswords. Honourable mentions to 18 and 21a, 8 and 12d but the gold award belongs to 1d.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. The Idolisation of the prettier Diana Ross meant the best singer in the Supremes, Mary Wilson, lost the recognition she deserved. But can’t dispute that the Supremes and Tamla were the soundtrack of my early life and loves,

  4. Well that was a very enjoyable different kettle of fish. That said, I had never heard of the plant at 14a and needed electronic help, nor the record label at 18a, where Mr Mhids came into his own for the second time this week! Favourite today was 12d, just what I felt like after yesterday’s solve. Others on the podium are 22a, 1d and 15d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. Purple loosestrife is an Eurasian plant that is an invasive species in North America and considered a terrible pest as it spreads rapidly (each plant can produce 2.7 million seeds per year), crowding out native vegetation and destroying wetland habitats.

        1. I’m afraid it is not so benign in the absence of its natural predators to keep it in check. Attempts are being made to control it by introducing the beetles that feed on it. Heaven knows what unforeseen havoc they will cause.

        2. Hi Bob – Himalayan (aka Indian) Balsam is an entirely different and non-native plant to the UK, very invasive. Or am I misunderstanding your question?

  5. I found this puzzle a bit disappointing and thought some of the clues were a bit difficult to follow. Like Paul Gowans (1) I thought10a seemed a bit off the mark,as very few newspapers even carry a horoscope column and even fewer one based on analysis of signs and houses. However, 15d was a good clue. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell

  6. Now look here. It brings me no joy whatsoever to add to THE LIST, but even Monty Don, Nelly The Dog, and Adam Frost combined would have struggled to identify 14a. I potter about in the garden. We visit RHS gardens. I read gardening magazines. Never in my lifetime have I come across 14a.

    Robert Regarding Somerset Maugham – I read ‘Of Human Bondage’ as a teenager as part of my college course, and no book has had such a deep effect upon me in my life. I often felt the same emotions as Philip Carey as a child. Knowing that the novel was ‘almost’ an autobiography added a further level of sharpness to the writing and my understanding of Maugham.

    Thanks to Campbell and The Bird Of Prey.

    1. Good luck in your attempt to eliminate loosestrife. In North America, we’ve been battling this Eurasian interloper for ages without success.

    2. Terence, Terence. I knew 14a – surely you did! Bet Mrs T knows it, you see it on your lovely walks. But what about 18a – that is double Dutch to me, if I were to start a list that would go right at the top.

    3. Oh, Terence! We must be related, somehow, you and I (I have felt this connection before now). I had the very same reaction to Of Human Bondage and the life of Philip Carey. I think I must have been 17 or 18 when I read it, and it instantly made me a believer of W Somerset. I went on to read the novels of course, but only recently have I embarked on the journey to real ALL of his 3-volumned short stories, and they are just the best thing I’ve read in a long time–in the transcendent sense that they transport this once well-travelled ‘ancient mariner’ to so many of those places that I never got to. Of course, the time element (then, not now!) makes these journeys almost like reading the Arabian Nights all over again. Thanks for the note to me. Made my day.

      1. I read most of Somerset Maugham’s bovels and some of his short stories in my late teens time to re-read them perhaps? Meanwhile, I have been given an intriguing book, “Super-Infinite, The Transformations of John Donne” by Katherine Rundell. He is one of my favourite poets and had a fascinating life.

        1. Naturally, CC, I can’t resist adding my great love for Donne’s poetry, especially his Holy Sonnets. Teaching him to my classroom darlings was always a thrill–and a big challenge.

  7. For me this was a bit of a curate’s egg with some clever clues and some which were rather too clever by half. South was most welcoming half. Never heard of 21a rapper so thanks MrG. My horticultural knowledge didn’t rise to 14a and certainly haven’t heard of 18a (more thanks to MrG). Thank you also to Campbell (if it be yours, although it didn’t feel like that) and to Falcon.

  8. Grrr! A did not finish today due to the 14a being new to me. This in spite of having all the checkers and the first word. I need to spend more time in the garden rather than doing the crossword.
    I liked 13a but preferred Island’s artists to those from 18a.

  9. For me Campbell returning to his usual form of a gentle but entertaining Monday puzzle, and unlike some recent Mondays this one was as light as light can be, with 75% of the grid filled in on the first pass and the last few completed in reading order on the second. Fortunately the plant was instantly recognisable (though I am no Monty Don!) as I often encounter it while dog-walking, let alone in garden centres; I needed the checkers for the record label at which point it was a write-in – I didn’t get round to parsing it.

    For me Hon Mentions to 10a, 14a & 23a, 4d & 12d, with COTD 16d.

    1 / 2.5

    Many thanks to Campbell and to the thawing-out Falcon: yes, our clocks change next Saturday night!

  10. 14a required confirmation but otherwise 6d in short order. A pleasant kick off to the new week. No real favourites but I love 18a & am fond of a good 5d so they’ll do as my top two.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  11. Good, mild, as expected, Monday fare.
    Big smile at 10a.
    Last in, 14a, guessed correctly from its checking letters.
    A new bloomer for me.
    15d my COTD.
    So, */4*
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  12. Phew, at least that show that my brain does still work, I had wondered after yesterday. Many went in relatively easily. I struggled with 10a and I am still not sure as completely understand that one. The first part of 18a was new to me but fortunately not hubby and 14a was also unknown but I got it from the wordplay. All in all a good day as I learnt something and finished!

    Many thanks to Falcon and Campbell

  13. Light and breezy, very enjoyable indeed, for me the best Monday for a few weeks.
    I have ticks all over the page but I’ll go for 4,5&20d as my podium placers.
    Many thanks Campbell and Falcon.

  14. A lovely light yet entertaining start to the crosswording week, with 14a and 1d taking the honours. An honourable mention, too, for 3a.

    Thanks to the double punner and Falcon.

  15. 1*/4*. This was light but great fun. I’ve never heard of 14a, nor has Mrs RD, my resident horticultural expert, but it was readily derivable from the wordplay and checkers.

    18a reminded me of a splendid evening out recently to see The DIana Ross Story at our local theatre.

    I had plenty of ticks with 11a, 21a, 25a, 1d & 6d the pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    P.S.If anyone is looking for another puzzle to solve today, can I recommend the Rookie Corner puzzle compiled by our very own Stephen L (aka Dharma)? It’s great fun.

        1. Stan, Falcon & Huntsman – golly, yet another thing to do! I didn’t realise.
          Thank you so much for pointing me at it I shall try and locate it tout de suite.

        1. Yes I found it and have nearly finished it. Unfortunately spent the evening taking minutes at an extremely verbose meeting. But am enjoying it. Is there one every day or just once a week?

  16. I found this harder than Falcon and some of the other BD bloggers. Had to guess the 14a plant, always forget that ‘houses’ as in 10a can refer to star signs, and took a while to solve 7d and complete the NE. Also, while I knew the record label, I’m not sure I get the synonym for ‘hit’ within the answer. All enjoyable nonetheless – COTD for me was 21a for the reference to our favourite confectionery named rapper. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

    1. I had much the same issue with 18a (though I didn’t know the label). I could parse it all except the “hit” part, which felt a bit forced to me to fit the wordplay. I couldn’t get past BAM and eventually had to resort to Google :)

  17. Very Monday, very enjoyable. I didn’t know 14a – somewhat unsurprisingly as my plant knowledge barely extends beyond daisies and roses – though I thought this obtainable through the wordplay. However, 18a I had to resort to Google even though I had the second word. I was much more familiar with the modern rapper in 21a! I’m opting for 1d, 16d and 6d as my COTD

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  18. Crikey, Falcon, you’ve clearly got your smarts on today to give that a 1*. Plaudits! 18A alone pushed that, for me, well into 2 and beyond. Showing my age – in a good way for a change. That is going way back. Huge fun and thanks, as ever.

    1. It helped immensely that I knew the houses, the weed and the record label – ones that seemed to slow the progress or a lot of solvers today.

  19. Another terrific Campbell to get the crosswording week off to a good start. This gave the morning coffee a lovely taste and was a pleasure to solve. Mind you, my last one in 7d, held out for ages I’m still not sure about the parsing. I get the care part but not the relation. I thought the lurker in 13a was well hidden and 15d raised a smile. My COTD is 16d.

    Many thanks to Campbell for the fun and Falcon for the hints.

    1. Steve,

      I presume it is the second definition that is troubling you. It is used as in the phrase “take due care/consideration/xxxxxx of (circumstances, for example)”.

      1. Thank you, Falcon. No doubt I have come across it before but but not in general parlance so it will have slipped the moorings of my mind. :grin:

  20. A nice start to the (non) work week with Campbell. Some tricky clues that required a little head scratching but nothing too obtuse.

    1.5*/4* for me

    Favourites include 21a, 24a, 28a, 12d & 18d with winner today 12d

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  21. Whilst they are both probably considered as legends in their respective fields, I’m surprised more people seem to have heard of the rapper than the record label..

  22. 10a & 7d were the last to fall here although I have to admit that I know nothing about rappers beyond the fact that they hold no appeal for me so my answer went in simply from the checkers and definition.
    14a doesn’t pose many problems here but that Himalayan Balsam certainly does – I’ve spent many hours working with other volunteers to oust it from our Nature Reserves on Anglesey. Fortunately, it is quite shallow-rooted so fairly easy to pull out but it does have to be burnt rather than composted.
    My favourite clue today was 1d with smiles for 17&20d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review.

  23. The Monday Campbell is always most welcome. Thanks to him and Falcon.

    My favourite was the brilliantly hidden 13a … way ahead of my two runners-up 5d & 6d.

    ps. Is there a hint of double duty in 4d Try Spain and its capital …?

    1. There is a back reference but I would not call it double duty. The phrase “Spain and its capital” is equivalent to “Spain and Spain’s capital”, so there are effectively two references to Spain in the clue.

  24. Thoroughly enjoyed this apart from 18a which was last in with the help of Falcon. I filled in 21a as it had to be although. Do not know her. Or him as the case may be. Or even it. I am surprised all these people haven’t heard of the House of Aquarius which dawned some years ago! 13a was a neat lurker and I also liked 19d – but it was all good. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Falcon. Oh and 15d as well

  25. I’m probably the only person in Christendom who did not know that what we Americans simply called Motown was better known in the UK as Tamla. Am I right? Anyway, 18a was my LOI and I got it only because nothing else fit once I twigged the ‘Motown’ part. Lord, we live such parochial lives over here. I didn’t exactly find this a Monday breeze, but I did enjoy it. Thanks to Falcon and Campbell. **/***

      1. Me too, Robert. I twigged the Motown bit, that and Island records are the only labels I know, I had to google the first word.

  26. For those unfamiliar with Tamla Motown, it was a subsidiary of Motown Records established in 1965 to market Motown records internationally (which I expect really means outside North America). Prior to that, Motown records had been licensed to international record labels (in the UK, these were London, Fontana, Oriole American, and Stateside). The first Tamla Motown release in the UK was the Supremes’ “Stop! In the Name of Love”. Tamla Motown records were distributed by EMI. The label was folded into the Motown label in 1976.

  27. I wouldn’t say this is light. However I only needed to look in the BRB for the plant. Never heard of it. Is Spain and it’s capital ES the abbreviation for Spain and also the sound of the Capital letter. Favourites 3 and 26a and 1 6 and 22d with the star clue being 15d. Thanks Campbell and Falcon

  28. What a joy to have a doable puzzle today. It was almost an all my own work, but I had no idea what the record label was, and almost threw in the towel at 21a, as I have almost no knowledge of rappers. But thankfully it was one of the very few I have heard of and actually a clever clue. Had no problem with 10a, as most hard copy newspapers had an astrology section back in the pre internet days. Many of us used to “check our stars” daily. And very happy that I was able to dig up 14a from my brain and not my garden 😊. Thank you Campbell for a very welcome relief after yesterday.

  29. What a relief after yesterdays travails. Even so there are two new words to me in 7d and 14a.
    Apart from that very nice puzzle.
    Thx to all

  30. It’s Monday so it’s Senf saying it’s Campbell🙄😏
    Back to normality after the ‘toughie’ yesterday. Also surprised with difficulty in Tamla Motown and Astrological quarters but we all have our own little corners of darkness.

  31. First things first, may I say what a pleasure solving this was. Are you paying attention Mr. Editor? Isn’t it fun reading all these happy comments instead of all the grouses?
    I didn’t know the plant but used word search for help, also the record label. I had heard of the rapper, didn’t he make the news recently? How on earth can a 12d girl choose a fave? Maybe 12d is it, but I also liked 25a.
    Thank you Campbell for all the fun today, and to Falcon for the learning curve.

  32. I have to say I struggled a bit with this one…just not on Campbell’s wavelength I think.
    Not helped by not knowing the flower and missing the anagram indicator for 5d, even though it is my cocktail of choice.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

    Utterly miserable day here today. Dreich totally sums it up.

  33. I agree with the majority that this puzzle was mostly pleasant and straightforward but private record labels and famous rappers for those of us without grandchildren in the house 😟 I suppose there would be some one complaining if “Skiffle” was mentioned ***/*** Favourites: 14a, 12 and 15d 😃 Thanks to Falcon * and to Campbell

    1. Tamla Motown is an iconic record label founded in America in the late 1950’s so no need for grandchildren input Jaylegs. The rapper has appeared on the back-page previously too.

  34. Perfectly straightforward until it wasn’t so, as usual, not on wavelength with Campbell with some clues entering, for me, toughie territory. I’m beginning to dislike Mondays more and more. No real favourite but thanks to Campbell anyway and Falcon.

  35. Thanks to Campbell – and Falcon
    Due to the oft-mentioned obscure weed in 14a and one or two others: 5d and 7d, my last two in, this pushed me over to 2* / 3* time
    First pun in the quickie took me an age to rumble

  36. Apart from 14a which I had never heard of, not too tricky.
    I don’t think much of the new DT website!
    Thanks both

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