DT 30386 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30386

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30386

Hints and tips by 2Kiwis

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

Kia ora from Aotearoa.
We’re back to the winter weather we like best. Crisp frosty mornings followed by calm clear days. What’s not to like.
Quite a lot of GK required today but we were lucky enough to find that it was all stuff that we knew.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


1a     Strip of photomontage is transfixing discriminating type (6)
AGEIST : A lurker, (indicated by strip of), hiding in the clue.

4a     Scrambled eggs ultimately seasoned with Asian spices (8)
SCURRIED : The final letter of eggs and then how one could describe a dish seasoned with Asian spices.

10a     Maybe George Eliot in rubbish dump? Yes and no (9)
PSEUDONYM : An anagram (rubbish) of DUMP YES and NO.

11a     Brother or sister keeping a hotel’s address in India (5)
SAHIB : The abbreviated form of a word for a brother or sister surrounds ‘A’ from the clue and H(otel).

12a     Frontrunner in triathlon went off and ran quite fast (7)
TROTTED : The first letter of triathlon and went off or decayed.

13a     Where men go home amid Russian mountains (7)
URINALS : A mountain range in Russia surrounds the two letter ‘at home’.

14a     50 per cent of this letter from Athens, or the next one (5)
THETA : A semi all-in-one. The wordplay is the first half (50 per cent) of this, plus the fifth Greek letter.

15a    Is the crossword setter with the Telegraph friendly? (8)
AMICABLE : A 2,1 way in which the crossword setter could ask for identification and then a word for a telegraphed message.

18a     American’s money stolen — this is taken by a gunman (8)
BUCKSHOT : A slang word for American money (with the ‘S), and a slang word describing stolen goods.

20a     Awful lice around head of Colossus in Rhodes, say (5)
CECIL : An anagram (awful) of LICE contains the first letter of Colossus.

23a     Popular business with periodically immense earnings (7)
INCOMES : The two letter popular, the two letter business, and the second, fourth and sixth letters of immense.

25a     A sailor reported for military operation (7)
ASSAULT : A homophone (reported) of ‘A’ from the clue and a colloquial word for a sailor.

26a     Maybe thistle, after time, becomes flower of Scotland (5)
TWEED : The abbreviation for time and the type of plant a thistle often is.

27a     No grand chef’s art or science (9)
ASTRONOMY : Start with a word for a chef’s art and remove G(rand) from the start of it.

28a     Where William came from, and not Amanda (8)
NORMANDY : A word meaning ‘and not’ plus the pet version of Amanda.

29a     I’m leaving a couple of runs for a cricketer (3-3)
BYE-BYE : The repetition of a run scored by a cricketer who doesn’t actually hit the ball.


1d     Copy clothing little Parisian is liking (8)
APPETITE : A word for copy or imitate surrounds (clothing) the French word for little.

2d     In hearing, yours truly getting angry? I won’t appeal (7)
EYESORE : A homophone (in hearing) for ‘yours truly’ and a colloquial word for angry.

3d     Maybe right song is to have a diverting effect? (9)
SIDETRACK : What right (or left) could be an example of and then a recorded song.

5d     The Reds storm up — Man City in trouble (9,5)
COMMUNIST PARTY : An anagram (in trouble) of STORM UP MAN CITY.

6d     Follower of Liz Taylor is hiring houses (5)
RISHI : A lurker, hiding in the clue. The Liz here is Ms Truss.

7d     Isaac’s half-brother cooked his meal (7)
ISHMAEL : An anagram (cooked) of HIS MEAL.

8d     Corrupt society girls swallowing a stimulant (6)
DEBASE : A word for society girls contains ‘A’ from the clue. This is followed by the letter used as an abbreviation for a specific stimulant drug.

9d     Play a perfect match? (2,5,7)
AN IDEAL HUSBAND : A way that Oscar Wilde dramatically refers to Mr Right.

16d     Maybe handbag thief’s helper? (9)
ACCESSORY : A double definition.

17d     Road-user’s problem in dull Phoenician city (4,4)
FLAT TYRE : Dull or uninteresting, then a Phoenician city that still exists in present day Lebanon.

19d    Confusing relation by author losing heart (7)
UNCLEAR : An older male relation and then the first and last letters of author.

21d     Student follows half of course by old doctor, a French physicist (7)
COULOMB : The first three letters of course, then the student driver letter, then O(ld), and finally, a doctor’s qualification.

22d     Tom’s baby clothing put on figure (6)
KITTEN : A general word for clothing and a number.

24d     E.g. radio and TV journo cutting plan up (5)
MEDIA : The reversal (up) of a plan or goal contains a senior journo.

5d is our favourite today as we liked the football misdirection.

Quickie pun    orc    +    shun    +    ear    =    auctioneer

97 comments on “DT 30386

  1. I hope the setter (I have an idea) pops in to claim this minor gem as it was one of the best back-pagers I can remember, full of wit and creative clueing.
    My page has so many ticks it looks like the school swot’s exercise book but I’ll mention 13&28a plus with top spot shared by 5&6d. Good stuff indeed.
    Thanks to the setter and The Ks.

    1. Pretty much exactly what Stephen said even down to his 4 choices. I’d like to know who his setter hunch is – I just assumed it was Robyn.
      Had forgotten Charlie & his law but the wordplay was clear so that & the Lebanese city required a post solve chat with Mr G.
      Thanks to the setter & to the 2Ks

    2. Me too. You have saved me the effort of typing. All accomplished without help even the crickety one, wonderful misdirection in 6d and 20a but 13 is my favourite. Huge thanks to setter and to the kiwis. They have to call the baby giraffe ‘Spot’!

  2. Hard to disagree with SL’s view of this excellent and highly enjoyable puzzle this morning. The GK was very gettable, either because it really was ‘general’, or the wordplay was concise. The whole grid formed the basis of a rapid solve, with 6d the highlight.

    My thanks to our setter for a fun challenge, and to the 2Ks.

  3. Splendid. A perfect midweeker.

    Lots of beautifully crafted clues with some nice GK thrown in for good measure. I can now store away the Phoenician city along with Ur, the other classic, obscure old city.

    ‘Where men go’ is superb as is the clue. I love the neatness of 27a and 6d is a belter. But, the COTD has to go to 5d, an outstanding anagram.

    Many thanks to Le Touquet and the compiler.


      1. You’re quite right!

        The full name is hilarious: Elizabeth II International Airport of Le Touquet Paris-Plage.

        Imagine saying that every time you answer the phone.

        A receptionist will shorten it to Elizabeth II International Airport. Surely that’s going to grate the French after a while.

        It is very bizarre.

      1. Thank you, GJR. I do love a bit of wordplay.

        My fascination with words began when I saw my father put the letters of a word in a circle to work out an anagram in a Telegraph crossword, many moons ago.

        I was hooked.

        Saying that, I am a numbers man, studying Maths at university. I hardly read when I was a nipper. I think the challenge of working out an anagram got me into words and therefore angry ones (cross words).


        1. Interesting, I’m also more naturally a numbers man (Chemistry at university, and now in Finance). But I love the logical aspect to a cryptic crossword and that in turn has improved my word knowledge. Friends never believe me when I say I find a cryptic easier to solve than a concise as it doesn’t entirely rely on a knowledge of synonyms.

          1. Couldn’t agree more. My word knowledge was truly hopeless when I started.

            A Sudoku puzzle should be right up my strasse but I don’t do it as I learn nothing. Crossies enhance my vocabulary, no end. I can’t wait to buy Terence’s book!

              1. It’s amazing how quickly a word can be spotted doing it that way.

                I look at the panagram in the DT’s puzzle page and regularly see it in under a second. The brain is an amazing thing.

                If I don’t get it immediately, I look for an ending ant/ed/ing/ence/ly and, if that fails, a compound word. I give up after 30 seconds, saying to myself….’Nope, you win today’.

                Great fun.

  4. Very enjoyable crossword today with many fine clues. No idea who the setter is but they can take the Wednesday spot for ever. I enjoyed 13, 15, and 28a, 1, 6, and 8d. 16d is my favourite today as the only accessory I need are pockets in trousers and jackets : lots of them.

    Thanks to the setter, hope we see you again soon, and of course to the 2Ks.

  5. 2*/4.5*. I thought this was excellent, and my page is littered with ticks. My podium selection is 28a, 5d & 16d, but many others came into contention.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun and to the 2Ks for their review.

  6. Thought at first glance that this was going to be much more testing than it turned out to be – possibly even more gentle than yesterday’s grid, but very enjoyable, some quite superb surfaces, everything absolutely fair and flawlessly clued. I’d not heard of the play but it could have been nothing else. Brian may well cavil at 7d, but 21a should be right up his street: it’s all GK anyway, whether biblical or physical!

    As Stephen notes of his own page, mine too is covered in ticks. So, Hon Mentions to 13a, 15a & 28a; 5d, 6d & 7d.

    1* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the setter, and of course to the 2Ks.

  7. A very tricky guzzle, especially for a Wednesday, more because of the misdirection and oblique clueing than because of the General Knowledge, in my case, although I know some people will find the GK difficult. There were some very complex and clever clues, the best if them being 1d, 17d and 21a, which were all lego clues with the need for GK involved.18a, another lego clue, this time involving an American colloquialism was also quite good. Thanks to the Kiwis for the hints and to whoever the compiler was.

  8. I loved this, though I expect there will be comments about the degree of GK required. Most of the GK ones were very fairly clued, and I especially liked 21d in that category. Some though, eg 9d, did require knowledge. Perhaps I was just fortunate today. Favourite was 22d, supported on the podium by 13a and 17d. There could have been countless others. Thanks to our setter for the absolute pleasure and 2Kiwis for the parsing of 24d, which for some reason escaped me.

  9. A really top-notch puzzle – many thanks to our setter and 2ks.
    My ticks went to 4a, 26a, 6d and 16d but my favourite was 5d.

  10. Lots of tricky parsing today, particularly in the NE corner,took ages to spot 5d and this has to be my favourite followed by 10a. Thanks to 2K,s for the abbreviatIon in 11a,new to me.
    Liked the word play of 6d,
    Agree with SL that this is one of the best back pagers for a while.
    Failed to get the Quicky Pun as I put in snub for 3a! never mind.
    Going for a ***/*****

  11. Superb puzzle. Lots of general knowledge but when not sure eg 21d able to easily get from the clue. For once was even able to get a dreaded cricket clue! Like others have mentioned lots of good ones to choose, 13a, 26a, 27a, 28a – but winner is the 5d anagram. Thanks 2ks and the setter.

  12. Just two ** for difficulty? I thought it was more like on the harder side of three at least, especially getting into it (which I nearly didn’t, and was going to give up)
    But the answers finally started to come, and what a brilliant puzzle it turned out to be, best in a long while, really enjoyable and fun.
    A real general knowledge workout today, with many factual references. Top two clues for me were 28a and the very funny 13a. Well done to our setter, simply sublime.

  13. Magnificent. Pointless to name a favourite because I loved them all. It took me a minute to get on this setter’s wavelength but once I did, it was fun all the way. I agree with Huntsman, it did feel rather Robyn-esque. But I’m pretty much always wrong. Genuinely sad it’s over. Thanks to whomever, and the 2Ks of course.

  14. I do dislike the obsession that setters seem to have with lavatory humour – all a bit too ‘lads behind the bike shed’ for me so I was a bit grumpy whilst solving this one but it did have some redeeming features.
    Best clue for me was the brilliant anagram at 5d with 15a & 9d taking the reserve spots.

    Thanks to Robyn (presumably) and to our 2Ks for the review – enjoy your crisp morning walks.

  15. I’m sorry but I just could not get into this at all so go against the trend. Not my cup of tea.
    Thank you, Miss Tree Setter for the complete bashing – I must be out of sorts. Thanks to the 2Ks for making sense of it for me.

    1. I totally agree. I failed to find one answer after reading all the clues. My general knowledge has obviously left the building. My first answer was 13a which I wasn’t sure could be right! Never mind tomorrow is another day. Thankyou all.

    2. Thank you Steve, huge sigh of relief here when I read your comment. Thought it was just me.

    3. I have to go against the trend too. I have abandoned this puzzle and moved on to the Toughie, which seems easier. If this is the model back pager, I give up.

      1. There was a lot of GK in this, you either knew it or not. The clues did help with many, but it was still tricky.

    4. I have never known a guzzle that has polarised opinion so neatly. A Marmite Guzzle if you like but to paraphrase Bijou, “Today passes into yesterday and tomorrow becomes today”. 😊

  16. What a beauty!! Lots of cleverness, and a good challenge in terms of GK. A real pleasure to solve. Many thanks.

  17. Slightly late on parade after refusing to put down the latest gem from one of my favourite authors until I had reached the last page last night. A typical mid-week challenge from, presumably, Robyn – 2.5*/3*

    Candidates for favourite – 4a, 27a, 6d, and 17d – and the winner is 6d.

    Thanks to Robyn(?) and the 2Kiwis.

    1. Do you mind me asking who one of your favourite authors is? I’m always on the lookout for recommendations, this board is a great source of them.

      1. Canadian author Iona Whishaw, http://www.ionawhishaw.ca , has written/is still writing (I hope) a series of books, ten so far, about a former intelligence officer whose past won’t let her go. This is the first part of the synopsis of the first book in the series:

        It is 1946, and war-weary young ex-intelligence officer Lane Winslow leaves London to look for a fresh start. When she finds herself happily settled into a sleepy hamlet in the interior of British Columbia surrounded by a suitably eclectic cast of small-town characters she feels like she may finally be able to put her past to rest.

        I am not sure how readily available the books are in the UK but Audible and Kindle versions are probably available.

        1. I’ve read and enjoyed them all (except for ‘Framed in Fire’ which for some reason is not available on Kindle).

          1. Thanks Senf. I think I’ll try those as well. They sound like they are good fun and qjuite gripping just what I need, when I can’t sleep!

        2. Oh dear, I’ve added it to my list. I now have such a long list, will I live long enough?

        3. Just added to my list as well, although they will have to wait until I finish Ballybucklebo.

  18. Loved the crossword today – much to enjoy – 20a, 13a (for schoolboy humour) and my fave was 6d which I thought a perfect eg of lurking misdirection

  19. Rarely see a puzzle of
    This quality.
    Brilliance throughout,
    Surfaces cunningly concealed
    The witty clues.
    Managed to construct the hitherto
    Unknown to me physicist in 21d.
    Big smile at 28a.
    Much jostling on the platform
    With 6d just ahead as COTD.
    Thanks to the setter and the 2Kiwis.

      1. Thanks.
        For me, it seems to hold immediate meaning and attention rather than long sentences.

  20. Was starting to panic that I was not going to get started but once I got going everything started to fall into place.

    Lots of clever clues testing my GK but nothing I had not heard of before. Favourites include 13a, 15a and 21d among many others.

    Thanks to the impressive setter and the 2Ks for some clarifications.

  21. Found this Wednesday puzzle as tricky as last weeks, but this time I persevered and finished it. Was a struggle and some of the parsing is out of this world, but I managed.


    Favourites include 4a, 12a, 29a, 17d, 19d & 22d — with winner 22d

    Thanks to Robyn, (I assume), and 2K’s for hints/blog

  22. 2/4. Very pleasant puzzle which went in without a lot of pausing. My favourites were 10, 13, 27 & 29a and 16d. 13 has to be the winner as it appealed to my schoolboy sense of humour. Thanks to the setter and the 2Ks.

  23. Thanks to the setter and to the 2 Kiwis for the review and hints. A super puzzle with lots of misdirection and witty clues. Most enjoyable, was 3*/4* for me. Favourite was 4a.

  24. I won’t pretend I thought this was easy, but I did enjoy it hugely. Once I started getting checking letters from the gimmes, it started to fill out and loved it. I didn’t know 21d but the clue was perfect, then Mr. Google verified it. I got 9d on reading the clue, the brilliant Mr. Wilde, that opened up a lot. I bunged in 6d as a lurker, then when I was able to parse it, I thought it very clever, maybe my fave. There was lots to like, maybe it’s unfair to single out one.
    Thank you setter for the fun, tricky for a Wednesday but I got there. Thanks 2Kiwis for your hints and pics.

  25. Not my cup of tea at all, and I cannot in all honesty describe today’s setter as 15a, one of the few answers I got on my own. It was far too heavy on the GK side for me. But I often struggle when everyone else is full of praise, and I rapidly solve on days when most are grumbling, c’est la vie. But having solved today’s stinker Wordle and well on my way to the top level in Spelling Bee all is well. I would need far too many hints to progress with today’s backpager, so I’m off to do some pruning instead. Thanks to the setter and my hat’s off to the 2Kiwis.

  26. Brilliant puzzle for me, the best so far this year. So many really clever clues such as 8d, 15a, 21d and my fav 29a.
    Didnt know the play in 9a but the wordplay was good. Dont know the setter identity but would love some others in this vein.
    Thx to all

  27. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed this excellent puzzle. I have so many ticks on my printout I don’t know where to start! Perhaps I shall limit my selection to 10a, 13a, and 6d. That said, every clue was worth a mention!
    Many very appreciative thanks to the setter and to the 2Kiwis.

  28. I really enjoyed this too. We had a wonderful holiday in Lebanon several years ago and visited all the famous sites. Fabulous food, lovely people but the scariest driving I have ever come across. If the dual carriageway you are on forms a queue, shift into the carriageway in the opposite direction and go at high speed towards the oncoming traffic! I politely declined the offer to move to the front seat of the people carrier. Thanks to the setter and 2 Kiwis. I thought the Elizabeth 11 airport at Le Touquet was a joke but I’ve just seen it on the internet.

  29. Brilliant fun – 13a actually made me giggle
    Some other real belters also
    Ta to setter and the 2 K’s

  30. I am definitely in the ‘what a belter’ camp on this….reminded me a bit of the Dada of old with lots of lateral thought required…

  31. An excellent puzzle. Great clues, a tad above average difficulty for me and a very enjoyable solve. I was quite happy with the GK. Lots of ticks; fav: 5d. 3*/4.5*.

        1. I know random! Maybe it’s not the setters who have the obsession!! Didn’t even think it even qualified as toilet humour!

  32. Morning all.
    Feels like we have another good frost out there which promises another beautifully fine day.
    Looks like most people coped well with the GK here and really enjoyed this one although we did know there would be divided opinions on this. We appreciate the diversity of styles from the different setters so are happy solvers once again.

  33. Good evening
    Well, I can honestly say that this was one of the most challenging yet enjoyable crozzies I’ve come across in ages. Some superb misdirection, and some witty clueing; now, normally, I write a ! next to any clue that I think deserves a “Crikey!” or is a contender for COTD; today, I’ve got a !, a few !!s, and a !!! for 10a, which was the last one to fall, and which takes COTD today.
    Thank you 2Ks for the hints, although I’d award *** for difficulty, and to our compiler

  34. Many thanks indeed to the 2Ks for their very erudite exegesis, and of course to everyone coming here to comment. I thought that this puzzle was just a little spicier than the norm, but I kind of liked it the way it was (squaring good clue-writing with getting the difficulty level right is always a challenge, not to mention ultimately rather subjective: one does one’s best…). Anyway, I’m glad most people enjoyed it and, if it you found it an irritatingly tricksy little blighter, then I hope tomorrow’s will bring you more joy.
    Best to one and all!

    1. Thanks for popping in Robyn.
      When we were putting the blog together one of our team wanted to use a self portrait to illustrate 9d. The suggestion was overruled by the other team member.

  35. On first read through I only got a handful of answers but I persevered and then they came rolling in. Many thanks to Robyn and the 2K’s. Bit more of stretch than yesterday but enjoyable.

  36. Got nowhere with this this a.m. but this evening was a different story and it all gradually came together and I enjoyed it although perhaps it was rather more GK than Cryptic however that saved the day for me. SE corner was toughest. Thought the overuse of “Maybe ….” for several clues a bit unimaginative. I’m obviously being thick but where does “I won’t appeal” come into it in 2d. Too many good’uns to single out a Fav. Thank you Robyn and the 2Kiwis.

      1. Thanks Mark – so presumably the dead tree copy clue should read “IT wont appeal” rather than “I wont appeal”?

        1. I see what you mean Angelov, although I suspect the setter will say he is using a sort of personification like in the ‘what am I’ riddles. Like, I have 13 hearts, but no other organs? What am I? A pack of cards.

            1. I’m a day late on this crossword but share your frustration with this clue even though I eventually twigged it. I’s sore or I sore. Surely neither are grammatically correct? Sorry if it’s naughty step for me, but
              I am a day late and I couldn’t think of any other way to say this!

              1. There is no naughty step as it isn’t a prize puzzle, it’s a homophone (in hearing) so it is only the sound of the first part you are looking for. A homophone of yours truly or I = eye and a synonym of getting angry = sore. Put together you have an EYESORE that is not appealing. Grammar kind of goes out of the window when it is just sounds you are looking for

  37. Having only got to this late I rather struggled with it, I managed all bar 5 but then needed the hints to finish. I enjoyed the challenge but today I just did not have enough time to do this justice and my GK was not up to it.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to the 2 Kiwis for the essential hints.

  38. I’m in the Steve Cowling camp on this #15. Another toughie masquerading as a backpager so far this week, apart of yesterday’s. I’ve given up on today’s toughie until tomorrow. Maybe I’m losing it. I’ll leave it there.

  39. 3*/5* …
    liked 25A “A sailor reported for military operation (7)” …
    re the hint to 14A, eta is the 7th Greek letter, the answer is the 8th.

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