DT No 30309 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT No 30309

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30309

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Good morning everyone from a blue skies Torquay, where I’m feeling refreshed post an early morning sea swim.

Another excellent puzzle from the master of brevity, most of the usual suspects (an acrostic, The Queen, and his sweetheart) make an appearance.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a A real turn-up’s somehow being psychic (12)
SUPERNATURAL: Anagram (somehow) of A REAL TURN UP’S.

9a Conservative, safe and dreary (9)
CHARMLESS: Append a synonym of safe or benign to the abbreviation for Conservative

10a Unlocks last of zoo cages (5)
OPENS: The final letter of zoO plus a synonym of cages or enclosures.

11a Cause trouble on hospital department (6)
ENTAIL: The usual three-letter hospital department and a synonym of trouble as a verb.

12a One’s taken in show seeing Nirvana (8)
PARADISE: Insert (taken in) the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one plus the S (one’s) into a show or procession.

No doubt as to the musical highlight of the year. Blur are set to release a new album. To quote The Times, “Hooray!”.

13a Life of priest in strange order (6)
ESPRIT: Anagram (in strange order) of PRIEST. Excellent indicator.

15a Shallow breath follows somersault (8)
FLIPPANT: A breath or gasp follows a somersault or quick turn over.

18a Oglers, I fancy, surrounding a harem (8)
SERAGLIO: Anagram (fancy) the preceding two words including (surrounding) the letter A.

19a Count of French prison died (6)
DEPEND: The French word for OF plus a synonym of prison (the same one as 10a!) plus the abbreviation for Died.

21a Express contains dire empty testimony (8)
EVIDENCE: Nothing to do with the newspaper! Place a synonym of express or show around (contains) the outside (empty) letters of DirE.

23a Power in rifles, they’re sometimes shot! (6)
RAPIDS: Insert the abbreviation for Power into a synonym of rifles in the sense of ransacks. The clue is a reference to white water rafting.

26a Drink while consumed by drink (5)
TOAST: Place a synonym of while into (consumed by) a small quantity of alcoholic drink.

27a Free from sex, one rat explained … (9)
EXONERATE: A rather good lurker (from). It’s worth noting that this setter usually includes two or more.

28a … odd meaning about word ‘sex’ (12)
INTERMITTENT: You can ignore the ellipses here.  Place a synonym of meaning or purpose around a word or expression and the usual two-letter sex.


1d Conceal inside story on sweetheart (7)
SECRETE: A word that could describe an inside story or something classified and this setter’s swEetheart.

2d Works quietly with line worker (5)
PLANT: The abbreviation for the musical instruction to play quietly, the abbreviation for Line and a working insect. The solution is a noun.

3d Left crew circling English Channel? (9)
REMAINING: Place a synonym of crew or circle around the abbreviation for English and a large body of water. A channel usually links two of these bodies.

4d Top primate with cross (4)
APEX: A three-letter primate and the letter that looks like a cross.

5d United Nations’ record is wavering (8)
UNSTABLE: The abbreviation for the United Nations, the possessive S and a record or chart.

6d Perfume from a foreign capital (5)
AROMA: A from the clue and how the citizens of Italy would term their capital.

7d Destroy revolting rodents in time (8)
DECIMATE: Insert a reversal (revolting) of some small rodents into a time in the sense of a day or occasion.

8d Claim sounds like a sure thing (6)
ASSERT: Follow A from the clue with a homophone (sounds like) of an informal or abbreviated word for a sure thing.

14d Adherent of pop art is a nut (8)
PARTISAN: Hidden in the clue (of).

16d Stop drinking endless beer, it’s common (9)
PREVALENT: A synonym of stop or bar goes around (drinking) some beer without (endless) its last letter.

17d Individual round Alien Queen uprising (8)
DISCRETE: Start with a flat thin circular object and add a reversal (uprising in a down clue) of the usual two-letter alien and the former queen’s royal cypher.

18d Some fantasies taboo for sleep (6)
SIESTA: Our third hidden clue as indicated by the word “some”, which I always think is a bit of a giveaway.

20d Fool, say, beginning to succumb in wilderness (7)
DESSERT: Nothing to do with a silly person. Place the initial letter of Succumb into a vast sandy wilderness. Say indicates that it’s a definition by example.

22d Finished school, reportedly (5)
EATEN: A homophone (reportedly) of a famous public school.

24d Initially intelligent? No, alas, not exactly! (5)
INANE: The first letters (initially) of the following five words giving an extended definition.

25d Destruction of atmosphere reversed (4)
DOOM: Reverse an atmosphere in the sense of ambience or feeling.

Good stuff. My ticks go to 15&28a plus 3&16d. Which ones did you mark out?




75 comments on “DT No 30309

  1. The top of the puzzle went in much more easily and I’m cundebyed to Stephen for my understanding o of 28a, which was my last one in and a bung-in. There were some good lego clues, I particularly liked 25a and 16d but my COTD, with its splendid misdirection was 23a. Thanks to Stephen for the hints and toRay T for a nice guzzle with a slightly different feel.

    1. Chriscross, I can normally manage to interpret your accidental/intentional typos. But, ”cundebyed” …? I have no idea!

  2. I found this rather difficult . I think it’s me. I didn’t sleep well.
    15a was my favourite.
    Thanks to Stephen L and the setter.
    PS Edwina Currie didn’t find John Major charmless.

    1. Very true, there’s no accounting for taste! He was however known as “the grey man” and was parodied as such on Spitting Image. He just seemed particularly apt for the surface read of the clue.

        1. No way, 1. He’s not safe, and 2. Far from dreary he’s anti-collision orange.
          As an aside, I see some idiot has taken a leaf out of our book by trying to drive a car into 10 Downing Street. What on earth makes these low-life’s crawl out from under their rocks.

    2. Far from, said Currie in her book, in a rather graphic description, if you get my drift.

  3. Great puzzle. Hard to argue with Stephen’s ticks although I’d also throw in 23a which was my LOI.

    Thanks to SL and Ray T.

  4. For some reason I didn’t find this as enjoyable as I usually find a Ray T puzzle. I think it’s always more challenging when many of the checkers are vowels. Nevertheless I finished unaided but am grateful to Stephen for explaining 17d and 28a. Favourite today was 12a.

  5. Well, as another poor sleeper, I found this a 3 if only going by time taken!
    18 a and a new word to me but solved it and then looked it up to check.
    15 a seemed original and 26 a ingenious.
    Happy days and thanks to setter!

  6. A very enjoyable challenge from Mr T but it almost felt like a Beam Toughie with anagrams plus assistance from the lurkers – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 26a, 8d, and 20d – and the winner is 8d.

    Thanks to Ray T and StephenL.

  7. I found this quite tricky but finished unaided but needed the hints to understand how I got there. On our way to Watatunga Wildlife Reserve – looks wonderful – had never heard of it till recently and it’s just down the road. Will post a picture later. Thanks to all.

  8. A very agreeable puzzle – thanks to Ray T and SL.
    I’ve pared down my list of top clues to 23a, 1d and 20d.

    I recommend today’s Toughie by Silvanus which is very enjoyable but not too tricky with nary an obscurity in sight.

    1. Absolutely second that, great puzzle that actually took me less time than this one.

      1. I third that. Don’t usually complete the toughie but found this very doable and enjoyable. Probably only 1* but nevertheless!

    2. Heartily concur – and it includes the most humorous clue I’ve seen so far this year!

  9. I join the list of those who must have slept badly, as I found this unusually tough, although enjoyable.

    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL.

  10. 2*/5*. It’s dream Thursday with a RayT back-pager and a Silvanus Toughie to enjoy.

    This was right up with the best of the master of brevity’s work. My crowded podium comprises 15a, 23a, 1d, 2d & 16d with many more coming into contention.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

  11. Hurrah – it’s dream team day again!
    Found this one a little trickier than expected but nevertheless very enjoyable. Podium places going to 15&23a plus 1&8d.

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

  12. Delightful puzzle for a chilly morning here in Massachusetts – Rabbit Dave has the podium candidates but we would promote 16d for elegant surface reading.

    We have not seen one bud on any wysteria here in the North East (USA) – seems like the sudden severe cold in late Feb was the cause (minus 15C). It was so cold we were putting hot water bottles under our hives and thankfully saved the bees.

    Mr & Mrs T

    Ps: Pic is from last year.

    1. Super photograph of what is evidently a lovely wisteria – fingers firmly crossed that it has not been killed off!

    2. One of my faves! We can’t grow it here but we do have a vine called Petrea that’s similar. I have one on my wall, a very slow grower, but it’s been blossoming profusely for a couple of years now.

      1. “One of my faves!” That signifies you have multiple favourites. Don’t you let Kath hear you saying that!

    3. Well done for saving the bees, I have seen only one so far this year. We had a colld wet spring.

  13. Just finished and I thought pretty tricky but enjoyable with a few I could not parse eg 28a so I will need the hints to check later. Last in 23a as it took ages to click My favourite was 15a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Stephen L for the hints which I will look at later.

  14. Unusual for me, completed a RayT in one sitting! Although I struggle with this particular setter I still marvel in the brevity of his clues & the surface reading.


    Fav 23a LOI 17d.

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL.

  15. Another great puzzle from RayT. Thanks to him and StephenL for the review.

    By the way, Stephen, you may wish to check the underlining in 6d and 27a (in the latter you have underlined the indicator as well as the definition).

  16. For me it was a bit 9a perhaps as I needed help with a few. North was definitely warmer than the South e.g. 17d and 19a where for me an “on” is missing. Thank you RayT and StephenL.

  17. I am a wretched soul, bruised with adversity, for I found this to be a challenge on a par with that faced by Henry V at Agincourt.
    Oh, you say this is only a crossword?
    Well let me tell you I am drained and hollowed despite my victory over this tricky guzzle.
    With no longbow and only a pencil in hand I felt like Henry overcoming Charles d’Albret despite all the odds being in Charles’ (Ray T’s) favour. I may claim Aquitaine while I’m about it.

    Thanks to Raity and Dharma Of The Dumnonii.

    1. If I read nothing else, I have to read your comments for my daily entertainment! Love you Terence.

  18. Enjoyable – and, I stress for me, on the easier side of the RayT spectrum – 2* / 4*
    Faves are 8d and 24d
    Thanks to setter and hinter

  19. To quote Richie Benaud, what a great challenge that was.

    Ray T at his best with my COTD being 7d – beautifully constructed.

    The 16d/17d/23a/28a comby took me an age to get but, once I got 23a, the rest fell into place.

    An extremely satisfying solve.



  20. Super puzzle, and for me one of the more testing backpagers of recent times. Tremendously enjoyable, and for me the MiDs were 21a, 3d, 7d, 20d & 24d, with COTD 17d. Good to see the former ‘Er Majesty still making an appearance!

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks indeed to RayT & to StephenL

  21. I always find RayT difficult and today was no different, though I think I did quite well, considering! I was DNF in the SE, three unsolved, but I did need ehelp about halfway through to get going again. It’s Thursday so you expect trickier offerings, in any case, the difficulty of this guzzle was an inspiration for Terence’s glorious comment above, so all’s right with the world.
    Thanks RayT, I’ll get your wavelength yet, and to StephenL for unravelling so much.

  22. Gratifying to finish unaided
    Albeit, after a considerable struggle
    Especially with 16 and 17d
    Though, thoroughly doable throughout.
    Crowded podium,
    28a COTD by a nose.
    So, 4*/5*
    Many thanks RayT and StephenL.

  23. Yet another brilliant puzzle off the Mr T production line with his typically concise and accurate clueing. Trying to pick a winner is nigh on impossible, but my trusty pin landed on 23a.

    Thanks to Ray and SL.

  24. This was definitely a tough RayT puzzle today for me. Lots of head scratching and hair pulling.

    3*/3* for me

    Favourites included 12a, 15a, 28a, 16d & 17d with winner 15a
    New word for me in 18a

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL for blog/hints

  25. A lovely Ray T crossword – not too tricky by his standard and the long answer all the way across the top is always a good start.
    I wasn’t too sure about 6d – thought I’d gone wrong with the last letter until everything else ‘works’.
    Along with lots of other people I had trouble with 23a.
    So many good clues to pick from including 10 and 23a and 7 and 16d. My favourite was 15a.
    Thanks to Ray T for today’s crossword and to SL.

  26. The epitome of excellence from Ray T. Great clues, a decent challenge and a very enjoyable solve. Joint favourites of a fine collection: 18a and 23a. 3.5*/4.5*.

    1. If you’re going to have two favourites, I suggest you don’t post directly under Kath!

        1. There’s “nowt summit wrong wiv yer grammar” other than I don’t think it’s right to use more than one more favourite – favourite is a superlative therefore only can be one.
          Oh dear – here we go again . . . .

          1. Thanks, Kath. I do know that – I was just using very prevalent informal/colloquial language.

  27. A Ray T Thursday with a Silvanas Toughie – happy days. I found this a bit trickier than usual but still plenty of this setter’s fun and wit. 28a caused me the most head scratching – I was determined to use the odd letters of ‘meaning’ until I belatedly realised I’d mixed up the definition. 18a was a new word for me but clear from the wordplay luckily. COTD 9a for the surface ***/****

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL

  28. Super guzzle. I’m blaming the reluctance of one or two pennies to drop (23&28a) on solving it on the mobile while wearing sunglasses rather than a foggy brain. Pick any number as worthy podium contenders but it’s probably a coin toss between those head scratchers for fav. The former reminded me it’s been a while since I watched John Boorman’s magnificent film, Deliverance.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Stephen

  29. Above my pay grade today. I might have done better had I had a good night’s sleep, but I was too busy fretting about a possible skin/eye infection, which then elevated my blood pressure. Oh, the pleasures of growing old 😊. Tackled this in the waiting room at the ophthalmologist this morning and struggled to fill in the gaps. Good news, eye is fine, and rosy cheek abating. Bad news, my solving left much to be desired. But I’m not beating myself up as I think this is a Ray T and I rarely get on his wavelength.

  30. Tough for me today. A real struggle.
    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL.

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


  32. Good evening
    Made it in the end, but my word, it was a stretch! Particularly liked the misdirection in 23a, and I had to allow myself a “Crikey!” when I finally unravelled 28a and 17d.
    Many thanks to Ray T and Stephen L

  33. Very late on parade today because Mrs C and I went out for lunch. It was a pub we frequented a few years back but we were slightly disappointed. The food has deteriorated. I asked for fish and chips but the fish was small and the chips? There must have been three large spuds!
    Our lunch cost us £75.
    We will not be going back.
    I wish The Moors Inn were closer.

    What about the puzzle I hear you ask. It took me a while but got there in the end. I loved the charmless politician and that is my COTD.

    RIP, Tina. We will not see your like again. To me, this is the best version of Come Together other than The Beatles.

      1. I rescued the main comment but using my tablet it isn’t as easy to work out why you went into moderation as it would be on the computer

        1. No problem, CS. As I said above, I didn’t give time for the video to upload. Thanks for help.👍

  34. Rather enjoyed this challenge which was made all the more satisfying to know I’d solved a RayT offering.

    Needed the hints to parse a few in the south, but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment.

    Thanks to all.

  35. I started off ok slowed down and then ground to a halt. I managed to stumble over the line eventually. My excuse is that I’ve been a bit distracted recently as my last remaining dog has been in pain the last few days, took me two days to get a vets appointment he’s now now on painkillers and he’s finally eaten something, no definitive diagnosis though. Back to the crossword favourite was 15a. Thanks to Rayt for the challenge and SL.

    1. Oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear. You say your last remaining dog, that must be so sad. Please keep us UTD.

      1. He’s only 5 going on 6. He’s not entirely right even with the painkillers but much improved. Thank you for your concern.

  36. 3.5/4.0 …..
    liked 24D ” Initially intelligent? No, alas, not exactly! (5)” … amongst others.

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