DT No 30279 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT No 30279

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30279

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning everyone from a blue skies but chilly feeling South Devon coast.

Today’s setter has given us a quirky and fun puzzle that I enjoyed solving.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a It faces backwards in an old church in ancient city (7)
ANTIOCH: A reversal (faces backwards) of IT placed inside AN from the clue and the abbreviations for Old and CHurch.

5a Our beds damaged unopened flower (7)
ROSEBUD: Anagram (damaged) of the preceding two words.

9a Nom de plume that could be Dumpynose? (9)
PSEUDONYM: A pretty straightforward anagram (that could be) of DUMPYNOSE.

10a Sport in Six Nations finally showing destructive influence (5)
VIRUS: An abbreviation for a 15 man (or woman) a side game is placed inside the Roman numeral six and the final letter of nationS.

11a Tropical fish in Trent area, oddly (5)
TETRA: Alternate letters (oddly) of TrEnT aReA.

12a Non-U Tory following in car unlikely to be caught? (9)
INAUDIBLE: Start with IN from the clue. Add a German car maker then append the colour that represents a Tory without the letter U. The “caught” here is in the sense of heard.

13a Poor deal with a sect increased in scale (9)
ESCALATED: Anagram (poor) of DEAL plus A SECT.

16a Did spring article in Paris? Fitting! (5)
LEAPT: A charade of a French definite article plus a synonym of fitting or suitable.

17a Muscular — like some bully? (5)
BEEFY: I think that the “bully” here refers to a certain kind of salt cured meat that makes rather nice sandwiches.

18a Extremely pretty country brings burning desire (9)
PYROMANIA: The outer letters (extremely) of PrettY followed by an Eastern European nation. Lol.

20a One’s achievement in not missing a trick? (5,4)
GRAND SLAM: This sporting achievement is also the bidding and winning of all thirteen tricks in bridge.

23a Hired killer from Daisen, in Japan (5)
NINJA: Hidden (from) in the clue.

25a Outcast one left in Devon river (5)
EXILE: Place the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one and the abbreviation for Left in a Devon river that is extremely useful for setters.

26a Ridiculously good parts in snail for instance (9)
GASTROPOD: Anagram (ridiculously) of the following two words.

27a Savoury dish, lightly cooked, needs while (7)
RAREBIT: A synonym of lightly cooked (steak for instance) and one of while or short time, giving one of crosswordland’s favourite dishes.

28a Enter undetected and transgress, bagging duck (5,2)
STEAL IN:  Place a 3-letter verb meaning to transgress or err around (bagging) a small freshwater duck. Here’s one


1d Adult male turned up on peg — Long John Silver? (7)
AMPUTEE: A charade of the abbreviations for Adult and Male plus a reversal (turned) of UP plus a peg used in golf. Lol.

2d Message online and call from branch? (5)
TWEET: Double/cryptic definition, the branch being part of a tree.

3d Offenders at first lie badly, tiddly in court (3,6)
OLD BAILEY: The initial letter of Offenders plus an anagram (tiddly) of LIE BADLY.

4d Hotel on Hebridean island raised capital (5)
HANOI: The abbreviation for Hotel plus a reversal (raised) of a Hebridean island.

5d One crashes into store — to steal butter? (3-6)
RAM RAIDER: Whimsically this method of gaining entry to steal could describe the theft of butter, the butter being an animal with horns.

6d Bar close to ground reserved (5)
SAVED: A synonym of bar in the sense of except plus the final letter (close to) of grounD.

7d Clever person after time becomes idiot (9)
BIRDBRAIN: The time here is an old name for a stretch in prison. Follow it with a clever person or intellectual.

8d Underworld delivered break with church (7)
DISSENT: A 3-letter mythological abode of the dead plus a synonym of delivered or dispatched.

14d Sound shortened in shout to encourage knight (9)
CHEVALIER: Place a synonym of sound in the sense of realistic or true without its last letter (shortened) inside a shout of encouragement, to one’s favourite sports team say.

15d Champion in great escape (3-6)
TOP FLIGHT: Two synonyms required here, one for great or super, the other for an escape or getaway.

16d Citrus plant, large, moved one metre (5,4)
LEMON TREE: The abbreviation for Large plus an anagram (moved) of the following two words

17d Nightmare with stomach after 10 (7)
BUGBEAR: The 10 here is a reference to 10a as per crossword convention where such references are written as numbers as opposed to letters. We need to follow a synonym of 10a with one of stomach as a verb.

19d An unpleasant noise surrounding boy in fairy tale (7)
ALADDIN: A from the clue plus a loud noise go around an informal word for a boy.

21d Fool across the pond first to decry little book (5)
DWEEB A new word for me but very sympathetically clued. The initial letter (first to) of Decry plus a synonym of little and the abbreviation for Book. In the interest of tact and diplomacy I’ll refrain from the obvious illustration.

22d Liberator freeing fifty as from thick treacle (5)
MOSES: Remove the Roman numeral for fifty and AS from the clue from some thick treacle and you are left with a biblical liberator.

24d North-eastern China’s mountainous region (5)
NEPAL: The abbreviations for North plus East and a synonym of china in the
sense of “my old friend”. The whole clue acts as wordplay and definition.

My favourites today were 18a plus the linked 10a/17d. Which ones did you like?


88 comments on “DT No 30279

  1. Fair fare fer Fursday, fantastic fun!
    Absolutely loved this one, it had all the things I think make up a good puzzle, multi-word clues, anagrams, lurkers, roman numerals, general knowledge, and a large dollop of lateral thinking for good measure. Best one for a good while, I especially liked 2d and 12a. Many thanks to our setter today, take a bow sir or madam.

    1. What a splendid alliteration, TC, to match a splendid crossword.

      Some fantastic surfaces makes me think it could be the ‘Big S’. Hoo nose.

      9a across is a pig to spell but I always remember that the European Union (EU) and New York (NY) are in it somewhere with the rest taking care of itself.

      It’s not easy to choose which of these go on the podium but I’ll opt for 12a and 18a with 1d ending up the winner.



    2. I’m not a huge fan of GK in cryptic crosswords – 1a passed my internal test in that the wordplay was fair enough to allow me to get an answer that I could then check.

  2. I rarely submit a review these days, but enjoyed this crossword so much I felt I had to leap into print. Full of amusing and clever clues. My compliments to the setter, whoever he may be. Favourite clue 1d, with honourable mentions to 22d and 7d

  3. I agree with Tipcat. I also loved this crossword. At first pass I thought I was going to struggle, which makes it all the more enjoyable when the grid finally comes together. A number of fun clues – my joint favourites;1d and 12a. Congrats to the setter and thanks to StephenL for the hints.

  4. Really enjoyable puzzle. Only stalled at 7d where I tried to turn boffin into buffoonish until I realised I had too many letters. Thank you setter and StephenL.

  5. Concur with Tipcat and Richard, today’s offering an absolute belter.

    1D tickled me too, such a nice and funny way to clue what could have been a sensitive word, but many contenders for the podium, all very neat and very amusing.

  6. I haven’t had my porridge so got stuck on 7 d! Otherwise I worked through it.
    Just right at a 3. Thanks to setter.

  7. Loved this Thursday offering, less difficult than some this late in the week. A little anagram heavy for me, but that gave a good foothold. A really good mixture of clue types kept the grey cells ticking over. My only real pause was, in my mind, being able to parse the answer to 8d with both spellings of the homophones. Finally chose what I now know to be the correct one. Podium places today for 1a, 12a, 1d and my COTD 22d. Thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and StephenL for confirming my 8d choice.

  8. Guess the setter Thursday and I have no idea who she or he might be (or should I have said it). I don’t think it is Ray T’s frequent stand in as, for example, there is no ‘two element’ homophone with a single indicator. Nevertheless, good Thursday fun – 2.5*/3.5*

    My immediate thought on an illustration for 17a was exactly what StephenL has given us.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 18a, 28a, and 14d – and the winner is 14d.

    Thanks to the setter and StephenL.

  9. Great puzzle – thanks to the setter and SL.
    I have too many ticks on my printout to list them all – I’ll just mention 10a, 18a, 1d and 7d.

  10. A reasonably straightforward puzzle for a Thursday, with some tricky clues in rhe SW. There were a few amusing clues to brighten the morning and I liked 7d,c3d, 14d and COTD, 222d, short and sweet but clever. I wasn’t so keen on 21d, a word I truly dislike but fortunately rarely hear used on this side of the pond. Thanks to SL for the teview and to the compiler.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyable but I am intrigued as to what the illustration for 21d was going to be! I can only think of one possibility. Lovely day here but jolly chilly. There will probably be a strong wind now that my cherry blossom is looking spectacular. Thanks to our setter and StephenL

  12. Another cracking puzzle today, so this bunny remains happy and bouncing around, especially as the sky is blue here too.
    So many great clues with quite a bit of lateral thinking required. 1d, 3d and 12a all joint favourites. I had to check the hints for the parsing of 7d.

    Thank you to Stephen L and to the setter

  13. Excellent – ticks everywhere! Favourites 9a, 18a and 2d.

    Two more sunny days in NE Scotland before the weather deteriorates to bring sleet and strong winds next week.

  14. Rarely gets better than this.
    So satisfying to complete unaided.
    But many were the wrong way round eg word first then parsing.
    Many a laugh eg 9,17 and 19a.
    Jostling for space on the podium.
    Winner by a nose 12a.
    Thanks, indeed, to the setter and to StephenL for the colourful review.

    1. Hrothgar- you are trying to make me think you are composing a Haiku. but you’ve got more than three lines and more than 17 syllables. Try again!

      1. Spot on, I couldn’t think what it was called yesterday.
        Such a succinct form, I will persevere.

  15. Just right for a Thursday back-pager.
    Top three for me were 28a plus 1&15d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Stephen for the review.

  16. Surprisingly light for a Thursday, I thought, but on reading the blog & comments maybe I was just fortunate to tune-in to the setter’s wavelength from the off. Absoutely cracking puzzle, with so much wit and artistry on display – and a great variety of clue types. Hon Mentions went to 10a, 18a, 23a, 28a (delicious, not at all 17a), 1d & 14d; COTD for me the amusing 22d.

    1 / 4

    Many thanks indeed to the mystery setter, and of course to StephenL

  17. A RayT classic production at top end **/**** methinks. Easy anagrams helped apart from what I thought was a cleverly concealed one in 3d which was therefore slightly trickier to get to and was my COTD. Most enjoyable. Thanks to SL and himself.

      1. I really am hopeless at setter guessing and am forthwith retiring from doing so and repeatedly embarrassing myself! Thanks for putting me right Stephen👍

        1. NYDK was my first rhought too, Stephen. It’s got the whimsical humour and the Americanism, which he seems to favour.

            1. I feel better now. If people are wearing the setter’s jeans I expect they would know him and I never have worn them as far as I am aware😳

  18. Brilliant crossword with 18a, 1 and 7d standing proudly on the podium. Thanks to the setter and Stephen L.

  19. Agree with everything already said. An absolute joy, especially 1d. Thank you Donny, if it be yours and Stephen for great hints.

  20. I managed to complete this one only needing help with two clues (6d and 14d).

    Difficulty **/***

    Enjoyment ****

  21. Really good guzzle. I particularly liked 18a.
    Not a bootless errand or a whiff of loosestrife to be found, for which I commend the setter.

    That vein at Dominic Raab’s temple must be throbbing like fury this afternoon.

    Thanks to the setter and Stephen Of The Dumnonii.

    1. Terence, I do wish our M aPs would stop expending so much time and energy on pulling one another to pieces and get down to solving problems like how to fund and restructure the NHS, regeneration of industrial andcagricultural production, managing inflation etc. None of them are paragons of virtue and we don’t need a multimillion pound Public Inquiry for every misdemeanour. That money could be augmenting bigger rises for nurses and doctors

      1. I agree with your broad point Chris, but if this Raab fellow is found to have bullied the vast number of staff who have alleged that he has done so, then he has to go. I can’t abide bullies.

      2. Agree Chriscross. And since when did a manager criticising or urging employees to do their job become bullying? Fragile and easily offended people everywhere these days.

        1. The term snowflake does cometo mind sometimes. I hate genuine bullying but after Partygate I was more worried about the work ethic and. behaviour of some of the government civil servants than the polticians. Every politician, who tries to tighten it up ends up being on the business end of a witch hunt. Not just Raab, but Braverman, Priti Patel etc have had their ministerial posts put under threat so who is bullying whom?

  22. Not sure of today’s setter but most certainly not RayT. Some odd/strange words in this one for me, but nothing I didn’t know. Just not common words that seem to show up in DT puzzles.
    Certainly none of the more common chestnuts showed up.
    Would like to know who the setter was. Hopefully they identify themselves.

    2.5*/3* for me

    Favourites include 1a, 16a, 18a, 2d, 16d & 22d with winner 22d.

    Got a chuckle from 17a, 2d & 21d

    Thanks to setter and StephenL

  23. Got through with just a few hints today. Can’t say that I shared the love for 12a, the Non-U part just seems a very clumsy way to arrive at the letters needed for the clue (in my opinion of course).

    1. To be fair to the setter Matt “non-U” has a meaning (not socially acceptable to the upper classes) entirely relevant to the surface read of the clue.

  24. Off to good start with 1a as our church takes her name and the late vicar wrote an opera with her title which is frequently performed locally. 21d needed prompt. Butter in 5d is becoming a bit of a chestnut as is 22d but I will still nominate them both as joint Favs. Word used for delivered in 8d is not necessarily synonymous. Oh, that kind of china for 24d bung-in! Thank you Mysteronn and StephenL.

  25. Nothing to do with the puzzle, but can anyone identify this plant or weed? they’re all over the lawn, about 3in high has four leaves in a cross shape and a red stem. Any help welcomed.

    1. Tippy – do you have a phone with Google on it? If so, you have a feature called Google Lens (a little camera icon on the app). That will tell you what it is in seconds.

      1. Alas no smartphone, but Mustafa’s hint lower down seems favourite, will investigate that, Ta for response, will see if Mrs TC has that app, as she has a smartphone.

    2. Mustafa Lens thinks it’s a sycamore seedling … do you have such a tree nearby, Tipcat, because they are a prolific weed if left unchecked!

      1. Yep, dirty great Sycamore tree at the top of the garden where these are most prolific, makes sense, will google treatments for such, ta Mustafa.

        1. Looks like sycamore. I’ve pulled loads up today. If you don’t get them up in the first year of growth they’re a nightmare to get up.

  26. IBrilliant from both setter whoever that is and from Stephen.I had to check 8d as I had dissect which didn’t quite workGlad to see I’m not alone in not knowing 21d

    1. From Collins re 8d
      To refuse to conform to the doctrines, beliefs, or practices of an established church, and to adhere to a different system of beliefs and practices

    2. Dis /dis or dēs/
      A name for the god Pluto, hence, the infernal world.
      Plus sent for the rest
      Dis was a new hell for me too!

  27. I have to agree with Brian. Did not enjoy this at all, but then I rarely do well with Ray T puzzles. Found several clues awkward, e.g. 16a and 5d, and some convoluted, e.g. 1d, IMHO. As a lot seem to have enjoyed, clearly I am totally off wavelength and out of my depth. But having had a good few days I expected to crash back to earth today, and not holding my breath for tomorrow either. But just got Wordle in 2, so not completely brain dead 😊.

      1. Thank you, BL. I was reading the comments and my spirits hit rock bottom because I did not get on with this at all. It was good to find you and Brian. It might have had something to do with a wheel bearing going on the car today but I doubt it.

        1. I can empathise Steve, and always feel relieved when someone else also says they are not finding a particular puzzle easy. And I believe it is important to let the lurkers and newbies know that someone else is also scratching their head.

      2. Wordl took me 5 but of course it all depends on how helpful your starter is. What was your starter BL I wonder?

  28. Hello all. Thanks for all the comments — I try to listen to everything that’s said, not just the good bits! — and thanks to StephenL for the blog. Nice to be compared with the good and the great, but alas it was just me :D

    Anyway, glad most of you liked it. Have a nice Friday and weekend.

    1. Thanks for popping in and giving us another super puzzle (and confirming my suspicions!). Have a good weekend too.

    2. Really a joy today, many thanks – and as I have already said, I love your jeans. Good fun all the way, except for 21d which I didn’t know and don’t want to. 🫢 I nominate 5,9,& 18a as favourites.

    3. I shall privately try to recognise your brilliance again! Well done. A well crafted puzzle.

  29. Breezed through this top crossword until I got to the SW corner, but once I’d twigged 20a the rest fell quickly. This, I might add, is in stark contrast to my abject performance on yesterday’s toughie where I needed the hints for a third of the clues. I needed to check 21d. Most enjoyable. Cotd was 1d. Thanks to the setter and SL.

    1. I’ve just seen the post above which appeared when my phone refreshed, thanks again NYD.

  30. It has all been said, more or less. Great enjoyment, icing on the cake having had a ladies only (all the husbands went to the local pub so no cooking. We’re not daft) lunch in beautiful bucolic Grantchester on a lovely sunny Spring day. The world can be beautiful in some small parts. Grab it where you can. Thanks also to SL for exposing the horrid 21d.

  31. 10a and 1d and 22d are super clues; 5d always reminds me of the last scene in citizen Kane! thank you setter and SL

  32. Got there in the end, a very disrupted solve due to work distractions, so hard to assess difficulty level, but I did enjoy the challenge.
    A couple of new bits of knowledge in 1a and 8d, and my favourite was 1d
    Thanks to all

  33. I thought this was a superior puzzle but for 6d which I thought was so weak compared to the rest. I was so reluctant to put it as an answer that I held back on 10a for ages.
    Relatively benign for Thursday, I finished this early before I took my old irons for a walk around the golf course. Thanks to setter and compiler.

  34. Thanks NYDK, and SL for helping me over the last hurdle 8d. Pluto’s 10a was new to me.
    I loved this puzzle nevertheless with special mention for 9, 10a and 14d.

  35. Swimming in molasses again! Alas, I’m too young to have heard of the “time” in 7d, and I thought I was pretty ancient, i bunged it in anyway. North was without problems, but south was like pulling teeth for some. I was a bridge player, so that helped, but 14d, 17d and 27a were DNF. I still don’t understand 14d. Fave was 18a, lovely word!
    Thanks NYDK and to StephenL for unravelling that lot.

    1. 14d is cheer (shout to encourage) around vali(d)…..ie sound as in realistic or logical minus its last letter.

  36. My neighbour has a Norwegian Maple in his back garden, the branches of which are beginning to overhang m yplot. Loads of the little winged seedlings root in my veggie plot every Autumn. Like the Sycamore they are the devil to get rid off if you don’t uproot them straightaway.

  37. I had the answer to 1a instantly, and thought I was on to a good day, but alas this was not to be. After solving a few I realised this was way way beyond me, and gave up. Glad to see that there were a few other commenters who were in the same position. Thanks to NKTD and SL.

  38. Thank you to NY Doorknob for the fun puzzle, and to Stephen for the hints that got me unstuck in the bottom-left corner.

    9a is not the most sophisticated clue, but it’s probably the one that made me laugh the most. I also particularly liked 16a’s spring article and 18a’s pretty country, and my favourite, 22d with the thick treacle.

  39. I completed this puzzle early yesterday morning but was so busy all day that I forgot to post. I would normally not have bothered to say anything so late after the event but it was such an excellent puzzle that I thought I should comment, and in particular thank the setter who I see has identified himself.

    Very well done and many thanks, NYDK. Thanks too to SL.

    1. I read all the posts on my blog, no matter when they arrive so your comment won’t be entirely “unseen” RD. One contributor regularly posts weeks after the puzzle is published and I often reply so he knows it’s been read.
      Agree it was an excellent puzzle.

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