DT 30349 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30349

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30349
Hints and tips by Huntsman

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BD Rating – Difficulty **  –  Enjoyment ***

Rain overnight but it’s brightening up nicely here in Harpenden so hope to get out for a good walk later if I manage to get neglected chores completed. Last week it was the guys from LIV & this week we have the Aramco Team Series for the ladies so another busy week in store at Centurion Club.

Many thanks to Gazza for stepping in last week. Having been spectacularly wrong in pegging last week’s setter I’m happy to go all in that this one’s got Mr Plumb’s fingerprints all over it. I reckon it’s 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. My main difficulty (in the absence of the clues being italicised in the digital paper version) is in deciding whether the Quickie pun is just the first two across clues (works for me) or the third across is included. No matter how I say it I can’t make the 3rd one sound like calls.

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 Writer’s shoes sister regularly removed (5)
HESSE: a bit of literary GK to kick off with. Use the alternate letters (regularly removed) of SHOES SISTER to give you this fella who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946. Hands up who’s read any of his stuff ? Not me. Steppenwolf the great American-Canadian rock band were named after one of his novels I now know


4a Men do cram around the one in charge (9)
COMMANDER: an anagram (around) of MEN DO CRAM

9a Returning weapon? (9)
BOOMERANG: a cryptic definition for a curved piece of wood first used Down Under

10a Flowers put back in greenhouses originally (5)
ROSES: a reverse lurker (back in) found in the last two words of the clue

11a Salesman with decorative fabric giving change (7)
REPLACE: start with a term for a salesman & add a delicate fabric. The definition is a verb.

12a Nuts besides small birds (7)
CUCKOOS: you’ll need a word for nuts in the sense of not all there & then append the single letter abbreviation for small.


13a A virile gent turns, enthralling 50 grown-ups (6)
ADULTS: start with the A from the clue then add a reversal (turns) of a synonym for a virile gent into which (enthralling) the Roman numeral for 50 is inserted. That virile gent is the title of a Jackie Collins novel. Hands up who’s read that one? Not me.

15a Four seen entering sexual festival (8)
CARNIVAL: insert (entering) the Roman numeral for four into a synonym for sexual. Notting Hill & Ladbroke Grove annually host the largest one on these shores.

18a Going out to entertain Charlie is thrilling (8)
EXCITING: insert (to entertain) the NATO phonetic alphabet letter for Charlie into a another word for going out in the sense of leaving rather than dating

20a Leader who died in ship’s hold (6)
NELSON: an admiral who died aboard ship in 1805 gives you a grappling hold in wrestling

23a Something that obstructs black bird cutting head (7)
BARRIER: start with the single letter for black then append a bird of prey less it’s initial letter (cutting head). They hunt by flying low over open ground feeding on small mammals, reptiles & birds


24a Seems a paper’s ordered (7)
APPEARS: an anagram (ordered) of A PAPER’S

26a Heroinsomething fisherman might be on (5)
SMACK: a double definition (I think) – the name of a traditional fishing vessel pictured below is also one of the many names for the Class A drug

27a Hire actors unfortunately ignoring current group of players (9)
ORCHESTRA: an anagram (unfortunately) of HIRE ACTORS minus (ignoring) the single letter abbreviation for current

28a Scots rant about differences (9).                                                                                                                CONTRASTS: a straightforward anagram (about) of SCOTS RANT.

29a Stream bound to hold gallons (5)                                                                                                                       SURGE: insert the single letter abbreviation for gallons into a synonym for bound to. The definition is in the sense of a continuous flow


1d Detest keeping in one European city for winter (9)
HIBERNATE: insert (keeping in) the Roman numeral for one plus a Swiss city into a synonym for detest giving you a verb (think seasonal dormancy)

2d Spy has no open cases (5)
SNOOP: a lurker (cases) found in the three words following the definition

3d Stylish base on a font? Not half! (7)
ELEGANT: a charade. Begin with the mathematical constant for base then add the cricket term for on plus the A in the clue. Finally append 50% (not half) of font

4d Tea party’s beginning next to the Spanish place of worship (6)
CHAPEL: start with another word for tea then add the first letter (beginning) of party’s plus the Spanish (masculine) for the

5d I ban no book after marvellous David Copperfield? (8)
MAGICIAN: start with a term that can mean marvellous or great then append (after) the first two words in the clue omitting one of the letters (no book). Hands up who joined me daftly down the Dickens dead end ?

6d One coming from Nigeria maybe in a craft at sea with the temperature dropping (7)
AFRICAN: an anagram (at sea) of IN A CRAFT less (dropping) the single letter for temperature. A great use of the indicator for a sadly topical surface read.

7d Concludes dish almost cracks (9)
DISSOLVES: start with the second word in the clue less (almost) the final letter then add a synonym for cracks in the sense of what you’re with the puzzle hopefully. Not the first definition to spring to mind.

8d Critical points with no Conservative rebels (5)
RISES: another nicely topical surface read. A word for critical points (that the Tories seem to be endlessly engulfed in) less the single letter for Conservative

14d Cracked a nicer nut? Open to question (9)
UNCERTAIN: an anagram (cracked) of A NICER NUT

16d Constable’s work? Capture first of swindlers with cloak (9)
LANDSCAPE: You need a synonym for capture & then one for cloak inserting the initial letter (first of) of swindlers between them. Think Suffolk’s finest & nowt to do with the constabulary

17d Jumbo runs, consumed by mouse on ground (8)
ENORMOUS: insert (consumed by) the single letter for runs, as in cricket, into an anagram (ground) of MOUSE ON

19d One contemplates husband eating trifle? On the contrary (7)
THINKER: insert (eating/on the contrary) the single letter for husband into a synonym for trifle with. Claudio Ranieri the former Chelsea & Leicester City manager known for doing this with his line ups

21d Former media say (7)
EXPRESS: the usual two letter term for former followed by the print media

22d Relishes people providing information on the radio (6)
SAUCES: a homophone (on the radio) of synonym for those providing information gives you a definition in the culinary sense

23d Is in taxi turning over key (5)
BASIC: insert is from the into another word for a taxi & reverse (over)

25d Following a newspaper lead in Essex, right? (5)                                                                                                AFTER: a charade to finish. Take the A in the clue then add the pink paper read by those in the City & append the first letters (lead in) of Essex right

For me the down clues got the nod over the across ones with 5,6,8&16d contenders for a podium spot. Which ones did you like?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: WAY+ CUP= WAKE UP

95 comments on “DT 30349

  1. Enjoyable but I did think some of the clues were rather long winded. For example 6d had thirteen words in the clue. I also thought there were a fair number of anagrams. Mind you, as I couldn’t even begin to set a cryptic who am I to make such comments? Anyway, as I said at the start, it was a very enjoyable solve with just the right balance of clues with varying difficulty. I remain astounded at the number of ways 27a can be clued and the writer at 1a had to be dragged from the canyons of my mind once I had the clue solved.

    Most enjoyable and my COTD is the sexual festival at 15a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to Huntsman for the hints.

  2. Greetings from sunny (in patches) Sandhurst where I’m taking it slowly today
    after knocking myself out with the garage door yesterday. It was squeaking at
    the weekend, so I gave it a full lubrication on Sunday, then subsequently forgot
    I’d done so, it came down like a guillotine, laid me flat out, bump the size of a duck’s egg today! Anyway, great Tuesday crossword, just the ticket for a sore swede, not too hard but very satisfying. Favourites today were the very misleading 5d, and the quite brilliantly deceptive 20a. Bravo to our setter today.

      1. CommiSerations Tipcat. It’s thw sort of thing I might do. Hope rhe sore noggin soon recovers.

    1. Gosh, painful and with a KO as well, it sounds as though you were very fortunate only to have had a bump: a great reason to take things gently for a day or three!

    2. Reminds me of our previous house – I had 3 fears in it; strange loft hatch, concealed down step to kitchen and narrow gate posts .
      Having sold the house I did a final sweep, slammed an upstairs door, the loft hatch swung down hitting me square in the face, stumbled, dazed down the stairs and fell on the hidden step, reversed out of the drive and pulled car bumper off on the gate post – the house had saved it all up for the last day

      1. I sympathise wholeheartedly Pat having suffered regularly from a similarly lethal loft hatch trap door in our previous house too.

    3. Take care, Tipcat. A bump like that could give concussion so take it easy for a day or so. I hope you get better soon.

      1. Ta Steve, Mrs TC kept a beady eye on me for signs of concussion, and I’ve now had a liberal dollop of arnica, so hopefully back to normal soon.

    4. Oh dear, that sounds awful, and do hope you don’t have a concussion. I assume this is a manual and not powered door? Our garage doors over here have sensors so they stop automatically if they meet any obstructions on the way down, to prevent just such an occurrence. Sounds really painful and I’d be off to the doctor pronto if you get any lasting effects,

    5. I felt that! My sympathies, I’ve had concussion & amnesia three times; 1956 swimming baths; 1963 rolled the family Hillman; 2008 Off-Roading my Land Rover went too far off road. But because of the amnesia I can’t remember anything until I came out of the amnesia next day in hospital each time! It worries me now about the cumulative long term effects being discussed about footballers heading the ball. However being as I have reached the great age of 81 despite my diving/driving, I managed to finish today’s very enjoyable offering. As my namesake, Brian says a bit of reverse engineering was required but that’s fun in itself when the light bulb shines. It always amazes me how much GK is still in my battered brain.
      Thanks to all .

  3. Mostly fun. I would have thought ‘over’ rather than ‘for’ winter in 1d ? ; nit picking I guess.
    20a Hmmm, cryptic and not at the same time ? I did particularly enjoy 11, 16 and 22, and 9 was a good chuckle after a long while desperately casting about in my addled grey matter for a double-definition . Good stuff. Thanks.

  4. The first three clues are italicised in the paper, Huntsman. However, it doesn’t quite work for me – “cools” equals
    “Wake up calls”?

    1. Hmm – on the ‘new’ web site only the first two clues of the Quickie are italicised which does seem to make a ‘sensible’ pun.

      (A good thing that there is not a pen ‘riding’ on it!)

          1. Hmm. Not sure DG. I’ve been submitting for nearly fifty years. However, I will continue casting my summoning spells in the pentangle on the floor of the attic. The Mythical will not be able to resist much longer. 😎

  5. Just half a cup of coffee? Not quite enough challenge and sadly I guessed a lot and then saw the reasoning as I wrote then in.
    A 1 for difficulty and just 2 for enjoyment?

  6. A pleasant and not too tricky puzzle for Tuesday – thanks to our setter and Huntsman.
    My ticks went to 20a, 1d, 8d and 16d.

    If you’ve not seen the BRB’s definition of the 13a ‘virile gent’ it’s worth having a read.

    1. I love the section towards the end of the BRB (revised 13th ed.) entitled “Some Less than Objective Definitions” – I’m sure most must have been written by setters of cryptic puzzles! Two examples:

      Mullet : a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back, and ridiculous all round.

      Kazoo : a would-be musical instrument

  7. A good accompaniment for the mid-morning caffeine injection: light, amusing and straightforward, with the homophone at 22d my LOI. COTD for me 8d, with 5d the runner-up: two lovely pieces of clue construction, though there were many from which to choose.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman – hope you get decent weather at Centurion this week!

  8. 20a was my LOI, with my favourite being 8d. I found this very comfortable for a Tuesday with very few delays in its completion. Good fun if rather wordy for my taste.

    Many thanks to our setter and to Huntsman.

  9. Would you care to explain your hint for 27a. There’s no way you can get the word ORCHESTRA if you deduct the letter C from HIRE ACTORS

    1. The abbreviation you have to ignore is the I that is the symbol for electrical current in physics

      Apart from your problem with the hint, what did you think of the crossword?

  10. This was 2*/3.5* for me with 8d my favourite and 20a in second place.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman.

  11. Great crossword today, yesterday I struggled, so today was a treat. I picked 5d as my favourite after googling magician, a handsome man I’d never heard of!
    Thanks to Huntsman and setter. Hope you’re recovering Tipcat!

  12. After careful examination of the Quickie Grid, compared to the less than cursory inspection of the same last Tuesday, I confidently agree with Huntsman that today’s setter is indeed Anthony Plumb and he has provided a Typically Tuesdayish puzzle – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 15a, 29a, 21d, and 25d – and the winner is 21d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

    1. What is the ‘Quickie’ please? The Times has one, and I was hoping the DT would introduce one, although I’m getting a sinking feeling that it’s what the experts call the back pager!

      1. The ‘Quickie’ is the Telegraph’s Quick Crossword which is a non-cryptic puzzle. The first few across answers of it always make a pun.

  13. I usually look forward to Tuesdays offering,IMHO this didn’t quite the natural flow and enjoyment, but it was probably me having an off day & over thinking some of the clues.

    1.5*/ 3*

    Fav 2d LOI 20a.

    Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  14. Another enjoyable solve – like yesterday’s in 2* time. LOI was 7d – couldn’t work out cracks meant solve rather than damaged! Again hubby helped out when I asked him to name some of Dicken’s works for 5d and he suggested perhaps David Copperfield referred to the magician! Apart from those two clues everything else went in relatively easily so it’s 4* for enjoyment.
    Many thanks to Huntsman and the Setter.

  15. I didn’t know the 1a writer – sounds as though he should have been one of the Nazi heavy mob!
    Quite a straightforward solve today and I think the virile gent and the sexual festival get my votes.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb, presumably, and to Huntsman for the review.

  16. No real problems but some of answers needed to be worked backward to the wordplay to fully understand.
    On the whole quite enjoyable and good level for a Tuesday.
    Thx to all

  17. Thank you Huntsman, more than a couple of hints needed, brain feels like a rusty old mangle today and I definitely joined everyone down the Dickensian dead end. Literally speaking I can’t honestly put my hand up for 1a, am now off to dig out my old copy of The Glass Bead Game, never managed to finish it.

    1. Welcome from me too. Now that you’ve broken cover hopefully you’ll join the gang & comment on a regular basis

    2. Welcome, CotswoldKate. As Huntsman says, now that you have stuck your head above the parapet please do comment again. :good:

  18. Cheery guzzle with a lot of glever glues.

    I’ve been away for over two weeks, so I apologise if this question has been raised recently, and answered. Does anyone know how Robert is doing? Such a kind, lovely man. I do hope he is alright.

    Thanks to the setter and Andy On The First Tee.

    1. Robert’s embarking on gruelling round of therapies, starting today. I think we’ll have to wait a while to get updates from him.

  19. All went in smoothly today. The only stumbling block was my LOI at 20a; I was determined to get a ‘d’ and a ‘ss’ in there! Filled my caffeine break nicely. I’m off to check the BRB now for 13a, intrigued…

  20. Fell at the last hurdle. That was 22d. Just over thought it. Surprised at 20a. But of course it was cryptic after all. Nothing exciting but good Tuesday fare. That sounds ungenerous when one thinks of all the effort that goes in both from the setter and our splendid Big Dave page.

  21. Well I found this Tuesday puzzle harder than normal. Took me a long time to get going and then a long time to work my way through it. Have several clues that I cannot figure out the parsing, but what they are is what they are.

    3*/3* for me today

    Favourites include 9a, 15a, 18a, 6d & 16d — with winner 9a and 16d a close second.

    Thanks to setter and to Huntsman for hints/blog.

  22. I was slow to start today as I was having difficulty concentrating after a nasty tummy bug disturbed last night’s sleep. It was a fair puzzle, trickiest inthe NE a d, given the circumstances quite enjoyable. I liked 1d, 9a and 7d. Thanks to Mr Plumb Nd to Huntsman for the hints.

  23. Yes, Jane, I’m sure I am not alone in having had him as first thought for 1a.

  24. It could be because I’m not a Dickens fan but my first thought for 5d was the correct Mr Copperfield. Didn’t know the 1a writer so had go check via Mr Google.
    Overall an enjoyable guzzle with 20a my favourite with 9a a close second.

  25. A trouble-free and enjoyable solve with just a slight hiccup in NE. Of course I began with Dickens for 5d as homophone was unknown to me (thanks MrG). Fav simple 21d. Thank you Flimsy and Huntsman.

    1. Off piste here: do you know why so many men tennis players put their caps on backwards? Looks most uncomfortable.

      1. Apart from cynically thinking it is purely for effect, maybe they would rather keep the sun off the back of their necks than out of their eyes? Just a thought.

      2. Ken Griffey Jr., baseball player, supposedly started the trend in the 1990’s when he started wearing his dad’s cap that way. It of course became generally regarded as a symbol of rebellion but now seems to be acceptable for practical reasons including DG’s observation! Nick Kyrgios, for whatever reason (!), is of course well-known for his backwards cap.

  26. 1a held up my advance into the north western territory today. I couldn’t stop thinking about why one would put a war criminal into a pivotal clue. In the end I bunged in the correct name and looked at the hints for conformation.
    From war criminal to war hero, 20a , what a good clue. Last in and my favourite.
    A decent challenge today thanks to all

    1. There was definitely an ‘ ook’ to that MUST be the name but ……. in 1a . Hand firmly down in the ‘heard of him’ stakes. Is he worth a look/read btw , anyone?

  27. After a week away in a wifi-free zone (initially frustrating, but ultimately very relaxing) I was pleased to be able to finish.

    Thanks to setter and Huntsman for parsing, particularly for 3d – don’t think I’ll ever get cricket terminology right.

    1. I do now manage to remember two or three cricket terms, well most of the time anyway.

  28. I guess there has to be obscurity to keep the experts happy, but I cannot see where I would substitute the answer to 7d for the word ‘concludes’ and I can’t imagine using the word ‘wintering’ to describe an animal 1d-ing. Never heard of 1a or 26a, and picked the wrong David Copperfield to start with. I’ve never read any Jackie Collins either. Do people still use 12a in the sense of ‘nuts’ in England? I don’t recall hearing the word used in that way, but maybe it’s a regional thing. Why is a cuckoo nuts enough to be used as an adjective I wonder, but then again I’ve never seen a drunk coot?! I didn’t realise at first that ‘around’ indicates an anagram. 3d was complicated and the last to find – I just bunged the answer in as it fit with the checkers! So, all in all, a reasonably accessible puzzle that took me too long!

    1. Hi Mark

      The answer to 7dn is a synonym for adjourn, discontinue, break up etc.

      For 1dn you should consider winter as a verb, e.g to winter in the Caribean.

      Yes the term cuckoo is still used for mad, crazy etc

      … and finally “around” has been an anagram indicator for a long time.

      As for the puzzle I enjoyed it.

      Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

      1. Strange one, isn’t it? Cuckoos are actually quite smart – disguise your eggs, drop them off in somebody else’s nest and let some other poor bird do the parenting!

      2. I think you are confirming how remote the definitions are. And as for the anagram indicator, I wouldn’t know that it has been around a long time as I have little experience. Glad you enjoyed the crossword, and I sense you are essentially defending it – don’t worry, my comments won’t change the setters styles, it’s obvious I’m not a seasoned solver. You’ll be able to enjoy plenty more. Will I ever get to enjoy them, who knows.

      1. Yes 😀! The coot has a few similes for some reason on top of p****d as a coot, including old as a coot, bald as a coot, and queer (as in eccentric) or mad as a coot. The one animal that is involved in a p****d simile that I could imagine drunk is a parrot, maybe because in the back of my mind I’ve got a vague recollection of a film with a drunk pirate’s parrot in it.

  29. I found this tricky but doable until I got to the NE. Oh, THAT David Copperfield! I spent far too long looking for Nigerian tribesmen before I had my epiphany! Never did get 20a, so DNF, but now that I know the answer it might be my fave, right after 15a. Quite a few bung ins so glad to know why they’re what they are!
    Thanks to our setter for the workout and to Huntsman for unravelling so much.

  30. Completed with a few bung ins, help from checkers, and a few hints, but mostly happily from the clues which were not too convoluted. Never read 1a writer, went chasing after the wrong type of players in 27a, and like Merusa, it was ages before I thought of the other Copperfield. Thanks to Huntsman and our Tuesday setter. Now if I can just get a few more words in Spelling Bee…

  31. Beaten by the obscure 1a. Never heard of or read him
    A bit of a slog but quite a bit to like including the chestnut that is 20a

  32. 2/4. Thank goodness for a good cryptic – yesterday was not to my liking. Favourite was 9a just pipping 15a. Thanks to all.

  33. Of course for those of us with italics it was “wake up calls” late on task as had to buy a new I-pad as out of no where Barclays decided to introduce a new app which my 11year old model could not handle !!! But why when the one I had did everything so easily and simply.
    Nice puzzle today 😃 ***/*** Favourites: 12a, 23a & 22d 🤗. Thanks to the “Golfman” and to the Setter and apologies for my rant!
    “I don’t believe it 🥴”

  34. I did this at lunchtime as is my wont (and that is a funny phrase if you like) but then had to dash off to Book Group (cake of course) and discuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummin. Has anyone read it? My word, a hard read but well worth the slog. I was surprised to see how much criticism she received for writing about another culture, but surely that is what novelists frequently do? Anyway, we talked about it for far longer than we usually spend on the book and realised as we were leaving (after strawberries and cream as it was Wimbledon as well as cake) that we had quite omitted to talk about The Archers or our many ailments. However, belatedly to the guzzle, I really enjoyed it but then it was anagram-heavy which suits me. I am joining Steve in naming 15a as favourite – for many years when George was working for a Dutch company we would go to the Mardi Gras Carnival in Maastricht. Has anyone ever been? Such fun. As someone else commented 27 a is an old chestnut which comes in many guises – maybe somebody should list them all. Many thanks to Messrs Setter and Hinter – I am glowing all over at Huntsman’s compliment!

    1. …. ” cuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummin. Has anyone read it?” .. when I switched from actual engineering to lecturing in the same several moons ago my reading changed to being entirely text books. My first, recent foray at working my way back post retirement has been a semi-fictional tale of the understanding of Japanese morse code pre WW2 (On the roof gang) ….. dare I say ‘niche’ interest ha ha ha ha ha . Should I give American. Dirt a try ??
      As a by the by – I have a wall of Maths, Thermodynamics, Dynamics, Mechanics, Machines, Fluids texts I no longer need – it would horrify me to put them in a skip but …. anybody here know a place I could pass them on to ?????

  35. Finally completed, I found today a bit harder than some but I often find that is more about not having time. I did not know 1a, I put 15a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Huntsman and the setter.

  36. After a slow start I picked up the pace and was whizzing along until I wasn’t with the last 4 or 5 clues taking as long as the rest including the reverse lurker at 10a, will I ever learn. Some nice moments in this with 23a being favourite. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  37. Just to let you all know, I may not be around tomorrow. I am having YAG laser treatment on my eyes in the morning to clean the artificial lenses that were inserted a couple of years ago. Apparently, when the real lenses with the cataracts were removed fragments remained in the eye. These settle on the artificial lenses and blur vision again. It should take about fifteen minutes and I should have crystal clear vision once more.

    Anyway, if I don’t appear that is why.

    It’s me for Ballybucklebo now!

  38. 3*/3* …
    liked 9A “Returning weapon? (9)”
    tried a toughie this am using Firefox-would not enter anything into the grid-had to resort to Chrome instead. Firefox works on the old style site though.

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