DT No 30255 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT No 30255

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30255

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning everyone from a blustery South Devon coast.

The setter has given us a very fine puzzle that I managed to complete reasonably quickly but I’ve added a star on the difficulty level due to a couple of decidedly tricky parsings. I hope someone pops in to claim it.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Bear in pre-hibernation initially putting on weight (10)
PADDINGTON: A charade of the initial letter of Pre-hibernation, a word meaning putting on or enlarging and a large weight.

6a Reduce high speed (4)
CLIP: A rather good double definition, one a verb the other a noun.

10a Visitor is supposed to be announced (5)
GUEST: A homophone (to be announced) of a synonym of supposed or assumed.

11a Newspaper fine with subordinate making enormous bloomer (9)
SUNFLOWER: Piece together a popular British newspaper, the abbreviation for Fine and a synonym of subordinate or inferior.

12a Wants daughter to meet English gentlemen possessing energy! (7)
DESIRES: The abbreviations for Daughter and English are followed by some “gentlemen” containing the abbreviation for Energy.

13a Grasps biscuits I’ve put out (7)
DIGESTS: Grasps here is in the sense of understands or takes in. Remove the “I’ve” (put out) from some popular biscuits, particularly delicious with a chocolate coating.

14a Stubborn Republican about to block review of Tennessee report (12)
RECALCITRANT: Start with the abbreviation for Republican. Then an abbreviation for about or CircA goes inside (to block) a reversal (review) of the State abbreviation for Tennessee and a report or account.

18d Expert against healthy characters eating European pastries (12)
PROFITEROLES: Piece together an abbreviated expert, a synonym of healthy or well, the abbreviation for European and some characters or parts.

21a Unscrupulous male this writer’s spoken about (7)
IMMORAL: Start with the abbreviated form of “I am” (this writer’s). Add a synonym of spoken and insert the abbreviation for Male between the two. The containment indicator is “about”

23a Terrible actor content to leave India for another country (7)
CROATIA: Anagram (terrible) of ACTOR and the outside letters (content to leave) of IndiA.

24a Duck out of Bond film (6-3)
GOLDEN-EYE: The name of a Bond film is also the name of a medium sized diving duck.

25a Primate dismissing bishop perhaps as bore (5)
DRILL: Remove a three-letter name for a chess piece (bishop perhaps) from the front of a colourful primate of North Africa.

26a Spoke of career before golf (4)
RUNG: A synonym of career as a verb and the letter represented by Golf in the phonetic alphabet.

27a Dry hay tedder spreads across field at last (10)
DEHYDRATED: Anagram (spreads) of the preceding two words contains the final letter (at last) of fielD.


1d A little chihuahua dog appears around temple (6)
PAGODA: Hidden (a little) and reversed (around) in the clue.

2d Formal letter, nineteenth one penned by physician today ultimately (6)
DRESSY: The nineteenth letter of the alphabet is “penned by” or contained within one of the titles for a physician and the final letter of todaY.

3d Idea minister rued occasionally to reform brokers (14)
INTERMEDIARIES: Anagram (to reform) of IDEA MINISTER plus alternate letters of RuEd.

4d Fuel leakage when key parts crack (3,6)
GAS ESCAPE: Took me a minute or two to see this. A synonym of when and a computer key part or are placed within a synonym of crack or split. Excellent clue.

5d Admitted having had debts, concealing indefinite number (5)
OWNED: A synonym of had debts or was in arrears goes around the letter representing an indefinite number. I like the contemporary use of the solution here.

7d Detective, hard on upset mum in London borough (8)
LEWISHAM: A charade of a fictional TV detective, the abbreviation for Hard and a reversal of an informal name for one’s mother.

8d To some extent rising cadet is a rapacious sponger (8)
PARASITE: Hidden (to some extent) and reversed (rising in a down clue) in the clue.

9d Musical instrument underneath stairs in black box (6,8)
FLIGHT RECORDER: Place a simple woodwind musical instrument beneath a description of some stairs.

15d Note Yorkshire’s opener becoming short-tempered (9)
CROTCHETY: A musical (quarter) note is followed by the initial letter (opener) of Yorkshire.

16d Type of spaniel in season, mother-to-be essentially (8)
SPRINGER: Follow the season we’re in now with the essential letters of mothER-to-be.

17d Queue endlessly to get disinfectant (8)
FORMALIN: If we split the solution 4,1,3 it’s an instruction to queue without (endlessly) its last letter.

19d Harsh neighborhood police officer must flee (6)
STRICT: Remove the abbreviation for a senior police officer (must flee) from a synonym of neighbourhood or area.

20d Forked out around two pounds for pasty (6)
PALLID: A synonym of forked out (some money) is placed around a single letter abbreviation for pounds (X2)

22d Subject, say, covered by story (5)
LIEGE: A story or untruth goes around an abbreviated synonym of say in the sense of for instance.

Quickie Pun: Wild+ Dab + East = Wildebeest

In a strong field my favourite was the super smooth 4d. Which ones were your winners?

79 comments on “DT No 30255

  1. Not a Ray T Thursday – clues with more than 6 words in the back pager and multi-word clues in the Quickie. However, his frequent recent stand-in, when his Beam alter ego has been on Toughie duty, is on Toughie duty himself today.

    All very confusing and a real ‘guess the setter day’ so my five bob is staying in my pocket. But that did not detract from the challenge and enjoyment – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 6a, 15d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL.

    1. It was quite a few years ago, but we did once have a Ray T and a Beam on the same day

  2. That was very enjoyable with most going in swiftly but I had to biff 14a because the parsing was out of my reach. Lego on steroids.

    1a gets the nod as it had a lovely surface and he is of course a legend.


  3. Nicely pitched puzzle today, with just enough to tax the ageing brain.
    Last in were 4d and then 14a. Took some while to see how the former was clued, but the penny finally dropped. Got the answer to the latter (couldn’t be much else) but can’t for the life of me see why, so will now go to the hints for enlightenment, well done to our setter, great workout.

  4. This is more like it! Very enjoyable and a challenge. I guessed a couple of the long ones and then figured out why. (Brokers and stubborn). Bit naughty maybe. 24 across needed confirmed for me quick Google – favourite 17d.

    1. Bemused as to why you might think it naughty, J+F – if you can get the right answer just from the definition then you’ve still got the right answer, even if the wordplay has not assisted you.

      1. Interesting. That’s true, and I solve 50 – 60% of cryptic clues straight from the definition and suss out the wordplay afterwards. And for decades I never gave that habit much (or any) thought – until I started reading this blog in around 2015. There are plenty of people on here who insist that you haven’t “solved” a clue fully/properly until you have also resolved the riddle of the word-play – and I can’t disagree.

        1. I can! ;) But leaving that quibble aside, there’s still nothing ‘naughty’ about biffing an answer one believes to be correct but cannot parse!

          1. Oh thank goodness, as I usually have two or three answers that I know are right but cannot for the life of me see why. I always thought that was a bit of a cheat too.

  5. I did not find this easy, and it took me a while to get over the finishing line.

    Re 14a – I put the answer in and came back to try and parse it once I had finished the puzzle.

    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the write-up. 4*/4*

  6. Good to have a more testing backpager this week, and I concur with Stephen’s rating – and for the same reason: in the end I stopped worrying about the parsing of my answer to 14a. The puzzle felt oddly dated to me for some reason, but it was a satisfying solve with generally smooth surface readings and a good variety of clue types. A grid of dogs and police, but no police dog handlers. 16d raised a smile – we have three of them currently with one usually keeping my toes warm under the desk in my study, but all are chaps, so no mothers-to-be. Sadly no longer possible to get a decent full-sized Cornish Pasty for just a couple of quid – prices now more like £4-£5.

    Special mentions to 1a, 13a & 7d.

    3 / 2.5

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and to StephenL

  7. A challenging but, on the whole doable puzzle, with some really lever clues, a few of which, I ffound difficult to parse. COTD for me was the cleverly wrapped up 3d. The lego clues 18a and 7d were also enjoyable as was the double definition at 24a. Many thanks to Stephen L for help with rmthe clues I couldn’t completely parse and to the compiler for a most entertaining crossword.

  8. Most enjoyable though at first glance I predicted defeat. Even 1a didn’t come on first read. I was grateful for Stephen’s help with a couple of parsings. I managed to struggle through 14a on my own, but only because I knew the answer. I am in awe of the compiler who managed to dream that one up. Favourite today was 4d, with special mention for 9d and 17d. Thanks to our setter for the absolute pleasure and StephenL for his help with 6a and 19d.

  9. Agree with SL’s ***/****, well clued throught nothing obscure.
    Favourite was 17 down ,excellent surface, liked 13a.
    Agree with Jezza14A was a difficult parse even after the finished puzzle.

  10. Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the review and hints. I managed to guess 14a from the checkers, but still can’t parse it, even though I read the hint. Favourite was 17d. Super puzzle. Was 3* /4* for me.

    1. H. 14a is a confusing, Toughie-type clue for sure. Reading SL’s hint leads to:

      R + E(CA)LCITRA(NT) R=Republican. CA(about) is inserted (to block) into a reversal (review) of Tennessee (TN becomes NT) and report (article becomes ELCITRA).

  11. Curiously, 14a came to me quite early in the solve but I just now sighed with relief that I can fully and properly parse it (thanks SL). Otherwise, everything else slotted very nicely into its place, with 7d my COTD and 17d winning the Clarkie for making me laugh. Thanks to SL and today’s setter. 2.5*/3.5*

  12. I liked this a lot – many thanks to our setter and StephenL.
    The shortlist (from a long list) for my podium contains 4d, 16d and 17d.

    The many fans of Silvanus may like to know that his Toughie today is not too tricky but very entertaining.

  13. I found this very tricky to start with, but finally filled the grid on my own. 1a had to be my favourite. I learnt a new duck name and most definitely needed the wonderful hints to unravel 14a, even reading the hint tied my brain in knots! 4d was very clever.
    If possible can I have a bit more explanation for 2d as I see the doctor and the y but I need more than just the 19th letter to fill the middle. I am sure I am just being dim.

    Many thanks to Stephen L for the comprehensive explanations and the mystery setter for the challenge

        1. Watch that one. It come up quite often. Took me a while not helped by looking for a formal letter.

  14. The old grey cells had to work a bit harder today but the puzzle was certainly worth the effort and the humour shone through. So many ticks on my sheet but the final nod went to 1,13&14a plus 9d with a special commendation going to the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to our setter for a most enjoyable challenge and to Stephen for the review.

  15. What a difference a day makes. After recent easy rides I thought I was never going to get underway today with a nil return on first read through but second time lucky and I was soon happily into this satisfying exercise. Not sure I fully parse 25a or 4d. Fav difficult to select but liked 1a and 9d and 17d probably takes pole position. Thank you Mysteron and Stephen L.

  16. Puzzle of the week so far in my view but still have the Silvanus Toughie to no doubt savour. 4d&14a the 2 parsing head scratchers for sure both of which were eventually twigged post grid completion. 17d my last in & probably my fav.
    Thanks to the setter & to Stephen.

  17. I do wish the DT would sort out its IT.
    Unable to download onto my iPad until 11am.
    Looking forward to my epic battle with the DT in April when I renew my subscription!!!
    Put me in a bad mood for this otherwise enjoyable and moderately difficult puzzle.
    1a and 17d outstanding clues.
    Managed completion in 2.5* time.
    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL, luckily not needed.

  18. A fine Thursday offering – best puzzle of the week so far. Great clues, a reasonable challenge and much enjoyment. Fav: 14a. 3*/4*.

  19. Not too hard today IMO, although I think I could have made less of a meal of some of the clues with a little more application. I was able to get most of the long clues early on which always helps to fill in lots of crossers. 7d was great fun and I’d heard of the duck before so he went in nicely. And now I’d like some 18a ;)

  20. I’m sorry but I’m going against the majority because I found this a bit impenetrable and not much fun. Maybe I’m having one of those days.

    Sorry, Mr or Mrs (or Miss) setter but I could not do justice to your offering. Thank you, SL for making sense of it for me.

  21. 2*/4*. This was very enjoyable and reasonably straightforward apart from the parsing of 14a, which I found impenetrable.

    My podium consists of 1a, 4d & 17d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to SL, particularly for explaining the wordplay for 14a.

  22. Found this non RayT puzzle a relatively easy solve today. Some nice clues and chuckles along the way again today.

    1.5*/3.5* today for me.

    Favourites include 1a, 13a, 7d, 9d & 17d … all good but winner for me is 7d

    Thanks to setter and StephenL

  23. What a comparison with yesterdays beauty. This is at the other end of the scale. Took two sittings to complete with very little to enjoy. I found it clumsy and somewhat turgid.
    Not one for me.
    Thx for the hints

  24. Fine fun and eminently doable. But … why is 24A hyphenated? It’s one word, in either sense, surely?

    1. No hyphen in the Bond film but the BRB has the duck hyphenated. So, presumably, our setter did the research before entering the enumeration.

      1. Collins has the duck as one word whereas in the film it looks like the second “E” is capitalised. A little confusing but I guess the setter will have gone with the BRB

  25. Last one in 6a. I thought of the word for 17d without even knowing that I know it! Got 1a straightaway without parsing. Got the film pretty quickly but never heard of the duck. Last in was the Borough despite knowing the detective and my daughter living there. Favourites 10 11a and 2 9 17 and 20d. Thanks StephenL and Setter.

  26. How strange that wavelength thing is! Some days when I’ve struggled, I come here and find reviewers discussing how straightforward a puzzle has been. Other times, like today when I’ve raced through the solve I find others are finding it tough.
    I really enjoyed this with 1a the standout favourite. 14a was of course a bung in. Thanks to Stephen L , for rooting out the parsing, and to our mystery setter
    Now to the Toughie!

  27. Many thanks to Stephen for another excellent set of Hints and Tips and some great illustrations, I’m sure many will have fond memories of 1a’s meeting with Her Majesty last year.

    Thanks too to everyone taking the trouble to leave comments, Chris Lancaster has granted me the very rare honour of appearing in both the back-page and Toughie slots on the same day for which I feel immensely privileged. I’m also responsible for today’s online Cross Atlantic puzzle, so it’s quite a busy day!

    1. Many thanks for claiming this Silvanus, as I said in my preamble a very fine puzzle, a pleasure to solve and blog

      1. Oh, I do love it when the setter pops in. I’m sure we all do. Huge thanks to the hard-working Silvanus. And StephenL too, of course.

    2. You certainly have been working hard on our behalf today, Silvanus, it’s very much appreciated and a privilege indeed to have you on the Telegraph setter team.

    3. Well that’s a relief (preferred this puzzle to the Toughie) though I had a bit of an inkling it had your fingerprints over it. Congrats on having 3 guzzles in a day…

    4. Thank you for the puzzle, silvanus but I’m afraid you beat me. However, I do appreciate all the hard work you do and thank you for popping in to say hello. As Alp says, it is always appreciated. 👍

    5. I wrote a very long comment over on the Toughie side, Silvanus, thanking you for your gifts to us today. What a Triple Oscar Day you’ve had! And on the matter of wavelength synchronicity, I’ll just add 14a, which I ‘knew’ before I knew I knew it (forget the parsing for the moment). Congratulations on your triple-A achievement today!

  28. A bit of a slog, but did manage to finish it eventually. Strangely I got 14a straight away, but needed the hints to work out why. I am not in agreement with the view that you haven’t completed if you can’t parse the answer – a win is a win in my book!

    Favourite was 4d (once I’d understood why).

    Many thanks to StephenL for the hints and to the setter.

  29. I found this a little heavy going but I did finish it in fairly good time, for me with a Silvanus puzzle. It’s the parsing, so many “had to be” but why? I’m sorry to compare to yesterday, but when you had an answer, you knew it and felt a satisfaction that I didn’t get today. I liked quite a few, some (like14a) I got with ehelp, I’m still at the two-syllable limit word level! I had forgotten the film 24a, that’s the name of Fleming house in Oracabessa in Jamaica, with a gorgeous view! Fave, natch, was 1a by a landslide.
    Thanks Silvanus for the workout and to StephenL for unravelling so much.

    1. Eldest daughter and husband had their honeymoon at what used to be Ian Fleming’s place there. Lovely pictures from there.

      1. It’s a gorgeous spot. Noel Coward’s house Firefly is nearby. I think Chris Blackwell of Island Records, Bob Marley and Millie Small’s mentor, owns it now. It’s a lovely part of the island, gets lots of rain so it’s always lush and green.

  30. Some thumb twiddling as I have the new boiler being fitted today (and tomorrow!) Neither this or the equally pleasant toughie took too long. I am another who took a while to parse 14a but got there in the end. I had similar questions about the duck but knew that the BRB would have been consulted by the setter and my guess was Chalicea but see that Silvanus has just claimed it
    Thanks to the setter and SL

    1. Just done Silvanus’ Cross Atlantic. So I am batting 3 for 3 today, all 3 were cracking puzzles

  31. Impenetrable except for four clues at three attempts, all got at first scan. SL’s only revealing how narrowly my mind works. Back to Enid Blyton for me.

    1. The original version of Enid Blyton or the version, in which a team have scrutinised her work for words that are poltically incorrect in their opinion and rewritten the text, Corky?

      1. George will be ok because she’s transgender but heaven help Julian, who orders everyone around, Dick, who is Julian’s yes man and Anne who is portrayed as a weak female who always needs the help of males.

        As for Aunt Fanny!

        And Timmy is now gay! (Can I say that?)

  32. Certainly a bit more steel to today’s puzzle than the last few days; though I thought it a good level for a Thursday. Like others I often found it easier to get the answers than the parsing, and in a few cases I gave up completely – 14a, 25a 4d. Like Stephen I smiled at the modern slang in 5d, 18a was a great lego, but my favourite was 24a: great film, great duck and amusing surface! **/****

    I did the puzzle first thing this morning and had a sneaking suspicion it was a Robyn effort; now that Silvanus has ‘owned’ up I’m glad I kept hold of my cash!

    Thx to Silvanus + SL

  33. Took me a while to get started but managed it on my own in the end.
    Loved 7d, mainly as it was where I was born (but I escaped London as soon as I could).
    Favourite clue was the clever 17d.
    Thanks to the setter and hinter.

  34. First pass…nothing
    Left it for a while,came back and it went straight in
    Marvellous thing the brain.
    Thanks to Silvanius and Stephen

  35. A little trickier than earlier in the week, but then it is Thursday today 😬 ***/**** Favourites are 18a, 7, 15, and of course 17d 😃
    Thanks to Stephen L and to Sylvanus

  36. Thank you Silvanus for an excellent challenge; and thank you Stephen L for making me realise how brilliant 4d is as a clue

  37. As others, I back parsed 14a.
    Noticed that there were quite a few deletions in 13a, 25a and 19d which we find more often in toughies or am I mistaken?
    Love the word in 15d.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to StephenL for the review.

  38. Damn!
    The one I couldn’t get was 3d – it would have been fine if I could read my own writing! Oh dear!
    I really enjoyed this so feeling quite smug.
    Being the sucker that I am for the floppy earsI think my favourite was probably 16d.
    Thank you to Silvanus for the crossword and to SL.

  39. Was looking forward to the crossword when we got back from breakfast out and a bit of sales shopping. While I found it more difficult than the treats we’ve had of late, I am quite happy to see that I did pretty good with a Silvanus product. Someone who usually pretty much defeats me. Have to admit to needing a few hints, and some answers were bung ins (but they were right). COTD for me was 10a, truly fits the bill.

  40. Got all the answers in but the parsing of 2d still eludes me so in a way I didn’t get across the tape. It was an enjoyable run round the track. For someone who failed “Use of English “ it feels like a triumph.

    1. Hi Dyslex, well done on solving it. If you look at my reply to MissTFide @13 I’ve explained 2d further.

    2. Thank you. Can put that to bed now . Learning like this makes so much more of the crossword.

  41. Good evening. I’m halfway through my shift, which began at 16:30, and with 50% of the content of today’s turn cancelled or amended, I have had plenty of time in which to attempt today’s back pager – and I needed every minute of it, struggling to the finish line! Thank you StephenL for the explanations to 14a, 24a, and 4d, which I intuited but couldn’t parse, and thanks Silvanus for the challenge. A definite “Crikey!!” for 1a!

  42. A steady solve today, didn’t find it easy but very fair. Last in 4d, favourite 17d. Thanks to Silvanus and StephenL

  43. This was nearly finished with a lot of electronic help and help from some comments as although I frequently knew the answers the parsing was often quite beyond me, even from the hints. Many interesting clues made the solving enjoyable. Thanks to Silvanus and congratulations on his triple appearance today, and to StephenL for what have been quite a hard task today.

  44. 3*/5*….
    liked 1A ” Bear in pre-hibernation initially putting on weight (10)”

  45. I enjoyed most of this but some bung-ins were impenetrable toughie standard like 14A and 4D . And is formal really dressy? I don’t think so.

    1. I think ‘dressy’ is OK. People do sometimes refer to going to a ‘dressy do’ when formal wear is required.

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