DT 30312 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30312

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30312

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hola from Almoradí where we’ve been having quite a bit of rain and cool temperatures over the last couple of weeks. I think the weather has been better in the UK, which often happens in May.  Still, forecast to have normal service back by the end of the week.

Today’s puzzle is well up to the usual Monday standard.  There’s a few gimmes to give you a good start but there’s also a few tricky little rascals so I’ve gone for *** difficulty. I’ll be interested to see who agrees and who thinks it was a breeze.

As usual my podium three are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Loud turn in reality (4)
FACT:  The letter for loud in music followed by a turn or performance.

3a           They may be on the dinner table also, with most of the choices (10)
TOOTHPICKS:  Another word for also followed by TH (most of THe) and then a word for some choices.

9a           One running the kitchen‘s hurt sacking a female (4)
CHEF:  Start with a word for hurt and remove the A (sacking A) and follow with an F(emale).  This wasn’t Lenny Henry’s most popular programme but I liked it.

10a        Judge right to enter diabolical abattoir by river (10)
ARBITRATOR:  You need an anagram (diabolical) of ABATTOIR and insert an R (R(ight) to enter) and then put another R on the end (by R(iver)).

11a        New rules do in place of pilgrimage (7)
LOURDES:  Anagram (new) of RULES DO.

13a        Numbers grow while outside (7)
AMOUNTS:  A word meaning to grow has a two letter word meaning while placed around it (outside).

14a        Reportedly what King Harold did in Scottish town (4,7)
FORT WILLIAM:  This Scottish town sounds like what Harold did at the Battle of Hastings.  This one made me smile when the penny dropped!

18a        Left loose gown in travel bag (11)
PORTMANTEAU:  The nautical term for left followed by a loose cloak or gown.  Pretty obscure gown if you ask me!

21a        Attempt to deceive Greek god concealing last of many (3,2,2)
TRY IT ON:  Put a Greek god, son of Poseidon, around (concealing) a Y (last of manY) and then split it all (3,2,2)

22a        Consumer after second wide top (7)
SWEATER:  Another word for a consumer, of food perhaps, placed after S(econd) and W(ide) to get something you wear on the top part of your body.

23a        See 7 Down

24a        Phoned some dealer angrily (4)
RANG:  A lurker hiding in (some) the last two words.

25a        Deal an effective blow, refuse to work in the house (6,4)
STRIKE HOME:  A word for refuse to work followed by a word for in the house.

26a        Household cat perhaps catching small mouse? (4)
PEST:  What the household cat is an example of placed around (catching) an S(mall).


1d           Fine expert to take up cosmetic surgery? (8)
FACELIFT:  A charade of F(ine), a word for an expert and a word meaning to take up as in to raise.

2d           Draughts in country house retreat (8)
CHEQUERS:  Double definition. Another name for the board game draughts is also the name of the PM’s country retreat.

4d           Man-eating monsters rose unsteadily after swallowing gallons (5)
OGRES:  Anagram (unsteadily) of ROSE around (swallowing) a G(allons).  I didn’t know Shrek was a man-eater!

5d           Form of loyalty in bar limits changes (9)
TRIBALISM:  Anagram (changes) of BAR LIMITS.

6d           Show, unavoidably, must involve staff (11)
PERFORMANCE:  This is show as in an act or turn.  You need another word for unavoidably placed around (must involve) a word meaning to staff.

7d & 23 Across   Play that of coronation anew (3,2,1,3,3,4)

8d           Fancy woman not having married, I repeat (6)
STRESS:  You need a word for a fancy woman or bit on the side and remove (not having) the M(arried) and the I.

12d        Drink with father, fast one, in Ulster town (11)
DOWNPATRICK:  A word for to drink followed by the usual father and then a fast one as in a con.

15d        Former PM, and master bridge player (4,5)
LORD NORTH:  Another word for your master and one of the four bridge players.

16d        Legal precedent created by playing cassette (4,4)
TEST CASE:  Anagram (created by playing) of CASSETTE.

17d        Completely unacceptable claim (8)
OUTRIGHT:  A word for unacceptable or not on and a claim.

19d        Restless desires of enchantresses heading off (6)
ITCHES:  Some enchantresses without their first letter (heading off).

20d        Part of Savoy’s terms for shellfish (6)
OYSTER:  A lurker hiding in (part of) Savoy’s terms.

22d        Outburst, the result of short report ending in criticism (5)
STORM:  A report or tale without its last letter (short) and then an M (ending in criticisM).

My podium today is 9a, 14a and 26a  with 14a on the top step.

Quick crossword puns:

Top line:       RIDGE     +     HOIST     =     REJOICED

Bottom line:      ASSET     +     EIGHT     =     ACETATE

95 comments on “DT 30312

  1. This was a great start to the week but I still feel Campbell is slightly harder than he used to be. That, of course, is likely to be down to me and the fact a few more grey cells have probably snuffed it. The only one I’m not sure about is 17d.I get the “completely” bit but I’m not sure where “unacceptable claim” comes into it. No doubt the hints will explain it. My COTD is 2d with its wonderful surface.

    My thanks to Campbell for the fun challenge. Thanks to pommers for the hints.

    Thank you to all of you who sent good wishes for my appointment yesterday to assess the growth on my cheek. In case my post yesterday was not seen, the consultant thinks it is totally innocent but it is being biopsied in two week’s time just to be sure.

    Another beautiful day in The Marches so the garden beckons.

    1. Very happy for you. I’m “the gift that keeps on giving” for my dermatologist, so I understand how you feel.

    2. Thank you all. I will let you know the result of the biopsy. In the meantime, let our thoughts and prayers be with those of our merry band who have more serious problems.

  2. 2*/4*. Very nice start indeed to the week.

    I’m sure some will not like the homophone, but 14a was my runaway favourite with 26a & 2d joining it on the podium.

    The only thing I needed to check was the loose gown in 18a which was a new word for me.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to pommers.

    1. Even for me it was a homophone , so long as I pretend to be English or a Bostonian.

    2. Thing is though, like so many of these Telegraph clues by (I presume) southern English compositors, this was NOT a homophone in Scottish English. I mean, I got it, but only when I had filled in a bunch of other letters. They are objectively different vowels! My English husband has no sympathy, so I come on here to complain.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Philippa. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.
        It’s not just the Scots who don’t think the 14a ‘homophone’ works at all. There are millions in England who can tell the difference between fort and fought, poor and paw, etc. I’ve been going on about it for years but, as you say, most compilers seem to come from SE England so I’ve learnt that we just have to put up with it.

        1. I know that 14a can be pronounced differently by different areas and different countries, but what an excellent chance for Campbell to give us such a classic clue! I had a huge guffaw, very clever.

      2. Philippa,
        Welcome from me as well.

        The homophone doesn’t work in Canada either but I like to think of it as an opportunity to enjoy a penny drop moment that is denied to those in SE England.

      3. ” English accents around the world are frequently characterized as either rhotic or non-rhotic. Most accents in England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa are non-rhotic accents, and in those English dialects, the historical English phoneme /r/ is pronounced except after a vowel.” Google search.
        Personally I cringe slightly when non rhotic English speakers pronounce the country where I come from : Ireland as Island.
        Londoners are pretty much all non rhotic and for that reason I sometimes find it a struggle to understand what is being said.Americans are all rhotic except Bostonians , think how JFK spoke.

        1. I always pronounce Ireland with the R. It would be insulting not to and I have a friend who comes from County Kerry who is very large and would keep me on the straight and narrow.. He teaches Gaelic in Dublin.
          Anyway, I thought the name of the place was Eire.

          1. Glad to read that pommers.I can speak a limited Gaelic .But “Ta ceile mile failte duit im mbaile fein” should you ever leave the Sunny penisula.And it is only Eire on the postage stamps.

    3. I don’t understand all this. FORT and FOUGHT are pronounced identically where I come from, and that’s Manchester so nothing to do with SE England.

      1. I “thought” that they were both pronounced in the same way … but I come from Essex.

  3. Light and good fun, a one cup of tea puzzle.
    26 was topical for me (just got rid of one) but my podium is 14a plus 15d with top spot going to the clever 8d despite the somewhat dated lady in the surface read.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers

    1. Strangely, some of our MPs don’t seem to find them out dated , Stephen 🤭

  4. A very enjoyable start to the week, rather more challenging than we might expect on a Monday, though the last few weeks have similarly tough and that’s OK with me. No doubt some will comment on the degree of GK required but all were very fairly clued and you know what you know! It’s a toss up for my ONE favourite today between 3a and 14a, and the winner is 14a – very clever and amusing. I also liked 18a, 2d and 12d. Thanks to Campbell for enlivening my Monday morning and pommers for his comments.

  5. An interesting and absorbing puzzle with a tricky NE corner. I teally enjoyed the variety of clue types , anagrams and the way i which Campbell invves General Knowledge. I loved the geographical clues, particularly 12d and 14a and the play combination clue 7d/223a. However, COTD is the cunning 9a, although it took ages for the ptd. Thanks to Campbell for a well balanced guzzle and to Pommers for the hints.

  6. This is my first puzzle or comment for a few days as I finally caught Covid after three years of dodging a bullet. Given the complete lack of energy, hunger or brainpower it produced in me, one can only imagine what it would have been like to catch it in the early days before inoculations and knowledge became widespread.

    As for the puzzle, typically Campbellesque but a tad harder than usual, or so it felt to me. There was only one possible winner, the excellent 14a.

    Thanks to our double punner and pommers.

    1. I am glad to see you are on the mend.
      For the last 3 years I mixed with 900 pupils and a lot of teachers , one quarter of whom were out with covid at any time from November to Easter, so I got a few light doses.
      The worst dose I got was when driving with my husband on a longish drive.Confined to bed for about 3 days.But as you say , it would have been worse without the several vaccines.

    2. It is still snapping at our heels. For 20 years a friend and I have run a fundraising safari supper travelling round the village, different courses in different houses and you never meet the same people twice. Covid stopped that for 3 years but we decided to do a ‘moveable feast’ next Saturday in the Hall. Complicated table plan with a move after each course. My friend came back from a cruise on Saturday and tested positive on Sunday so now the whole thing hangs on me! I’m having kittens. It’s going to be a disaster. However, I am sure you will be fighting fit soon and as you say, thank goodness for the vaccines.

      1. I remember in my misspent youth when we did the same, dinner at different houses, but we used horses as transport to avoid drinking and driving! Loads of fun.

        1. Oh Merusa I would have loved to have done that! Only problem, I hadn’t got a horse! We well remember doing the Safari suppers!

          1. Our houses in the country were widely spaced, most a mile or two apart, so walking wasn’t optional. However, I’m not sure, in my advanced years, what such a good idea it was.

  7. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: a little more like he used to be – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 1d, 6d, 8d, and 12d – and the winner is 6d for the delightful synonym of ‘unavoidably.’

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  8. 14a quite brilliant. I started off very slowly with this one but it was a pure joy to complete. I expect there will be whinges about the Ulster town but I googled a map of Ulster and there it was. Thanks to the setter and Pommers – it looks as if everyone has warm sunshine – not so here where there is a very chilly wind.

  9. Great puzzle, which progressed quite quickly and with 14a my star turn, maybe only just a 3* ? No mysterious or ancient and obscure answers either!
    Thanks to setter.

  10. Fun whilst it lasted, a useful addition to my knowledge of loose gowns.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers.

  11. Enjoyable Monday fare – thanks to Campbell and pommers (and thanks for the Battle of Hastings monologue which I’d not heard before).
    My ticks went to 26a, 2d and 6d.

  12. Always feel Campbell’s are an excellent tutorial.
    Good surfaces and so much variety in the clueing.
    Big smile at 14a.
    Last in 13a after too long fixating on medicines and drugs.
    Pushed me into a solid * time.
    COTD the super Lego 12d
    Thanks, Campbell and pommers, especially for Elizabeth Taylor.

  13. A goldilocks puzzle, not too hard and not too easy which was perfect after a long weekend celebrating a birthday (not mine) and having my delightful little grand daughter , over from London, to hold and cuddle.
    12d is my COTD, though I liked 2d also.
    Thanks to pommers and Campbell.

  14. Tough for me, as Campbell’s usually are.
    But plenty to enjoy too.
    Needed help with 13a …just could not see it and was going down the anaesthetic route.
    Couldn’t parse 9a or 22d, but see them now.

    14a was one in the eye for us Scots.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers

  15. An interesting and enjoyable guzzle. I do agree that Monday’s challenge is tougher these days.

    I could never have a ‘fancy woman’ (don’t blame me for the terminology!). I simply don’t have the reserves of energy. Occasionally one reads these stories of a fellow who has kept two families running for thirty years on opposite sides of the same town, only to be found out when he finally falls off the perch. How exhausting!
    In addition, I am the world’s worst fibber. I would never get away with it. “As I was saying to Dorothy yesterday when we were in bed…No! Not Dorothy! There is no Dorothy! I mean as I was saying to Rupert yesterday when we were on the golf course in Dorking… No not Dorking! Sunningdale!”
    I would be found out in under five minutes.
    Plus I already have the best gal in the universe so why look elsewhere?

    Thanks to Campbell and The Señor from Almoradí.

    1. I agree Terence. Whenever I have thought, “0h I won’t tell Peter that” – always something innocuous I hasten to add – I would not be in the house for 5 minutes before I would tell him 😊.

  16. I will join the praise for 14a a lovely clue and a lovely place too. Currently enjoying a cup of tea and a Fat Rascal in Smylers home branch of Bettys

      1. I have no wish to return to the debate but, to me, jam is a spread and cream is a topping therefore…… :smile:

        1. My inner glutton would squash both halves together and eat in one but that is not acceptable behaviour in Betty’s or Mama Bee’s eyes

  17. Are toothpicks really found today on the dinner table? In Downtown days perhaps but now?
    Politics with Lord North and Chequers? Such a refreshing change from 8d!
    COTD? Probably 14a

    1. Neither are separate plates provided for dentures. Dentures were for appearance only and could not be used for chewing so they were put on the plate during the meal. This is why false teeth are often down as “plates”.

  18. A jolly romp through the grid today – thanks Campbell. COTD for me was 8d as it felt slightly naughty and un-PC. I agree with Terence – having a ‘bit on the side’ would be exhausting. Plus with my every move now trackable via Find My iPhone, and my every purchase traceable via credit card and bank statements in this new non-cash world, I could never hide an affair from the wonderful Mrs PB. Thanks to pommers for the hints.

  19. A fun puzzle with a wide variety of clues, but as do think trickier than Mondays used to be. I think I would now not be able to confidently tell a novice to start on Monday puzzles. A check on a map of Ireland was needed to confirm 12d. 14a was clever and my favourite but the whole puzzle was satisfying to finish.

    It was windy and abit chilly earlier but now the sun is out and it is warm so more outside jobs to do.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Pommers for the explanations

  20. All very enjoyable with minimal head scratching required though the loose gown unfamiliar to me. Last in,like yesterday, was the 6 letter one at 8d but unlike then when I needed Senf’s help to cross the line the wordplay dawned on me. Another vote for 14a as fav with ticks also for 3a plus 6&12d.
    Thanks to Campbell & Pommers.
    Ps pleased to hear Steve’s report. Let’s hope likewise from Charleston

  21. Rather late in today but enjoyed this offering from our Monday man. Favourite by a mile was 14a with 1&6d taking silver and bronze.

    Thanks to Campbell and to pommers for the review and video clips – laughed at the ‘Arold one!

    Update from Robert C. – he was allowed to leave hospital on Friday and tells me that he got home just in time to watch a baseball game on TV before retiring to bed for the best night’s sleep he’s had in a long while. He’s now got to get to grips with what he refers to as some ‘New Realities’, mostly on the medical front, but I don’t have any other details as yet. Just relieved that he’s home – and I should think he feels the same way!

    1. Thanks for the update, Jane. It’s good to hear that Robert is home, and I hope he will feel up to joining us again soon on the blog. We miss his erudition and wit.

    2. That’s nigh on a record on the hope front for me – ask & it arrives 14mins later. Good to hear

      1. I only heard from him yesterday evening so this is the first chance I’ve had to pass on the news. He’s really grateful that so many blog folk have sent him their best wishes. Made me smile that his first thought when getting home was to watch a baseball game!

        1. It’s great to learn that Robert is home. Hope he will now continue to improve – he is obviously so courageous and his Comments are always erudite and have been much missed by me recently.

          1. Ive been absent from the blog as I’ve been behind with the crosswords but I was going to ask if there was any news of Robert. I enjoy his posts and always feel a connection with him due to the enjoyable tile he spent at Nottingham University.

    3. Thank you, Jane. It’s wonderful to hear that Robert is home – it is the best place to be. I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to reading his contributions again.

    4. That is, indeed, good news. Hospitals are the worst place to be if you’re not feeling up to snuff. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.

      1. Thanks Jane, I’m glad he’s out of hospital and can enjoy all the things associated with home, his own bed, a favourite meal, his beloved badeball. Hang on in there Robert.

  22. Thought this Monday Campbell offering a little trickier than last week, but not into the toughie realm at all.

    1.5*/3.5* for me as I solved this on a very pleasant Sunday evening in the garden with the water fountains in soothing trickling action and the hanging baskets blooming and growing well to look at … and still at 21c at 8:30pm

    Favourites include 10a, 14a, 21a, 2d & 7d/23a — with winner a real toss up between 14a & 2d … both excellent clues IMHO

    Lots of great clues in this Monday offering and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers for hints/blog

  23. I agree with you all that this was a pleasure, varied and amusing and clever. 14a seems to be the favourite, with 2&8d and 10,11& 26a all stars, and some delicious anagrams. George went to Campbell and knows all the Ulster names so that was useful too. Nice Quickie puns, joy all round. Many thanks to Setter & Hinter, nice to hear good medical news and heartening to know that Terence does not have an 8d tucked away, although of course there was Lola……….

  24. Good fun, enough additional bite to extend the enjoyment factor. Some very clever clueing, especially 8d & the anagram of 7d/23a, but for me COTD was 14a.

    2 / 3

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Pommers

  25. Great start to the week, ***/**** for me. LOI was 17 down, couldn’t see it even with 4 checkers. So pushed me into ***time. Otherwise everything went in smoothly, partly thanks to hubby who told me DownPatrick is a town in Ireland! Didn’t know that!🫢.
    Many thanks to Campbell for a great start to the week and Pommers for the hints.

  26. I’m with pommers and it’s 3* difficulty and not a breeze today! I always have trouble on Mondays and today is no different.
    I liked 14a (everyone does!) and 18a and 12d. My favourite was 8d.
    Thanks to Campbell for the crossword and to pommers for the hints.

  27. I agree with those who feel Mondays are not the walk in the park they used to be and Campbell’s offering today was quite challenging but fun nevertheless. Long time since I have seen 3a on a dining table! A 22a IMHO is something rather more substantial than that in the hint illustration! In line with several other bloggers my Fav is 14a. Thank you Campbell and pommers.

  28. Nice challenge not too taxing. I struggled with 6d as could not parse although the synonym was a giveaway. Having filled it in I misspelled it until I got 13a. All’s well that ends well. I had no trouble with the travel bag but it is now a word I hear in connection with word rather than bag. I’ve used quite a few 16d in my time. Favourites 14 and 21a and 2 8 and 12d. It was not necessary to know the names of the towns as still solvable. Thanks Campbell and Pommers.

  29. I haven’t finished reading the comments but I must get my groceries ordered so they can be delivered before my pool time. I enjoyed this much more than past Campbell’s offerings. That said, I finished this with only help to look up the loose gown at 18a, I like learning new things. There was some really clever stuff but no contest, 14a was top of the heap, with 2d and 7d following close behind.
    Thanks Campbell, lots of fun today, let’s have more like that, and thanks to pommers for unravelling some, eg. 13a!

    1. I think « loose gown » is a little misleading. Manteau is French for cloak of which the English version is mantle. Port is from the French verb porter – to carry rather than how we usually come across it in cryptic crosswords. Portmanteau has come to mean in English a word in which two others are put together to make one eg motel – motor hotel.

  30. I have to say I prefer it when Campbell provides something a tad less tricky on a Monday, but after having failed abysmally with yesterday’s Dada, I was very pleased to be able to complete this mostly unaided. It was my GK that let me down, not knowing the Ulster town or the 9a TV show. But chuffed that I did remember the 7d film. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  31. The more I see of Campbell puzzles, the more I dislike them and today is no exception.
    Thx for the h8ntd

  32. 2/4. Splendid puzzle. My favourites were 14&18a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  33. I really enjoyed today’s puzzle. Some clues came easily; others took a bit of head scratching. Having said that 26a caught me out! One of those pesky 4 letter clues! Many thanks to Campbell and the Pommers.
    Thanks to Jane for the update on Robert. May you be back with us soon Robert. Take good care.

  34. Good evening
    An enjoyable solve this afty, hampered only by my inability to tell the number 11 from the number 13, leading me to write 11a’s solution in 13a’s space…🙄
    Thank you Campbell and Pommers

  35. Top puzzle, just right for a Monday with a perfect difficulty curve IMO. A fair bit of GK but all accessible for me at least. 18a is something I’d never heard of until I started crosswords but seems a pretty regular occurrence recently. Though both the Ulster town and the cape were new words for me. I liked 9a which I thought had a great surface, 3a was a super lego but the clever 14a held the podium */****

    There was talk above (comment@6) of the dreaded lurgy. I find it fascinating how it affects different people differently; no-one in my family has ever caught it!

    Thanks to Campbell and pommers 👏

  36. Needed the hint to parse 3a. Hadn’t heard of the loose gown or the Ulster town, hey ho. Cotd obviously 14a. Thanks to Campbell and Pommers.

  37. Those who are lacking the official Toughie on a Monday can look here for it.

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