DT 30284 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30284

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30284

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.

About an hour before writing this we had a bit of earthquake excitement. A swarm of shakes happened on the east coast (we’re on the west coast) of the North Island. We felt the first one as a sharp jolt and some subsequent shaking, and then several aftershocks as slight tremors. No reports of damage have come through yet but the epicentre is well away from urban areas.

Today’s fun puzzle not quite as earth shaking. Just a few slight ‘wobbles’ in places.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Work endlessly with excessive enthusiasm in part of Australia (8)
TASMANIA : Work or a chore loses its last letter. Then excessive enthusiasm or obsession.

9a     A cold urn transformed into a hot pot (8)
CAULDRON : An anagram (transformed) of A COLD URN.

10a     Tolerate child’s soft plaything (4)
BEAR : This plaything could possibly be Pooh or Paddington.

11a     One responsible for producing humbug among others? (12)
CONFECTIONER : A cryptic definition. Humbug here is not balderdash.

13a     In short, embrace Len and May when troubled in a compassionate way (8)
HUMANELY : Remove the last letter from a three letter embrace, then an anagram (troubled) of LEN and MAY.

15a     Help a part of the rail network after leader is ousted (6)
AIDING : ‘A’ from the clue and the section of a rail network where freight is loaded or unloaded loses its first letter.

16a     Arrears of French baronet on vacation (4)
DEBT : The French word for ‘of’ plus the first and last letters (on vacation) of baronet.

17a     Pull shown by idyllic place, largely (5)
HEAVE : Remove the last letter from an idyllic ‘hereafter’ place.

18a     Wander is done after cycling (4)
ROVE : Start with a word meaning is done or finished and cycle the last letter to the beginning.

20a     Film revolutionary woman’s secret way of writing (6)
CIPHER : Reverse a short slang word for a film, and then a possessive pronoun meaning ‘the woman’s’.

21a     A storm raging around female and daughter in Lincolnshire town (8)
STAMFORD : An anagram (raging) of A STORM contains F(emale) and finally D(aughter.

23a     One helped by crook views almost meaty dish (9,3)
SHEPHERDS PIE : The crook that helps this person is not a criminal, but an implement. Then views covertly without its last letter.

26a     Team sport lacking good decorative feature? (4)
RUBY : Remove G(ood) from New Zealand’s national sport.

27a     Hiding source of tension, Dane and vet broke up feud (8)
VENDETTA : An anagram (broke up) of DANE and VET contains (hiding) the first letter of tension.

28a     Like a couple, possibly, infused with melting heart and festooned with flowers (8)
WREATHED : A word meaning like a married couple contains an anagram (melting) of HEART.


2d     American for a time sure to miss small opening (8)
APERTURE : The single letter abbreviation for American, then a word often used by greengrocers for ‘for a’. This is followed by T(ime) and finally the word ‘sure’ without its S(mall).

3d     First person, Republican guy, acquiring name with this unusual vessel (8,4)
MERCHANT SHIP : A first person pronoun, then R(epublican); then a guy or man contains N(ame) and an anagram (unusual) of THIS.

4d     Irritating type is missing subtle meaning (6)
NUANCE : Start with an irritating type and remove the word ‘is’ from within it.

5d     Hurt companion visiting A&E (4)
ACHE : The letters A and E surround a Companion of Honour.

6d     Executive facing investigation needs something for travel (8)
SUITCASE : A slang word for an executive and an investigation that a detective might be handling.

7d     Show amusement with gym-goer discontented at home (4)
GRIN : The first and last letters (discontented) of gym-goer and the two letter ‘at home’.

8d     Plot‘s mysterious quality (8)
INTRIGUE : A double definition.

12d     Prestigious award excited reformed trio (5,2,5)
ORDER OF MERIT : An anagram (excited) of REFORMED TRIO.

14d     Guy turned up to welcome English or Irish poet (5)
YEATS : A guy or supporting cable is reversed and contains E(nglish).

16d     One engaged by complicated devices for settling an issue? (8)
DECISIVE : An anagram (complicated) of DEVICES contains (engages) the Roman numeral one.

17d     Gathers most of tough athletes’ gear (8)
HARVESTS : A synonym for tough without its last letter and athletes’ upper torso apparel.

19d     Evil Arab rogue prone to differ? (8)
VARIABLE : An anagram (rogue) of EVIL ARAB.

22d     A large tree typifying a snowy landscape? (6)
ALPINE : ‘A’ from the clue, then L(arge) and a conifer.

24d     Marine bird occupying higher nests (4)
ERNE : A lurker, hiding in the clue.

25d     Tie in raffle (4)
DRAW : A double definition.

Our favourite today is the complicated charade that is 3d.

Quickie pun    laud    +    nose    =    Lord knows

84 comments on “DT 30284

  1. Yet another grey grim cold day here in Sandhurst, nearly May? I don’t think so.
    Sadly found this puzzle a bit grey too, no real standout amusing clues as far as I was concerned, was I the only one to think the first word in the clue for 15a needed another three letters on it to make it work properly?
    Ah well, can’t like ‘em all, roll on tomorrow, and hopefully some better weather.

        1. Yes, that’s how I read it, SB but shouldn’t there be “ing” behind “help” in the clue?

        2. That wasn’t the issue, we can see the answer, but think the clue should have read ‘helpING’

        3. Seems to me this 15a “hoohah” is a bit of a tempest in a teapot.
          I had no issues with it and it makes perfect sense the way the clue is written IMHO
          To each his/her own.

  2. I agree not Earth shaking this **/*** puzzle. My stumbles were at 6d and 20a which made me pause a while. Thought the rest straightforward and the six anagrams helped. Top of the tree was 4d for me. Glad to hear the 2K’s weren’t too affected but must still be frightening. Thanks to them and our setter.

  3. Fairly straightforward, apart from the 20a alternative spelling with an ‘i’ instead of a ‘y’, which caught me out for a while. I lijed the geOgraphical clues at 21a and 1a and 13a was quite clever. Thanks to the Kiwis fir the hints and I hope there are no more seismological blips anytime soon. Thanks also to the compiler.

  4. Not my cup of tea either but maybe that’s because I never seemed to be quite on wavelength so it was a pedestrian grid fill. There seemed to be no end of letter removal & annoyingly never did find the one required to parse last in 15a. As Tipcat says you can’t like ‘em all….
    Thanks anyway to the setter & 2Ks

  5. Very enjoyable, one of those puzzles that seemed tricky on first read through but succumbed surprisingly quickly with a few checkers in.
    My favourite was 4d.
    Many thanks to the setter and the Ks.

  6. 3.5*/4*. I found the LHS of this puzzle quite challenging for a Wednesday but it was great great fun from start to finish.

    3d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to the 2Ks.

  7. Completed with the exception of 20a which I always spell with a Y…..which made it unparsable. BRB showed me the error of my way, though. And not for the first time.

    I think I enjoyed this one more than others…..but then I always enjoy crosswords when I can do them in a reasonable time , 20a notwithstanding .

    Thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

    Stay safe, Kiwis, and I hope no further shocks or shakes are on their way to you.

    1. I’ve always used a ‘y’ for cypher too, Ora and the BRB does have both alternative spellings. It did puzzle me for a while!

  8. I enjoyed this one too, even though it was over fairly quickly. There were some excellent clues amongst the grid, most notably, for me, 3 and 4d. Great fun.

    My thanks to our setter and the 2Ks. I hope the earth doesn’t move for you too often.

  9. About right for a midweek backpager but what a lot of anagrams/removal of letters

    Thanks to the 2Ks – I did read that you’d had an earthquake and wondered how it might affect you – and to the, hopefully earthquake-free setter

  10. The bunny is still hopping whilst negotiating the circular car park which happily today is moving. I enjoyed the anagrams and 4d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the 2 kiwis for the confirmatory hints and the setter.

  11. Enjoyable and reasonably straightforward, though completion was delayed by the troublesome NE. I especially liked 11a, 28a and 4d, but found the number of clues requiring one to think of a word and knock off a letter or two rather repetitive, particularly when three of the numerous anagrams also required the inclusion of a single letter in the anagrist.

    1.5 / 2.5

    Many thanks to the setter and of course to the 2Ks – fingers crossed all remains well for you and indeed all in NZ

  12. Scatter gun approach.
    Provided checking letters.
    Enabling completion in 2.5* time.
    Smiles 1, 11 and 23a.
    And especially at 6d.
    Thanks to the setter.
    And to the 2Kiwis for their colourful review.

  13. I didn’t really enjoy this today but can’t put my finger on a justifiable reason. I’m not a fan of anagrams and ‘put or take a letter’ type clues so perhaps that’s it.. However, I did like the lego clue at 3d and the misleading 11a along with my favourite 23a for giving me tonight’s meal idea. Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis. Hopefully no more seismic activity.

  14. Seems unlikely that I will ever gel with this compiler’s style but we can’t luv ’em all!
    Top clue for me was 4d and a mention for 21a just because it’s a delightful place.

    Thanks to our setter and to our 2Ks for the review – hope you manage to stay well out of harm’s way.

    1. I have two copies of Brideshead Revisited on the way to me. Couldn’t decide which one of the paperback versions seemed more readable so I bought both. Money is of course no object to this very wealthy American. Looking forward to my return to Brideshead after 50+ years.

  15. Hmm, a soupçon of double unches, I wonder if that is an indication of a weekend setter ‘moonlighting’ on a Wednesday. Probably the best of the week so far – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 2d, 4d, and 22d – and the winner is 4d.

    Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis – here’s hoping there are no more tremors.

    P.S. I was in my local bookstore yesterday and I saw this. ‘Misfiled’? I am not sure – there were 9 or 10 of the books and, a couple of shelves lower, 4 or 5 CD audiobooks.

    1. Oh I love that postscript. I do wish he would shut up and stop digging holes. He needs a good spanking. 🤭

    2. Is his book under “Fiction A” because his name is ‘Arry, or because he’s an @rse? :)

  16. Enjoyable enough, but nothing to get excited about. I, too, was bothered by 15A. 4D came out tops for me.

    My one and only personal experience of an earthquake here in Southern Maryland was a 5.9. Shaking though no actual damage but so loud it sounded like a freight train running directly under the house. My very laid back lab didn’t even raise his head!

    Thanks to the 2Ks. Happy that you are both OK. Thanks also to the setter.

    1. There was one in London back in the nid 1960’s, I think. I was alone, at home, When my mother’s collection of china figurines started to ‘ walk’ along the shelf above the fireplace and the wall-mirror suspended on a chain swung from side to side. This was accompanied by a loud rattling noise and , to a teenage fan of Hammer horror movies, quuite eerie. My fantasy of having had a supernatural experience lasted until details of the earthquake came over the radio.

      1. We had a very mild tremor here in the 70’s maybe. I was out walking, a very odd feeling. I cannot imagine the terror of being in a really big one. Glad the 2 K’s are OK.

    2. We had a biggish one in Jamaica around 1959. It brought down the church steeple and did a lot of damage. Don’t want to experience that again. Glad the 2Kiwis are fine and no serious damage done.

  17. Nothing to write home about but reasonably straightforward if somewhat heavy on anagrams and calling for other forms of letter-switching rather than dissection of clues. Don’t think I have previously heard of 6d slang executive. Apart from alternative spelling 20a film jars a bit. Suppose 26a could be loosely termed “decorative feature”. Thank you Mysteron and the 2 Kiwis for whom hopefully no aftershock.

    1. There’s a long running Netflix series named ‘Suits’ – featuring she who shall not be named (comment#15)!

  18. Pleasant enough , with no obscure knowledge required, but nothing really standout.
    LOI was 6d and that became by COTD.
    Thanks to all

  19. I needed to look at the hints a couple of times but otherwise a steady solve. I agree with comments about 15a needing three more letters in the clue and I have always spelled 20a with a “Y”. My COTD is 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun. Thank you 2Ks for the hints and I hope there are no more earth shocks.

  20. My anagram counter reached 9 for this one. Whatever happened to the ‘rule’ of no more than six anagrams per puzzle? Thanks to the setter and 2Ks.
    My favourite clue was 4d.

  21. 1* / 3*
    Pleasant enough, but found a couple of clues slightly odd: 11a does not seem very cryptic and 15d as mentioned by others.
    LOI 8d and 17d were my favourites
    Thanks to setter and 2K’s

  22. Decent enough lunchtime fare, but I have to say it didn’t really float my boat. 6D seemed a tad tired to me – I’ve seen too many v similar variants of late. Yes, 3D was clever – and fun to solve – but that is one ugly surface!

  23. Another Wednesday puzzle with an unknown setter it would seem to me. Just hope Jay is not ever going to show up again … his puzzles for me were a challenge.
    Reasonably straightforward today and no weird words this week. Some clues that were almost gimme’s and others required a tad more thought.
    Today I found quite a lot of misleading clues as well, I thought.
    Kept me on my toes.

    2*/3.5* for me today

    Favourites include 11a, 20a, 23a, 26a & 2d — with winner 11a

    Thanks to setter and the 2K’s

  24. I sit alongside those above in relation to 15a. It was my last one in and I stared at it for an age trying to think how it could possibly be correct without the first word of the clue having an ‘ing’ tucked on to its tail.

    Recently I have enjoyed, enormously, reading the three huge volumes of the diaries of Chips Channon, and now I am nearing the end of re-reading the diaries of James Lees-Milne. Extraordinary how these two fellows had so much in common. Homosexuality, which they masked by marrying women of nobility. Both managed to swerve service in World Wars, and both were extremely pompous and snobbish, with deep seated racism flowing through their veins. Yet, I cannot read enough about these people and their ilk – Diana Cooper, Duff Cooper, Evelyn Waugh, Vita, Harold, Virginia Woolf et al.

    Oh well, off to Stamford Bridge in a while – surely it can’t get any worse?

    Thanks to the setter and The TwoKays <- I'm glad to hear you are safe.

    1. Agreed, Terence. What an extraordinary time of, what I call, insane sanity. Diana Cooper was really strange but what a different life she led.

  25. As did others, I struggled with 15a and still don’t like it, but I did ‘solve’ the confounding clue. Also, as others have suggested, this puzzle seemed to lack any kind of joie de vivre (at least for me), which is one of the distinguishing features for me of a really successful cryptic. This one just sort of sat there, alas. I did enjoy 3d, however, and even though we don’t have those kinds of humbugs over here–as far as I know (but what do I really know anyway?)–I did enjoy puzzling through that one. Thanks to the Kiwis and today’s setter. ***/***

  26. Not too taxing in view of the last two sleepless nights. George has Covid. Dare I say Man Covid? No, that is a bit mean because he has a hacking cough, watering eyes and feeling light headed plus a temperature of 40.2 at 3am which caused me to ring 111 and a fat lot of use they were. I held on as requested and they cut me off. Anyway, temperature restored to normal and he is reclining in another bedroom and fortunately throughout has not lost his appetite, being able to manage ‘just a little’ (or ‘usual fare’) I meanwhile have missed a lunch today, WI tonight, tea at Carriages tomorrow so that’s forty quid down the drain and more importantly my long awaited visit to Nuclear medicine on Friday. I hope my trivia does not upset you. It looms large in my legend at the moment. So I am not critical of the guzzle content, just happy to be diverted. Many thanks to the setter and the 2 Ks and it seems only yesterday I was saying that. Where does time go when it is so precious? 4&7d🌼

    1. Commiserations and Get Well Soon wishes to George and I do hope you will avoid the dreaded lurgy (probably inappropriate word as Covid is hardly unspecified).

      1. I had high night-time temperatures for 3-4 days and woke up drenched. If you are really worried and 111 are unhelpful, sponging with cool water helps reduce temperature and old fashioned aspirin is often more effective than paracetamol according to my GP. My son and I are both prone to high fevers. Hope you remain Covid-free Daisy.

      1. Haha. Champagne afternoon tea in an old railway carriage. When you live in the country you find diversions in strange places.

  27. Despite having a steam enthusiast for a son, I still feel 15a is a poor clue. My favourite? Has to be 11a

  28. Happily I am not feeling dumb today. Strangely, perhaps perversely, I found this easier than yesterday and definitely more enjoyable. Lots going straight in, and the rest at a reasonable pace, so thanks to setter for the respite.

  29. Natch, I buck the trend and enjoyed this. A puzzle I could do without contortions of the brain. Full disclosure, I needed word search for 8d because I couldn’t read my writing and thought the “g” was an “s”. I thought 4d was clever and is my fave, 17a and 23a also amused.
    Thank you setter, wonder who it is, and to the 2Kiwis for unravelling a couple.

  30. Nice and enjoyable to welcome me back from my short holiday😃 **/**** Favourites 23a & 22d Thanks to the 2 x Ks ( shortly after my only visit to NZ on a Cruise, Christchurch was devastated by an earthquake in March 2010) and thanks to the Compiler 🤔

  31. Really struggling with this one. Only 11 answered after about an hour. 11a does not seem to me to be a cryptic clue at all no matter how much one tries to make it so. It’s a straight forward definition.

    1. Except that humbug in its other form so widely available. Had the answer required only 10 letters, it could possibly have been ‘politician’. Or if 7 letters, then ‘Scrooge’.

  32. Not my favourite, but I did complete.

    Thanks to setter and to 2 Ks – glad you are safe

  33. Last ones in were 15a and 8d.
    Got the former from the thesaurus which legitimised the answer.
    The copious amount of anagrams did help the solving process.
    Thanks to the setter and to our 2kiwis for the review.

  34. Good evening
    I found today’s crozzie a bit tricky! Nevertheless, I made it in the end. Some enjoyable misdirection today, an anagram which I failed to spot until almost the last moment, and 3d and 23a both elicited a shout of Crikey! (if not something a little more impolite…)

  35. 2/4. Another enjoyable puzzle with not a lot of pen sucking required. Favourites were 11&23a. Thanks to the 2Ks and whoever the setter is.

  36. Enjoyable enough but a little anagram-heavy for my liking. I too normally spell 20a with a ‘Y’ but the BRB tells me there is an alternative! Personally I think 3d is an historical term, overtaken in time by containers and tankers. I liked 10a for the surface but my COTD is 4d which I thought a super clue. */****

    Thanks to the setter and 2Ks

  37. Didn’t exactly blow me away either, this offering, but I have to agree with pommers that if I help I am aiding at 15A. I can understand why people were onto that one, however.

  38. After a slow start, getting a few checkers really speeded things up. Only really had trouble with 10a as mine is anything but soft. But at 75ish I suppose that’s understandable; poor thing is almost hairless, and no longer has any ‘Eyefluff ‘ as he’s called.
    Thanks to setter and 2Kiwis, be safe!

      1. I only had a rubber elephant that had lost its squeak as a kid. However, when we moved in the early 80s I was up in the loft to see what we could store there. I saw something rammed under the eaves and went to investigate. It was a long forgotten teddy with jointed limbs. It was covered in cobwebs and grime and it dated from about 1920. I cleaned him up and called him Ashford after the name of the cul de sac where the house was situated.

        About twenty years later, while we stood at the antiques fair at Bingley Hall in Stafford, I found a slightly smaller version. I had to buy him and he was called Bingley.

        Ashford and Bingley became our mascots at all the fairs we stood at.

      2. Aged about 4 or 5 I was given my auntie Frankie’s Teddy bear already of great age and fairly dilapidated. My mother asked what I was going to call it. I glanced around searching for inspiration and saw a piece of music on my mother’s piano by Chopin which I read phonetically. Chopin didn’t seem very good so I declared I would call him Chopkin. I later gave him to my little sister. Chopkin the bear is still alive and must be well over a hundred year’s old. I have my mother’s piano and the piece of music by Chopin, I can play neither.

  39. Morning all.
    Interesting discussion on 15a. Maybe the setter will pop in to explain his/her thinking.

  40. He had been aiding the rescue effort all day and many

    thanked him for his help. Where’s the problem?

    1. Corky, but if “aiding” and “help” mean the same thing then you should be able to swap them in a sentence. Using your example, it wouldn’t make sense to say, “he had been help the rescue effort and many thanked him for his aiding”.

  41. Hard work. I’ve done half of the toughie. I think I’ll leave both of them there.

  42. I réalise I am writing to myself having done this only this morning, but the setter and hunters may read. I loved it and was 100% on the wavelength. I do agree with the majority on 15a however. 6d and 15a were last two in. I would not put 15a in till I had all the checkers. I almost put Sleaford in for 21a until I realised it didn’t fit the anagram. I thought 11a was cryptic. I liked it as other humbugs come to mind. I hesitated a bit with 28a but these comments apart all went in smoothly. Thanks setter and 2Ks.

  43. I was here to see it!

    I liked this straightforward puzzle.

    When I lived in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand we had many tremors but the worst thing was the doors swinging open! Hardly a problem, though surprising. The houses were often built to be flexible to some degree and a large disturbance could flex things enough to release the door catcher.

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