DT 30337 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30337

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30337
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **  –  Enjoyment ***

A slightly cooler start to the day here in Harpenden but it looks like it’s due to warm up before too long. Still no sign of the rain we desperately need.

Most I suspect will find today’s guzzle (Mr Plumb I assume) a reasonably straightforward affair with maybe the odd parsing head scratch. As ever there are plenty of single letter deletions & insertions in the wordplay together with some rather neat surface reads.

In the following hints, definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual. Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle.


1a This could make you water lawn earliest for a change
ARTESIAN WELL: an anagram (for a change) of LAWN EARLIEST

9a Somewhere in Germany Italian turns a large key (9)
ESSENTIAL: start with the second largest city in the Ruhr district (somewhere in Germany) then add a reversal (turns) of the two letter abbreviation for Italian, the A from the clue & the single letter for large

10a Admit American avarice has no end (5)
AGREE: the single letter for American plus a synonym for avarice without the final letter (has no end)

11a A new promise to leave a reply (6)
ANSWER: start with the A from the clue & the single letter for new then append a synonym for promise less (to leave) the second A

12a Check river in China (8)
MODERATE: insert a central European river into another word for china as in cockney rhyming slang

13a Judge’s former exercises in front of court (6)
EXPECT: begin with the usual term for former then add (in front of) a two letter acronym for exercises (most people’s fav lesson in school) before an abbreviation for court

15a Friendly hunk in conversation with female university student (9)
PEACEFUL: Kick off with a homophone (in conversation) of hunk in the context of portion of & append the single letter abbreviations for the last 3 words in the clue

18a Flipping leaves covering spades making you anxious (8)
STRESSED: reverse (flipping) a synonym for leaves as in departure & insert the single letter for spades (cards)

19a Worked hard John almost died (6)
TOILED: a shortened (almost) name for a john – the slang apparently derives from the chap who invented the flusher that he called Ajax. Append the single letter for died

21a Footwear person hasn’t got on after fall  (8)
SLIPPERS: needed a head scratch to see this one. Start with a synonym for fall then (after) append person from the wordplay less the last two letters (hasn’t got on)

23a Find the Parisian hugging old Tom ? (6)
LOCATE: place (hugging) the French for the definite article around the single letter for old & a male cat

26a In cage, a gerbil’s hungry (5)
EAGER: a lurker (in) contained within the three words preceding the definition

27a Skills from sailor – one initially learning intricate knots (9)
ABILITIES: start with the usual two letters for a sailor plus the letter represented by one (roman numeral) then add the first letters (initially) of learning & intricate from the wordplay. Finally append a synonyms for knots.

28a Cuckoo nest he reveals has no adult yet (12)
NEVERTHELESS: an anagram (cuckoo) of NEST HE REVE(a)LS minus (has no) the single letter for adult

1d Declare silver base is mediocre (7)
AVERAGE: start with a synonym for declare then add the chemical symbol for silver & then the single letter for base

2d Tense requests for jobs (5)
TASKS: the single letter for tense plus a synonym for requests

3d What’s given to rascals for wrongdoings? Lines (9)
SENTENCES: a double definition (I think) – the first in the context of a judicial ruling. If caught talking in prep at boarding school (age 10) the punishment was 200 lines – One ought not to be intoxicated by the exuberance of one’s own verbosity

4d Greedy prima donna’s upset (4)
AVID: reverse (upset) a word for a prima donna

5d Pace bowler’s six balls producing easy win (8)
WALKOVER: a nicely misleading surface & nowt to do with the quicks. A synonym for pace then add the term for the bowler’s six balls

6d Let Liberal rest (5)
LEASE: add the single letter for Liberal to a synonym of rest

7d Terrible fraud led astray
DREADFUL: an anagram of the middle two words in the clue but not necessarily obvious which is the indicator (in this case it’s astray)

8d Show ire wanting starter with meat (6)
REVEAL: remove the initial letter (wanting starter) from ire in the clue & add a meat – perfect with spag bol

14d It could be breakfast time (8)
PORRIDGE: another double definition (maybe) – the first the choice of many in the winter months & the second what Norman Stanley Fletcher served in Slade Prison


16d Reptile coiled oddly around most of boulder (9)
CROCODILE: place an anagram (oddly) of COILED around a shortened (most of) word for a boulder. Never smile at one..

17d Reduce diet regularly and stop eating rubbish primarily (8)
DECREASE: start with the alternative letters (regularly) of diet then append a synonym of stop have inserted into it the first letter (eating primarily) of rubbish

18d Hospital worker is cutting sternums half off (6)
SISTER: insert (cutting) is from the wordplay into the first half of sternums

20d Doctor with troubles losing 1,000 bandages (7)
DRESSES: the usual two letter for doctor followed by a synonym (not immediately obvious to me) for troubles less (losing) it’s initial letter represented by the roman numeral for 1,000

22d Get rid of page with egg on (5)
PURGE: the single letter for page is followed by a word for egg on in the sense of encourage

24d Put up with a US president baselessly (5)
ABIDE: begin with the A from the clue then add the present incumbent of the Oval Office less (baselessly) the last letter of his name

25d Record from Hungarian piano virtuoso on the radio (4)
LIST: a homophone (on the radio) to finish. Little did he know he’d be forever coupled with Brahms to describe a state of intoxication

28a was my favourite today for the anagram indicator which neatly fitted the surface read. I had a number of ticks elsewhere – 15,19&27a along with 5,7&17d. Also rather liked the 3&14d combo. Which ones hit the mark for you ?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: BAG+ AGE+ CZECH = BAGGAGE CHECK

67 comments on “DT 30337
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  1. Another enjoyable guzzle that needed a certain amount of pondering here and there. My last in was 12a because I had totally forgotten that particular use of the word “China”. This made me toy with porcelain and other forms of ceramic ware for ages until the fog cleared and realisation dawned. I have four contenders for the top spot – 21a, 23a, 14d and 17d – but Kath says I can only have one COTD so I will choose 14d.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun challenge. Thank you, Huntsman for the hints, which I will now read.

    We have had rain in The Marches but not nearly enough for the plants.

  2. 2*/4*. Light and fun, as we have come to expect on a Tuesday with 1a, 21a, 27a, 5d & 14d my top picks.

    Many thanks to the setter (Mr Plumb?) and to Huntsman.

  3. I found this very gentle but good fun even though there seemed to be a lot of single letters/abbreviations in the wordplay.
    I enjoyed the anagram at 1a and smiled at the hard-working John at 19a and the image of the doddery president at 24d.
    Many thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

    Ps I can highly recommend a not overly difficult Donnybrook Toughie today.

    1. Agreed – the Donny Toughie certainly isn’t & is great fun. Well worth a look for those who don’t normally venture there.

    2. Thanks, I already printed up today’s Toughie as Tuesday is sometimes doable, and hope to tackle it later.

  4. 14D for me too, a funny clue and a nice reminder of a very funny series. Nice puzzle.

    Many thanks setter and Huntsman.

  5. Another fun Tuesday – interesting to see how the setters find different clues for the same words. The answers to both 18a (this one sometimes reversed) and 28a have come up a few times recently. I particularly liked the clueing for 28a today, but my fave of the day was 21a. I only really appreciated how clever it was when I read Huntsman’s hints and realised I hadn’t fully parsed it first time round. Thanks to the setter, thanks to Huntsman.

  6. Had a problem parsing 12a too. The work “check” misled me into thinking that a chess term was involved until I saw the light.

    Only had the last letter of 9a initially and thought we were going to get a different German city for a change, but no, it was the crossword favourite 10 miles north. (Spent much time in an ammunition depot in this area many moons ago).

    Favourites today are 12a for delaying the solve, 14d and 22d. COTD 12a.

    Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  7. Reasonably straightforward, as our blogger says, but good fun. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman (who’s really cracked this hinting lark).
    My medals are pinned on 19a, 5d and 22d.

      1. Yes, I’m rooting for you on that 😊. But as I could never in my wildest dreams solve and hint for everyone else, I cannot complain.

  8. Very gentle, but very enjoyable – great variety of clue types, good surfaces for the particularly clever anagrams at 1a and 28a, lots of humour throughout – loved most of the surface reads but especially 10a, 15a, 18a & 5d. COTD by a distance to 21a.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks both to the Setter and to Huntsman

    SteveC – re your comment yesterday “Please don’t dismiss Asian food so lightly. Prepared properly by expert chefs it is a delight. Indian takeaway outlets do not do the cuisine justice.”

    So very true! And even more so of “Chinese” food, where what is available from a takeaway is almost a different cuisine altogether.

    For such vast countries, with such a huge range of cooking styles, histories, and ingredients, it almost feels wrong to simply refer to the food as being “Indian” or “Chinese”, even though it is such a useful shorthand.


    1. Agree on Chinese fare. Spent a couple of weeks touring parts of that huge country and the meals were unbelievably good. Won’t touch takeaways here any more.

      1. Agree, I’ve never been a fan of Chinese food, but on a trip to Hong Kong (when it was still British) we took a boat ride across to the island of Cheung Chau and had the most delicious fish lunch ever. The boat ride there was a little concerning as we leapt aboard just before it left the dock, and we were much longer in the South China Sea than expected. We began to worry that we had got on the wrong boat, and as we were the only tourists on board, we had no one to ask. It was with great relief when we docked at that lovely little island.

    2. Also agreed, having travelled in Pakistan and China, ‘Asian food’ in non-Asian countries is not even close to the real thing but ‘tailored’ to the palates of those countries.

      I recall, in my early days serving HM, a group of us went to a ‘Chinese’ restaurant in Grantham. There was a Malaysian member of our group who had made all the arrangements with the restaurant. What we were served was not available on the menu.

  9. Then I am having a bad day! I made very heavy weather of this and was sure it would be a 3 for difficulty! But I did get it done in the end.
    Thanks to the setter.

  10. An enjoyable guzzle, with a few head-scratchers to keep us guessing. There were a few great anagrams, 1a and 25a notably and a clever use of geographical GK at 12a but my COTD cis the double defibition at14d like a few others. Thanks to Huntsman for the hints and to our Tuesday compiler. Its cooler and overcast here in Wantage but no sign of rain yet ( fortunately we have ad one good storm and a few thundery showers so only the ‘lawn’clooks a bit desperate).

  11. Everything was going swimmingly until 12a. I got so hung up on China being anything but the cockney slang. Except for 12a – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 1d, and 22d – and the winner is 22d.

    Thanks to, almost certainly, Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

    Ditto on StephenL’s recommendation on the Donnybrook Toughie.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyed this gentle Tuesday offering. Top half went in easily but the bottom was more of a challenge. I always struggle when all the checking letters are vowels, as in 12 and 27a. I never cease to marvel at the number of ways setters can clue 28a. Today’s was particularly apposite -a brilliant surface read Today my favourite was 27a, just my sort of clue. Podium places go to 1a ( an anagram, unusually for me, but a well constructed clue) 23a and 14d. Thanks to the compiler for the pleasure and Huntsman for showing me the parsing of 15a.

  13. 14d my pick from this enjoyable romp through crosswordland this damp morning. Waiting for the outfield to dry out at New Road Worcester so the match can resume. A bit concerned about the weather prospects for Thursday in London as we have tickets for Lord’s. I know the SE needs rain but could it wait until the weekend please?

    Many thanks to our setter for the fun, and to Huntsman.

        1. Hi Gazza. Thanks for the welcome and for asking. I am fairly new to solving cryptic crosswords, so this blog is a real help. This crossword took a while, but I managed most of it armed with a dictionary and found it entertaining. I am still a little uncomfortable with 20d, but am reassured to see that it wasn’t immediately obvious to Huntsman (thanks for the hints Huntsman). Overall, if it was accessible to me, it was definitely not a Toughie. I know some people prefer the back pager to be harder. I wonder why the Telegraph doesn’t have an entry level cryptic like the Times does? Perhaps if there was one there would be less ‘friction’, for want of a better word, about the degree of difficulty of the back page, which seems to have cropped occasionally lately.

          1. Many years ago someone (who shall be nameless) called a particularly simple back page crossword “entry level”. I suspect that would have given a bad reputation (however a good idea it was probably intended)
            Sorry Gazza – I’ve barged in and pinched your comment – apologies! :smile:

            1. Thanks Kath. I suspect it may be that a bit of apprehension arises amongst some of the experienced when less experienced people say they find a puzzle hard. I saw someone asking a commenter not to implore setters to ‘dumb down’ the back pager recently. In other words I get the feeling there is a fear that the Telegraph might migrate to an ‘entry level’ and a toughie, and some would sooner have two toughies than that. I think that might in part be why there’s almost back pager bingo references to ‘shoo ins’, ‘write ins’, ‘read and write’, ‘straightforward’, etc, in the comments on the more widely accessible puzzles. Personally, I would like to see a quick cryptic, and the back pager remain as it always has been. Happy enough for the toughie to stay too, but that’s way out of reach for me! But, anyway, I hope the days when there are lots of comments about how easy a puzzle is won’t make the bloggers who give hints think their efforts aren’t valuable. They are and are appreciated.

  14. As our blogger said, some nice surface reads in today’s puzzle. 15a put me in mind of the jolly green giant ads – anyone remember those?
    Top marks here went to 27a plus 5,14&22d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman for the review – bet you’ve never forgotten how to spell exuberance and verbosity!

    1. Another variation was – For a person of my age & intelligence the writing of these lines ought not to be necessary. I remember the amount being doubled for having the impertinence to suggest halving the amount on account of the number of words involved. Heaven knows what was wrong with I must not talk in prep….
      Have you any news of Robert ?

      1. Your prep school certainly knew how to drill spelling and vocabulary into its students!
        No update on Robert as yet – I think plans for his future treatment were being finalised last Friday so I’m expecting to get a report from him sometime this week.

  15. Very nice on the whole with a super clue in 14a. Thought that perhaps 25d and 15a were a little weak but whatever.
    Very enjoyable.
    Thx to all

  16. An shoo-in today but no less enjoyable for that. 12a Fav once I considered that kind of china. No doubt 19a presented little problem for the transatlantic bloggers. IMHO hunk in 15a is rather broad. Thank you Mysteron and Huntsman.

  17. What a relief to be able to run in the showery rain this morning after the last couple of weeks of hot and humid weather. Liked this a lot completed while eating my late breakfast (not 14), very much it doesn’t have to be difficult to be be enjoyable!


    Fav 19a LOI 15a.

    Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  18. I got off to a good start with the nest anagram at 1a which brought back memories of year 1 geography when we had to do a drawing of one, followed by a shaduf and then the development of the ox-bow lake. Happy days. I also liked 14a and the breakfast, but have to stop now with a few more to go in as I have to go to the optician. I have not had time to read the Harpenden Humdinger’s Hints but will no doubt read them later, in the meantime thanks to the Setter for a tasty guzzle. I loved the photo of The Donald in todays paper, think I shall have to cut it out and save it!

  19. A Tuesday puzzle of the same sort of difficulty as last week. Nothing too hard here, just took a little time to get going.

    2*/3* for me today

    Favourites include 1a, 10a, 21a, 3d & 18d with winner 1a

    Thanks to setter and Huntsman for blog/hints

  20. I, too, was fixated on some kind of tableware for 12A, until the penny dropped. It was my LOI and also my favorite. I also liked 24D, because the wording of the clue struck a chord with me. Thanks to Huntsman and the setter.

  21. 3&14d were well crafted clues and 1a an interesting anagram but otherwise a distinctly, for me only, it would appear, an anodyne experience. What the answer to 13a has to do with the underlined word in Huntsman’s blog I cannot see, nor does the BRB. It is certainly easy to solve but left me wondering what I was missing.

    Thanks to the setter and to Huntsman.

    1. You weren’t alone with that one Corky. The best I could come up with was that if you judge something likely to happen you expect it to do so. Meant & forgot to say I thought the synonym a bit tenuous.

  22. It needed the answer before I could puzzle out why. It should have not taken so long as the Cockley “china” is often used by compilers. And to expand “r” to “oder” was a step too far for my 93 year old brain. There are so many rivers!

  23. A joy to solve.
    From the cleverly cryptic 3d
    Via the brilliant 9 & 12a to
    Our old friend, 28a.
    Meeting some juicy anagrams
    And smiles eg 23a and 24d on the
    My COTD by a short head 12a.
    Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  24. Really enjoyed this one.
    Last one in was the china one as I’d forgotten it too
    Thanks to the setter and Huntsman

  25. Most enjoyable with a few super clues. I got held up on 12a – my LOI – for far too long, all the more so growing up in a cockney slang-using household! I just couldn’t shake cups and saucers out of my head… Though I thought the puzzle generally a bit heavy on the ‘remove one letter’ malarky (as our friend in 24d likes to say), the two double definitions were excellent, with 14d getting the nod as COTD. **/****

    Thanks to our setter and Huntsman 👏

  26. Lovely Tuesday guzzle, very friendly. I’ll come back and read the comments after my pool routine.
    I’m not sure I have the right answer for 12a and is 13a mean judge? Fave 15a.
    Thank you setter and Huntsman for your hints and tips, which I’ll read later.

  27. A quirky crossword so easy in parts and In quite a few arriving at the correct solution but knowing why 🤔 ***/**** Favourites we’re 12a and 5d. Thanks to Huntsman for the much needed explanations and to the Compiler 😃

  28. Another enjoyable Tuesday, with just a couple of clues I just didn’t get, 13a I wrote in almost immediately, but I still can’t equate it with judge, even though correct, and of course the cricket one which I was never going to get on my own. Meanwhile Wordle in 2 today and, having subscribed, managed to reach Genius in Spelling Bee yesterday, so brain is not dead yet 😊. Looking forward to being beaten by the Toughie later today. Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

      1. Mine was IRATE. It’s so amazing how we can arrive at the same answer from such different words. I had to subscribe as they kept kicking me off Spelling Bee. I could deal with it when they kicked me off in Solid, but then they started cutting me off in Good. The day they cut me off at 9 points was the last straw, and I succumbed and paid.

          1. I also Wordled in 2 today, for the first time in ages — must be something about today’s answer which makes its letters not match much else?

            Luckily I got 🟨🟨🟨⬜⬜ with my first guess, which I won’t state here because it’s the answer to today’s Telegraph PlusWord and I don’t want to spoil that. (It does, however, feature a German town which some might find familiar!)

            I solve PlusWord first, then use its answer as my first Wordle guess if the PlusWord contains 5 different letters and exactly 2 of them are vowels (including Y). If it has any repetition or more or fewer vowels, then I pick an entry from the PlusWord grid that does meet those criteria — so I get to vary my Wordle starting word each day, while trying to keep them with a reasonable chance of being at least vaguely with a chance of being useful.

      2. I wordled in two also and I used audio! I don’t feel so cockahoop now I know lots of others got it!

        1. Don’t let us unhoop your cock, Daisygirl: it’s a great achievement, and sharing it doesn’t lessen that! We can all celebrate together.

  29. All finished, some lovely fun clues which needed thought before they fell into place.
    14d my favourite but I also liked 1a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman for the hints

  30. When I first looked at this one I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it at all – then had a look again and it was fine – how odd!
    Even though it’s a “crickety” clue my favourite was 5d (mainly because being able to do one of those is a rarity).
    I think most has already been said so perhaps I’ll leave it at that for today.
    Thanks to today’s setter for the crossword and to Huntsman for the hints.

  31. Good evening
    I too had a bit of a tussle with 12a…
    19a: what else can I say but Crikey!
    Thanks to our compiler and to Huntsman

  32. 2/4. A very enjoyable puzzle completed on our front porch balcony in warm sunshine and accompanied by a large G&T. 19a was my favourite from a packed podium. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  33. A quirky crossword so easy in parts and in quite a few arriving at the correct answer but knowing why 🤔 ***/**** Favourites were 12a & 5d. Thanks to Huntsman and to the Compiler

  34. Enjoyed this one, though took far longer than it should have done, having confidently put in flipflop for 21a – could justify it (person hasn’t got on being a flop, and a fall being a flip) and thought it was a clever clue!

    Thanks to Huntsman and setter

  35. I’ve not been doing many crosswords as I’ve been away and doing other stuff. I hope I’ve not missed any news. I see we are still waiting to hear about Robert. I am still away, currently in Edinburgh and going to Arran tomorrow. I found today’s a joy. Slow start but then they seemed to fill themselves in apart from 12a which was my last in. Thanks setter and Huntsman.

    1. Had many holidays on Arran as a wean, there is a lovely hand made soap place for smelly stuff, a fine distillery too and Brodick Castle is well worth a visit too – it was the scene of a hilarious incident when our young pup mistook lily pads on a pond for solid ground. The look on his face as he disappeared was a sight to see

  36. Late to the blog as I was tussling with the toughie,
    This was a fine puzzle I finished over 2nd coffee break this morning. I will have to pick the overworked John as COTD.
    Thanks to Huntsman and setter

  37. I enjoyed this, as I’ve come to expect on Tuesdays. My favourite was either 15a’s friendly hunk or 22d’s eggy page. (Is that acceptable phrasing, Kath?) This was mostly solved from various cafés around Skipton, as I filled some time while the 10yo was on a transition day at their secondary school — a hastily-arranged Plan B, having originally thought I’d base myself in the library, foolishly without checking that Skipton’s library actually opens on a Tuesday.

    Thank you to the setter, and also to Huntsman for clearing up a few things, especially with 12a: I had the right kind of China immediately, but was unfamiliar with Poland’s second-longest river, so just put R in for ‘river’ then was a few letters short!

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