DT 30304 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 30304

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30304

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty **/*** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday.  Today’s offering felt more straightforward than the Friday average, but perhaps I was just in the zone while having fun solving this puzzle whose grid contains every letter but X.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Regularly snacked on tea break (6)
CHANCE:  Alternate letters (regularly) of SNACKED come after (on, in an across clue) another word for tea 

4a    Abandon a person fighting (8)
SCRAPPER:  Abandon or discard with “a” or “for each” 

9a    Guide ready to go around city (6)
RECIPE:  Ready or not raw containing (to go around) an abbreviation used for the City of London 

10a   Favour coarse fibre for Spooner's military footwear (8)
JACKBOOT:  The Spooner treatment applied to favour or second and a coarse fibre 

12a   Antipasto prepared at butcher's (10)
BRUSCHETTA:  An anagram (prepared) of AT BUTCHER’S 

13a   Praise deleting line that's distasteful (4)
GORY:  A synonym of praise minus (deleting) the single letter for line 

14a   Irritate pedants omitting odd letters (3)
EAT:  The even letters (omitting odd letters) PEDANTS 

15a   Sensitive endlessly musing about son returning home (4-7)
THIN-SKINNED:  Musing or considering minus its last letter (endlessly) containing (about) the genealogical abbreviation for son is followed by the reversal (returning) of an animal home 

18a   Sound smart in conflict with a reputed prophet (11)
NOSTRADAMUS:  An anagram (in conflict) of SOUND SMART A 

20a   Queen's mate in contact with spymaster (3)
TOM:  A short word meaning “in contact withis followed by James Bond’s spymaster 

21a   Blue vehicle turning round yard (4)
NAVY:  The reversal (turning round) of a road vehicle is followed by the single letter for yard 

22a   Money once abroad is put in vessel of religious order (10)
FRANCISCAN:  Concatenate some pre-euro foreign currency, IS from the clue, and a verb meaning “put in vessel” (or the vessel itself) 

24a   Drink salespeople knocked back outside posh establishment (8)
SPRITZER:  The reversal (knocked back) of some usual salespeople containing (outside) a posh establishment

25a   Covers even concealing animal's tail (6)
QUILTS:  Even in a betting sense containing (concealing) the last letter (…’s tail) of ANIMAL 

26a   Rock idol, 20, trashed base (8)
DOLOMITE:  An anagram (trashed) of both IDOL and the answer to 20a is followed by the letter representing the base of the natural logarithms 

27a   Brought up second of gripes with listeners present (6)
REARED:  The second letter of GRIPES with a word meaning having listeners or hearing organs 



1d    Roughly tease head of tropical region (9)
CARIBBEAN:  Assemble the Latin abbreviation for roughly or about, tease or guy, and an informal word for head 

2d    History discontented altruistic nobleman (7)
ACCOUNT:  The outer letters (discontented) of ALTRUISTIC with a continental nobleman 

3d    Headwear on player fitted with one electrical device (9)
CAPACITOR:  An item of headwear followed by a theatrical player containing (fitted with) the Roman one 

5d    Discipline playing matches in set (12)
CHASTISEMENT:  An anagram (playing) of MATCHES IN SET 

6d    Seabirds like gathering in this country (4)
AUKS:  A synonym of “like” containing (gathering) the abbreviation for “this country” for the majority of blog readers 

7d    Maybe you proclaim to need no tips for clue (7)
PRONOUN:  Another word for proclaim minus (to need no) the outer letters of (no tips for) CLUE. Maybe  indicates that the definition is by example

8d    Angry tyrant arranged to banish knight (5)
RATTY:  An anagram (arranged) of TYRANT minus the chess abbreviation for knight (to banish knight) 

11d   Live with playwright penning pieces in right muddle (12)
BEWILDERMENT:  Link together live or exist, Oscar the playwright, and an abbreviation for right containing (penning) pieces used in a board game 

16d   Found singer in iTunes garbled (9)
INSTITUTE:  A small songbird inserted in an anagram (garbled) of ITUNES 

17d   Condemned act involving second wrongdoing, being upset (9)
DEMONISED:  Another word for act containing (involving) a short interval of time (second) and the reversal (being upset, in a down clue) of a synonym of wrongdoing 

19d   More than one part aluminium (7)
SEVERAL:  Part or divide with the chemical symbol for aluminium 

20d   Fusspot ignoring top puzzle (7)
TICKLER:  A fusspot or one who cares about details minus their first letter (ignoring top

21d   Mafia boss about to host opponents was inquisitive (5)
NOSED:  The reversal (about) of a Mafia boss containing (to host) an abbreviated pair of bridge opponents 

23d   Check  part of wineglass (4)
STEM:  A fairly straightforward double definition 


Thanks to today’s setter. My favourite clue is of course 20a. Big smile also for the Quickie Pun. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  QUEUE + HARK + ODE = QR CODE

74 comments on “DT 30304

  1. How good was this, excellent from the X-man with misdirection aplenty.
    Completed prior to a bracing sea swim (12° is somewhat below my comfort zone), my only real problem was a slight hold up in the SW when I entered “racy” for 21a, a perfectly legitimate answer.
    Top clues for me were 4,20&25a plus 1,6&7d.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Mr K.

    1. Yes – your alternative answer to 21a seems perfectly legitimate to me (although I did not enter it)

      1. Me too with “racy”, which like SL I entered because it seemed that it had to be right.

  2. Another fine puzzle from one of my favourite setters.

    I found it fairly straightforward, as was the toughie yesterday, but both puzzles immensely enjoyable!

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Mr K.

  3. Super puzzle, proper Friday fare: slightly ‘chewy’ in places, thinking cap required, but a dollop of anagrams and no specialist GK required, so what’s not to like? Like Stephen I was held up for a while in the SW by having put in Racy at 21a, so when both answers for 21d and 19d refused to fit I had to look for an alternative. Praise Be! but it took a long time for the penny (and line) to drop in 13a, my LOI.

    Plenty of clues with ticks, Hon Mentions going to 5d, 11d & 20a, with COTD for me 6d.

    2.5 / 4

    Many thanks to setter & Mr K

    Incidentally – was amused to see yesterday’s big rodent also appearing in The Times backpager, too. What’s the 1a of that happening? Maybe 18a has forecast when it will next appear?

      1. Fascinating analysis, MrK, thank you. I’m not sure which impresses me most, the programming required to analyse your data, or your collation of the data itself!

        I was being a little tongue-in-cheek of course, there being two timely answers in today’s puzzle which could be used in reference to that rodent burrowing-in to two backpage cryptics on the same day.

        I guess that although “Agouti” is an infrequently encountered word, the combinations of checking letters it contains renders it potentially quite useful to a setter, and therefore we shouldn’t be overly surprised if it reappears from its burrow before long.

        Thanks again.

      2. I can’t find any evidence of that particular rodent appearing before in different puzzles published on the same day, but it’s been close:

        25th June 2003, Guardian Cryptic 22866: A disease of the foot initially infecting rodent (6)
        26th June 2003, Telegraph Cryptic 24091: First letter with complaint I received on rodent (6)

        There are two other pairs where the appearances are separated by a week or less.

  4. For me, etc, this very enjoyable pro_imal, even for a Friday, felt like it had been placed in the wrong envelope but everything was fairly clued, perhaps the battery in my brain needed recharging and G&T was not the best for doing that – ****/*****

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 25a, 6d, and 23d – and the winner is 25a.

    Thanks to proXimal and MrK.

  5. Mmmm…. a three pipe problem I think Holmes might say. A definite ***/**** for me. Had huge trouble thinking of what was the obvious answer to 20d. With 25a and 11d being my favourites thanks to Mr K and the setter. Hats off to SL on his early morning dip!

  6. Top quality fun from a setter at the top of his game. Every clue was terrific, with misdirection aplenty. I particularly enjoyed the Spoonerism, although the simple 6d was my favourite.

    Thanks to proXimal and Mr K.

  7. The 3rd back page belter of a guzzle on the spin & hugely enjoyable from first to last. Twigging it a likely X-less pangram early doors (as I solved from the bottom up for a change) certainly helped. Largely straightforward apart from a brief head scratch at 7d & 13a due to trying to justify ugly for the latter. Ticks aplenty but Kath decrees only 1 fav so it’ll have be the Spoonerism.
    Thanks to proXimal & Mr K
    Ps Didn’t have a chance to have a bash at his Toughie yesterday & unlike Jezza I’m not finding the LHS particularly gentle

  8. Really enjoyable Friday fare which I struggled with in places – well it is Friday. Couldn’t get an immediate foothold at the top so started at the bottom and ended up solving in a somewhat haphazard fashion, finishing in the NE. I just noticed the Xless pangram in time for it to be useful in that corner. You know I’m not a fan of anagrams but have to admit their usefulness today in a couple of the longer answers. Podium places for 18a, 22a, 1d, 11d and my favourite 3d. Thanks to ProXimal for the workout and Mr K for the blog, especially the tummy tickled kitten.

  9. 2*/4.5*. An X-less pangram at the easier end of this setter’s range with only entering the wrong answer initially for 12a and parsing both 4a and 7d holding me up.

    My top picks were 4a, 12a, 20a, 7d & 11d.

    Many thanks ro proXimal and to Mr K.

  10. A tricky puzzle but all fairly clued and most enjoyable. Perfect Friday fare.
    I struggled to parse 26a, so thanks to Mr K for explaining it. Perhaps 20 should have read 20a, but that would obviously ruin the surface read.
    I much admired the brevity of clueing and the clever wordplay.
    First class.
    Thanks to Proximal and Mr K.

  11. Took a while to get into this puzzle which turned out to be a belter ,
    Favourite was 20a and nicely used in 26a, liked 10a and 18a.
    Going for a ****/****, excellent cluing throughout.
    Thanks to Mr K and our setter.

  12. Think I preferred our setter’s Toughie from yesterday but this was fair enough for a Friday back-pager.
    21a made me wonder what’s become of our young DT setter, perhaps embroiled in university life?
    Favourite today was the simple 6d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Mr K for the review.

  13. I found that enjoyably challenging but unfortunately have to admit to bung-ins aplenty. N warmest half. 3d out of my comfort zone so thanks MrG. Fav 25a. Thank you proXimal and MrK.

  14. I found this very enjoyable puzzle on a par for difficulty with the setter’s Toughie yesterday – thanks to proXimal and Mr K.
    Luckily I didn’t go down the ‘racy’ line for 21a, having checkers in place before I got to it.
    My podium places go to 1a, 7d and 11d.

  15. Tricky but enjoyable is my take on today’s offering. I did need help with a couple to allow me to finish but I’m not too bothered as it is Friday. For once, I actually worked out a spooner clue – they usually throw me into a hissy fit. Like others, I had “racy” for 21a and putting “instigate” in at 16d did not help. I keep forgetting about that particular meaning of queen and “erm” just made no sense at all. Plenty to like but my COTD is 22a.

    Thank you to the proXimal for the fun challenge. I only know it’s you because others say so. I never see the X-less pangram. Thank you to Mr. K. for the hints.

    The White Lion at Ash Magna in Shropshire has just won the Best Pub Award in the Countryside Alliance’s Rural Oscars. It’s great because the villagers bought the pub and renovated it themselves. A visit is on the cards methinks.

    1. With misplaced confidence, I put “instigate” for 16d too and this resulted in another DNF as nothing fitted 25a.

    2. Good for you, my brain just shuts down as soon as I see the word Spooner. I was useless today, and off to try the Toughie you recommended instead.

  16. A but of a slog form as I just am not on this setters wavelength. I finished it unaided in the end, however, if not with effusions of joy and delight like many other commenters. I did like the 5d anagram and some of the lego clues, 22a, 11d and COTD 1d. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and to Proximal for rhe guzzle.

  17. For me this was a 3 for difficulty though that may be that I was not on the setter’s wavelength. All clues were fair and no outlandish words but ….
    For me a four pipe puzzle!
    Thanks to setter.

  18. Certainly a slog.
    Certainly Toughie territory.
    But what a belter of a puzzle.
    And doable throughout.
    Even the Spooner clue.
    Not enough room on the podium.
    11d the winner, just.
    Thanks indeed to proXimal
    And to Mr K.

  19. Whilst I am eating my lunch and doing the guzzle, ponder upon this:-
    What goes up the river at 90 miles an hour?

  20. Found this very hard going. All a bit of a slog, very little fun. Needed the hints to explain 24a and 4d.
    Def not one for me.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I agree Brian, disappointingly tricky today, but we have had a run of splendid puzzles this week, and I never have high hopes of achieving much on a Friday.

  21. Enjoyed today’s puzzle. Can someone explain 20a? I got the answer but don’t understand why Tom = Queen’s mate

  22. Slowly grinding through this, it’s at least 4* difficulty in my eyes. For example, I got 1d only by having a couple of the letters from other clues and figuring out which bit of the clue was the main definition. I then looked at the explanation given here for cryptic bits and there’s no part of it that I’d have figured out by myself! I’m still new to doing these crosswords so maybe others will think it makes perfect sense to them

    1. Chris, thanks. Didn’t spot the Queen -cat connection probably because I’m a doggy person.

  23. Outclassed on general knowledge and on solving skill led me to abandon with a bit of a sparse grid. Enjoyed going through it with the blog to fill in the blanks though. A learning day to end a strong week.

  24. Blimey, said the Duchess. That was hard. But fair and workoutable with tenacity. I needed Mr K for 3 and 7d – they just escaped me. George got the Spoonerism straight away. Lots to like and to smile about, the prophetic anagram, Queen’s mate, the seabirds but my favourite is 24a just because I have happy memories of dining there in my giddy youth. I was fixated for awhile on Cyan blue, that was a clever clue also. Many thanks to Mr K and his kitties and to the setter, and I envy SL his ability to dive into the water and swim. I had mastoid in both ears as a child and told never to go in water. Actually, was it Crisscross who was talking about Carshalton the other day? I meant to say to her I was always being carted off to St Helier Hospital – it was a huge, dazzling white building which had to be painted in camouflage colours to prevent it being a beacon for the enemy planes. It was a fearsome looking building for a child to be taken to, as I was many times. My Scottish grandparents lived close by so I had regular visitors. Memories!

    1. St Helier Hospital was where I was born back in 1968. My mum used to work there as a physiotherapist. I still remember the immense size of the building that must have required a vast quantity of white paint…

  25. I couldn’t even get a toe hold on this one. Hats off to all above who managed to make sense of it. Too much to do to try to unravel this (need to make some shepherd’s pies). I did have a peek at the hint for 1a and realized I would never equate the answer with break, so I’m clearly on another planet today. Thanks to the recent tip from Steve Cowling, I’m off to have a stab at Wednesday’s Toughie instead, but Wordle first.

    1. Thank goodness it’s not just me. No hope at all of getting on to the setter’s wavelength today.

    2. I barely completed half of today’s puzzle before needing to look at the hints. Sorry I just wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength. Mustn’t complain, we have had quite a good run this week. Many thanks to the setter and Mr K. Have a nice weekend everyone.

  26. Quite gentle for a Friday offering. I too entered racy for 21a at first but soon saw the error of my ways.
    Lots of excellent clues that provided a bit of head scratching and a number of enjoyable penny drop moments. Not a fan of Spoonerisms but this one was fairly clued and provided no hold up. Still not clear on the parsing of 7d.
    Podium places 4a 1d and 15a.
    Many thanks to our setter and the hard working Mr K

  27. I found this really tricky but I did finish in the end – North East held out the longest and I had several bung ins. Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  28. Last one in 24 I needed the hint,mainly because I couldn’t accept the answer to 21.Some delightful clues on a puzzle that took me some time to unravel. Didn’t like 17 but favourites 5&6 down.
    Thanks to all.

  29. I cannot pretend in any way that I completely enjoyed today’s puzzle, but I did manage a completion albeit with a little outside help, which I hate having to resort to. 1a totally threw me as did 1d. Maybe the lunchtime funeral I had to attend was uppermost in my mind today and created a bit of brain fog, but that’d be a poor excuse for my in ability to get on the setter’s wavelength. Not all sour grapes though, as I did like many of the clues once I’d got my brain into gear. 10a, 15a, 24a are a few of them, but 26a was my favourite. That one brought back long distant memories of travelling by coach from Austria through the mountainous route into Italy during a couple of package holidays in my teens. A bit like rowing upstream against a fast flowing river for me today, but all very fairly clued. Thanks to our setter and to MrK.

  30. I enjoyed this difficult but doable crossword. I went on pangram alert after solving 24a and 25a, this helped and I was left with just an ‘X’. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to ProXimal and Mr. K.

  31. I’ve had a couple of attempts and just can’t get going. Seeing all the comments about how enjoyable it was I’m feeling as thick as a plank today!

    1. Please don’t feel inadequate, this was beyond my ken by a country mile. On the other hand, we’ve had some pretty good fun this week, after yesterday’s gem, I’ll concede this one to the intelligentsia.

    2. When I get really stuck I look at the Hinter’s hints – I don’t read them, I just underline the word that I am searching for. That is a huge help very often. Then of course if that doesn’t work , I read the text – it’s what all these wonderful ‘hinters’ are there for.

      1. I agree with that DG, it has helped me learn by doing that. I have 2 steps before that which are
        1.Read the comments, this gives me a very good idea of the really contentious or tricky clues, and sometimes gives me the answer. It also helps me gauge the general feel of how hard it is (although I know it’s terribly subjective). I have learnt who I am most in tune with.

        2 Look at the pics, this is an entertaining way of sometimes getting completely the wrong idea or exactly the right answer.

        I then employ your plan.
        If all that fails I reveal the answers and claim I have been educated and reward myself with a G&T!

  32. For me this was really tricky, more so than recent Fridays but as a novice I expect to hit a wall at some point in the week (feel worse when it’s on a Monday!!) I completed with a read of the comments, one or two hints and looking up some synonyms. Having now read all the hints I can see it was all fair and square and actually very clever, I just was not on the right wavelength today. I did manage to get 21a! 15a was my favourite.

    I find it very frustrating when you have had the right idea of how to solve the clue and still can’t see the answer as happened to me for 1a.

    Many thanks to MrK for the essential explanatory hints and pics and to the setter.

  33. Today’s setter is putting me in my place after my pride at finishing yesterday. Second attempt after a break still didn’t get me into double digits, so have given up trying to get on their wavelength.

    Thanks Mr K, will now read the hints to see if I can improve on a disastrous performance.

    1. Well I finished finally thanks to hints, but still can’t see why 20a is Queen’s mate

    1. A fine puzzle but I found it quite hard for some reason. Of course – all the more satisfying for that. Thank you ProXimal for the Friday entertainment!

    2. Many thanks for the puzzle, proXimal. I failed on a couple but, on the whole, I found it enjoyable. Thank you for popping in.

  34. Started while grabbing a quick sandwich at work & finished tonight after a late tea. I also fell into the racy trap but easily spotted from the obvious answer to 21d. Not the most difficult of Friday challenges, but enough to keep the grey matter engaged.


    Fav 12a LOI 25a.

    Thanks to proXimal and Mr K.

  35. Managed six clues before conceding I will never be on the right wavelength and calling it a day.

    Thanks to all.

  36. Awful Friday, lucky those whose brains are better than mine. I look forward to Saturday’s crossword which I always acheive

  37. Good evening
    I have been struggling with this throughout the day, since before work; and now that my shift is almost finished, so is my attempt at today’s crozzie. 17 correct solutions, and that’s my whack – and I count myself gey lucky to have got that far!
    Thank you ProXimal and Mr K

  38. Found this utterly impossible for my poor brain, so gave up before I started. I’m glad to see others in the same situation.
    Thanks to all.

  39. Took me a while to get into this one. Easier once ‘racy’ was dispensed with! Got 20a purely because Queen for a cat was in another crossword this week. Might have been a DT one?

  40. 4*/3* ….
    liked 24A “Drink salespeople knocked back outside posh establishment (8)”

Comments are closed.