DT No 30261 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT No 30261

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30261

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good morning from (at the time of writing but subject to change) bright and breezy South Devon coast. After two days of drear it’s nice to see a glimpse of blue skies.

Our esteemed setter has given us a great fun puzzle containing most of his “usual suspects” that I found at the gentler end of his spectrum.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Invisible force let priest go, somehow (11)
POLTERGEIST: A gentle anagram (somehow) of the preceding three words.

10a Haggard woman facing Queen is thin (5)
SHEER: The “Haggard” here is novelist H Rider Haggard. Follow the title of his 1887 novel with the regnal cipher of our former queen.

11a Working empty parable into sermon (9)
OPERATION: Insert the outer letters (empty) of ParablE into a sermon or speech.

12a Sober sailors shelter crossing current (9)
ABSTINENT: Some abbreviated sailors are followed by a shelter used for camping into which is inserted (crossing) a 2-letter synonym of current in the sense of fashionable.

13a Don’t get out stick (5)
BATON: If we split the solution, a thin stick used by a conductor directing an orchestra, 3,2 it could be an instruction to a batsman or batter in modern day parlance to stay in.

14a Glow about to follow passion (6)
LUSTRE: A 2-letter preposition meaning about or regarding follows a synonym of passion or sexual desire.

16a Home provided over stay (8)
FIRESIDE: Reverse a synonym of provided as a conjunction and append a synonym of stay or live giving a word that can mean home in the sense of domestic or familiar.

18a Firm holding one new cushy job (8)
SINECURE: Insert the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one plus the abbreviation for New into a synonym of firm or solid.

20a Government right to give some money (6)
STATER: A government or administration plus the abbreviation for R, giving an ancient coin.

23a Saw flash catching too much (5)
MOTTO: Saw here is not a verb but a noun, a saying or maxim. Insert the three letter abbreviation for Over The Top into a flash or short time.

24a Walk on board cool craft (9)
SPACESHIP: Insert a synonym of walk or stride into the abbreviation for SteamShip (on board) and append a word meaning cool or trendy.

26a Food from inn: mutter angrily (9)
NUTRIMENT: Anagram (angrily) of the preceding two words.

27a Somebody perhaps as redundant extra, initially (5)
SPARE: The initial letters of the first five words, giving an extended definition, and the title of (dare I mention it) a recent autobiography.

28a Lead part, so got in cast (11)
PROTAGONIST: Anagram (cast) of the preceding four words.

As it was Lady Gaga’s birthday this week here she is with Bradley Cooper



2d Blokes confined by very big threats (5)
OMENS: Insert some adult males into an abbreviation for Oversize.

3d Hound bank admitting blunder (7)
TERRIER: A bank or level goes around (admitting) a synonym of blunder as a verb.

4d Little marsupial nourished and covered (6)
ROOFED: An informal name for an Australian marsupial and a 3-letter synonym of nourished

5d Shocking vote for Republican in charge (8)
ELECTRIC: A word meaning to vote for is followed by the abbreviations for Republican and In Charge.

6d Quiet stroll leading to awkward gait (7)
SHAMBLE: An interjection instructing someone to be quiet and a stroll or slow walk.

7d Possibly firm foundation (13)
ESTABLISHMENT: Double definition, both nouns.

8d Neighbourhood detective’s fooled, reportedly (8)
DISTRICT: Follow an abbreviation for a Detective Inspector and the possessive S with a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of fooled or deceived.

9d Steady and true in prudent changes (13)

UNINTERRUPTED: Anagram (changes) of the preceding three words. It’s worth noting that long words clued by this setter are always likely to be anagrams as he simply doesn’t use enough words (maximum six usually) to create a charade.

15d Reason to accept court dispensing goodness (8)
SANCTITY: A synonym of reason or rationality goes around (to accept) the abbreviation for CourT.

17d Most reckless supports heartless robbery (8)
BRASHEST: Follow this setter’s favourite supports (or supporter) with a robbery or hold up without its middle letter (heartless)

19d Conservative leading more promising staff (7)
CROSIER: The abbreviation for Conservative and a comparative adjective meaning more promising or brighter.

21d Iscariot finally with motive for treachery (7)
TREASON: Append a motive or cause to the last letter (finally) of Iscariot.

22d Mob area’s got gangs, occasionally (6)
RAGTAG: Alternate or occasional letters of aReA’s GoTgAnGs.

25d Warms sweetheart wearing top coverings (5)
HEATS: Just squeezing in on the final clue, this setter’s swEetheart is inserted (wearing) into some top or head coverings. Lol.

No lurkers! Very enjoyable, my winners are 13&23a plus 3&25d with a nod to the pun. Which ones topped your podium.

Quickie Pun: Bigger + Missed = Bigamist.



78 comments on “DT No 30261

  1. I fully agree that this was a light and fun puzzle from the master of duplicity. Never come across the ancient coin in 20a before but the wordplay was obvious. Great fun.
    Thx to all

  2. 2*/5*. An absolute corker. RayT at the top of his game.

    Many thanks to him and to SL.

  3. Fun puzzle, not too taxing. 13a amused and 23a often answer but with different clue?

  4. This was a really enjoyable Ray T puzzle with super concise clues of varying types and a few unusual synonyms to keep me on my toes. There were so many fine clues that it’s difficult to pick favourites but here goes .
    I loved the 28a anagram, ffwr from obvious until the penny dropped and 10a, short and sweet was a goodd ecame of both misdirection and use of General Knowledge in a clue. 8d was a great homophone and7d a clever double definition. So thanks toRay T for a fine hors d’oeuvres before Friday’s probable banquet of struggles. Thanks also to SL for the hints.

  5. This started off at a pace, but slowed down a little in the bottom half. Another new word for me today in 20a. I wish I had the memory to retain all this new knowledge! I loved the misdirection in 23a and 19d, and the short answers at 13a and 23a. My favourite was the typically Ray T 17d. Thanks to him for the pleasure and StephenL for confirming my answer to 20a.

  6. A top draw Thursday puzzle a pleasure to solve.
    Agree with SL’s **/****.
    Precise cluing throughout, favourites were 24a 16a 12a..
    Thanks to setter and SL, liked the 13a stick.

  7. Always a delight and this one’s up there with the best of Mr T’s. 13a, 18a, & 22d top my podium, but just about any trio would work as well. Thanks to Stephen and Ray T, **/*****

    Finished the last of the three volumes of Maugham’s short stories last night. Big surprises everywhere. The perfect metier for his talents.

  8. Good fun from the master of brevity – thanks to him and StephenL.
    I ticked 13a and 23a but top of my podium was the superb 27a.

  9. From cracking the first clue to entering the last, this was an absolute delight with so many brilliant wordplays and definitions. 1a and 13d were among my favourites.

    Thanks to Ray T and SL.

  10. Our ‘Thursday sweetheart’ didn’t disappoint today and gave us plenty to smile about although I fear the Kennel Club might take him to task over his definition of 3d!
    Hard as ever to play favourites but my eye was caught by 10&18a plus 19d.

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

  11. Good and enjoyable coffeebreak teaser, with plenty of good clues throughout. Not entirely convinced by 11a – wanted it to end …ing or …ive or had there been more spaces, …ional, given the clue was …ing. My constant lookout for lurkers went unrewarded. COTD for me 10a, with placed runners (for each way bets!) 13a, 27a (laughed out loud at that one!) and 21d (excellent & timely surface & answer).

    2 / 3

    Many thanks to RT and to Stephen

  12. Super puzzle, that I found on the easier end of RayT’s spectrum – those long anagrams in particular set me up nicely. Lots of top clues to pick from, I’ll limit mine down to 13a, 24a and 28a, mainly because I remain impressed that he can clue long subtle anagrams in only 6 words. **/****

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL

  13. I only solved one across clue on the first pass but got the first six down clues. This gave a foothold and I was away and a very satisfying solve it turned out to be. The usual wonderfully precise clues from Mr. T. so, once again, ticks all over the paper. I hadn’t heard of 20a but it could be nothing else. Favourites include10a (tried for ages to make an anagram of SHE and ER), 16a and 8d with the fooled detectives being my COTD.

    Many thanks, Ray T for the fun challenge. Thanks to StephenL for the hints, which I will now read.

    Wet and windy in The Marches today but I have a new iPad to play with. :grin:

      1. The residents of said town would probably say that they live in the fine county of Surrey!

        1. I did google this and according to Wiki Esher is a town (pop 6743) situated in the borough of Elmbridge, Surrey. But it states that Esher is also an outlying suburb of London (pop 50,904). Being a native of Derbyshire, that’s all I have to go on. I’m happy to be educated about this. Maybe some of the info is out of date?

            1. Thanks, S. Well, wherever it is situated, I’m certain about one thing – it is an anagram of SHE, ER.

      2. My earliest years were in Twickenham, with frequent trips into Richmond for shopping, ice skating and nearby Kew Gardens, but as far as I can remember we never thought of it as being London. But now I see both regularly referred to as being part of London.

    1. I too struggled with across clues and only got a foothold when I did the down ones. Thanks to the setter and bloggers

  14. Lovely puzzle today.

    Had to check the coin in 20a…..I suspect Terence will consign it to his List.
    Needed the hint for 15a .
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL

  15. I didn’t start too well with this one but very slowly it came into shape and I really enjoyed it. So thanks to all. Bought what appeared to be lovely steaks from Lidl the other day – had them last night, completely inedible! Back to my lovely butcher in future.

    1. Did you read in The Telegraph that rotten meat has been sold in supermarkets for years, Manders?

        1. I never buy fish or meat from supermarkets. The is a good butcher in Oswestry and a fishmonger visits the market.

          1. I have a very good butcher and stock up about every three weeks. Get pork chops from Tesco as the butcher’s ones are too big. We are having the butcher’s home made sausage tonight. I do get fish from Lidl – cod loin.

          2. Same here Steve. We have a lovely Italian store that we go to for all our fish and meat, particularly their rainbow trout and really tender filet steaks. They also have an array of precooked foods and once in a blue moon the chef also makes a big tray of shepherd’s pie which is the best I’ve ever tasted outside of the UK, quite as good as my own.

          1. It depends on the fish Merusa. We buy fresh rainbow trout, enough for that night, and 3 more for the freezer. You cannot tell the difference when cooked, but the secret is overnight defrosting in the refrigerator. But frozen fish from the supermarket freezer, I agree, just awful.

            1. Just as an aside to all of this, the best beef pies I have ever tasted are made by Andy, the chef at The Moors Inn, Appleton-le-Moors in Yorkshire. Whenever we stay there, which is often, Andy makes us six to bring home for the freezer.

              In fact, we are going to stay there next month.

              1. Thanks for the tip, it’s going on my list of places to visit for the next trip to England.

  16. Another fine puzzle from Ray T, which I found less challenging than his norm. Great clues and an enjoyable solve. Of the half dozen I’ve ticked I will mention 18a – for no other reason than the answer was one of the very first obscure (to me, then) words that I memorised and recorded (53 years ago) in my Average Red Book. I always get a pang of nostalgia when it crops up. 2.5*/3.5*.

  17. The master of brevity at his best – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 16a, 8d, and 17d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen L.

  18. SL. I posted a live version of Shallow in March 2019 – it didn’t go down well at all! Hope you fare better.

    March 2, 2019 at 12:11 pm
    * I’ve just found this clip on YouTube and simply had to share it with somebody. It’s Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper singing Shallow, live at the Oscars. There are some incredible, powerful, moving vocals from Lady Gaga at the piano in the second half of the song. What a performer!

    Big Dave
    March 2, 2019 at 12:47 pm
    I’m glad someone likes it. I didn’t, and my dog howled so much I had to turn it off. Yet another film I won’t be watching – Judy Garland must be turning in her grave.

    March 2, 2019 at 4:20 pm
    Strange, I didn’t like it either, we must be the only two in the world. I didn’t watch the Oscars but they’ve played it nonstop since.

    March 2, 2019 at 5:00 pm
    Nope – you’re not the only two in the world.

    Carolyn South of Marmora
    March 2, 2019 at 5:10 pm
    Three of us. We didn’t watch either but it has been all over the news. We are never likely to see the film. Not keen on remakes.

  19. Well… let’s get this out of the way first… say hello to 20a which joins epergne and loosestrife as a new entry to THE LIST. Only the most fervent numismatist* would have been ready, pencil poised, to bung that one in.
    Other than this aberration, a highly enjoyable crossword. Like Steve Cowling (above) I found the first set of down clues relatively straightforward and this led to doors opening elsewhere, with the exception of the aforementioned 20a which can head straight back to Corinth or Delphi as far as I’m concerned. These foreign coins, coming over here, taking all our jobs. I heard they get free housing you know, and iPads, and big flat screen TVs. Send ’em back to Knossos, that’s what I say!

    Thanks to Ray T and Stephen From Dumnonii.

    *’numismatist’ is also on THE LIST

    1. Now, you’re importing unfeatured obscurities to add to the LIST. This is becomiong an obsession! :-)

      1. Regrettably, ’numismatist’ has featured several times over the years; most recently in DT29863, on 20th December 2021.
        A day of shame for the setter.

    2. I might have missed it, but what are the consequences for a setter using a word that has been placed on the ‘list’? :wink:

    3. Oh, Terence, where would we all be without you to provide us with huge guffaws! I loved it.

    4. Totally agree with 20a. That has no place in a true Cryptic. Zandio actually said as such recently about GK or obscure words.

  20. That was more entertaining for me than yesterday’s mindbender with a particularly helpful start by filling in 4 long’uns around edge early on. Should by now tumble more quickly to the support chestnut in 17d which was my last in. 27a raised a groan. 20a coin new one on me. Thank you RayT for the fun run and StephenL for being on hand in case of need.

  21. Well, for this Thursday RayT offering, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I managed to finish this one. Nice puzzle, good clues, all made sense. Just seemed more logical and coherent compared to yesterdays puzzle.

    For me, today, I rate this 1.5*/4.5*

    Lots of favourites but my top ones are 13a, 14a, 24a, 3d, 4d & 8d with winner 4d
    Got chuckles out of 10a, 14a, 24a, 6d & 21d

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL for hints

  22. I am going to be in the minority today as I really struggled with this. I always find that it takes me a while to get on wavelength with Ray T which I finally did and managed three quarters. I came to a complete halt in the SW corner and eventually decided to use the hints. It turns out that there were 6 new words for me today (4 in SW) so I now think it was ignorance rather than wavelength that was the issue. The wonderful hints helped me understand the parsing of 4 others (10a,13a,16a and 20a) which I completed without understanding why.

    Many thanks to StephenL for the hints which were essential and the video which I enjoyed and to Ray T for the education.

  23. A very generous RayT offering today.
    Nevertheless, most enjoyable.
    The long, juicy anagrams provided an excellent starting framework.
    Many a chuckle eg 13 and 27a.
    Last in 22d, taking a little longer as I stupidly did not , at first, extend the occasionally to all the words in the clue.
    Thanks, RayT and StephenL.

  24. I managed to work out 20a, but then googled it to see if I was right. I’ll have to commit that one to memory, but there’s no guarantee it will stay there these days. I was in a bit of a kilter with 3d as I scribbled down “error” for blunder, then tried to think of a two letter river. 23a was a bung-in and I needed the review to explain it. Favourite clue was the crickety 13a. Thanks to RayT and to SL

  25. Good fun – would have preferred one or two fewer anagrams and a few cryptic clues instead, but enjoyable nonetheless. Still marvel at the precision and brevity of Ray T’s clueing. Never heard of 20a either and am supportive of Terence adding it to his list. And thanks to SL for fully explaining 10a to me – very clever Ray T! COTD for me – the trendy 24a.

      1. But much better with Haggard in. More misleading until one thought of th author and what he wrote and confirmed tge answer was thin rather than haggard.

  26. Most enjoyable, I love it when 1a goes straight in and we sailed through with 17d and 24a holding us up at the end. I knew heist had to come into it somehow and stupidly removed all the inside letters leaving HT. George has an unusual surge of energy and is turning out his office which is an ex potters studio in the garden, it was very high tech in its time and had a fax machine, Roneo and Shredder!!! He is unearthing so much stuff and, not being a sentimentalist like me, wants to throw everything away. Oh dear. I can see me going through the dustbins when he has his afternoon nap. Many thanks to Ray T and his elegantly clued puzzle (do you think Terence has a little black book by his chair waiting for additions the List?) and to SL for the hints. George poured two large glasses of red wine with our lunchtime salad so I shall probably have a nap as well !

    1. I think Terence should publish a Crossword Companion with an Introduction, The List of Abstruse Cryptic Clues and a blank section at the end so that cruciverbalists can write their own Addendum to The List.

    2. DG,

      “Roneo and Shredder!!! “?

      sounds like it could have been an early, perhaps unsuccessful draft of a play

  27. I found this difficult. First few went in quickly particularly the downs but then I stumbled. The unknown coin did not bother me as the answer was obvious. Just had to check it is a coin. Favourites 10 and 14a and 15 17 and 21d. Thanks SL and RT.

  28. I have just one question, I live in Vancouver and last night the latest Cryptic did not come up on the new website until 6 pm (normally it is 4pm) and the Time change was last weekend. But on the old website, everything was fine the Cryptic was there, I checked on the Times Website and the Guardian and the FT via fifteen squared, and again no problem.

    Did anyone else have problems?

    TIA Worwoecrossol

  29. Really enjoyed this one from RayT (and also with the anagrams appreciated all the white space in the ‘love paper’ advert next to it!).

  30. The coin was also new to me.
    Great hallmark clue in 27a.
    24a really rocked my boat too.
    Loved both versions of A Star Is Born.
    Thanks to RayT, StephenL and José.

  31. Evening all. Many thanks to StephenL for the decryption and to all for your comments.


    1. A great puzzle, Ray T and thank you for popping in. It is always appreciated when compilers pay a visit. :good:

    2. I am afraid I missed this one today RayT but have just read all the posts and regret that I did so. Looked like a good’un. I know that in your fair City there are retirement issues and you have no aspirations in that respect.

  32. This was a RayT? Really? Maybe I’m getting on his wavelength after all this time. This is much, much more friendly than yesterday. Full disclosure, I had to use ehelp from time to time, I needed to know how to spell 1a. I knew the coin at 20a, but I can’t claim cleverness, I thought it was an old German coin, like our old florins. There was a lot to enjoy, but I think 27a takes the gold star!
    Thank you RayT for the fun, and to StephenL for explaining a few. Stop press: We have RAIN, slow, steady, soaking rain, my garden says slurp, slurp, thank you Big Massa.

  33. I started well but then 3/4 of the way through I lost the plot 😬 I normally enjoy Ray T on a Thursday, but today even failed to spot him as the Compiler ****/** 🤔 Favourites 12 and 14a and least favourites 20a and 22d, nonetheless thanks to Stephen L for trying to help me and to Ray T

  34. Having had a nerve blocking procedure on my spine this morning, I’m going to blame any solving difficulties on that or the anesthesia used 😊. I threw in the towel when I reached the SW corner as I was just needing too many hints by the time I got there. Defeated by 20a of course, and surely 11a working = operating and not operation as required to fit. I ruined my chances there anyway by bunging in shuffle. Like I said, must be the anesthesia. But quite glad I got 1a and 7d right off the bat. But at least it has temporarily cooled off here and I am able to write this sitting on the patio.

  35. Here’s hoping the effects of the anesthesia soon abates. How uncomfortable for you, well, hope it works.

    1. Thanks. Anything is better than hobbling round in pain, looking like I’m old 😊. Our exercise guru is fond of saying we need to be able to walk with a “sparkle in our step”…. Yeah well, she is 68 and I had that sparkle at that age. It’s in your later 70s that the body starts to remind you that you’ve had your three score and ten.

  36. Good evening
    This one was a long slog today! I had to look up 20a, having deduced the answer but not knowing the word. I had to cheat on 17d by entering the letters I had into a solver website, and figure out the clue from the solution, and a definite Crikey! is in order here. 23a was a fine piece of misdirection! Thank you to our setter and to StephenL.

  37. Excellent puzzle from my favourite setter which I made harder work of than I should have, I think I’m having a bad week. I too hadn’t heard of 20a but I have now. Favourite was 13a but 17d ran it close with others not far behind. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

      1. Several others I also liked , but I do not think that this one had been picked out by anyone else.

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