DT 30388 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30388

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30388

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday. I thought this puzzle was not as tricky as some we’ve seen on Fridays recently, but it came packed with smile-inducing penny drop moments.

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    In cult, coax converts to make regular payment (7,3)
COUNCIL TAX:  An anagram (converts to make) of IN CULT COAX 

6a    Religious circle held in thralldom? Nothing odd about that (4)
HALO:  The even letters ( … nothing odd about that) of THRALLDOM 

9a    Consume ecstasy and whiskey given to old Italian, one with power (10)
SUPERWOMAN:  Link together consume a liquid, the single letter for the drug ecstasy, and the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by whiskey inserted in an Italian from long ago 

10a   Work out info (4)
DOPE:  The answer split (2,2) could mean “work out” 

12a   Store guard that should lose weight after fifty (6)
LARDER:  After the Roman 50 comes a guard at a prison minus the single letter for weight (that should lose weight

13a   Rod Stewart's opening with 'Sailing' one highlight? (4,4)
POLE STAR:  Assemble a synonym of rod, the opening letter of STEWART, and a usual sailing person 

15a   Trouble afoot in Greece? (8,4)
ACHILLES HEEL:  A cryptic definition of a mythical Greek’s weakness 

18a   Classic dish in France is hot and cold joints (4,3,5)
FISH AND CHIPS:  Concatenate the IVR code for France, IS from the clue, the single letter for hot, AND from the clue, the single letter for cold, and some skeletal joints 

21a   Tap into reservoir, rig a terminal to get water (8)
IRRIGATE:  Following the wordplay instruction to tap into RESERVOIR RIG A TERMINAL will reveal that the answer is hidden there

22a   Arrayed in plaid, 10 T-shirted clowns (6)
IDIOTS:  The answer is hidden in (arrayed in) the remainder of the clue 

24a   20, being bald in the middle -- what of it? (4)
ALSO:  The middle letters of BALD with a short word meaning “what of it?” 

25a   Spin story about Abyssinian, say, getting in Trinity? (10)
TRIPLICATE:  Follow a spin in a car with an untrue story containing (about) what Abyssinian defines by example (say

26a   Tramp in trunks, cycling (4)
SLOG:  Some trunks from trees, with the letters rotated one place (cycling

27a   Love, for instance -- revolutionary sound of old rock (10)
GEOLOGICAL:  The reversal (revolutionary) of the fusion of the letter representing a love score in tennis and the abbreviation for “for instance” or “for example” is followed by sound or sensible 



1d    Keep French article under shed (6)
CASTLE:  A French grammatical article follows shed or throw 

2d    United Kingdom lacking opening for judge (6)
UMPIRE:  The single letter for united is followed by a big kingdom minus its first letter (lacking opening

3d    Walker's crisp nuisance tailed by old coppers in trade hall (4,8)
CORN EXCHANGE:  A “crisp nuisance” that might afflict a walker is followed by old or former and coppers or coins 

4d    Getting held up, maybe saw raid (4)
LOOT:  The reversal (getting held up, in a down clue) of what a saw defines by example (maybe

5d    Religious figures edited a holy atlas (10)
AYATOLLAHS:  An anagram (edited) of A HOLY ATLAS 

7d    Religious characters seen in station with drinks round (8)
APOSTLES:  Station or job inserted in (with … around) some alcoholic drinks 

8d    Cancel, on principle! (8)
OVERRULE:  Synonyms of on and of principle 

11d   Cheer up, having left out sweet food (5,7)
PEASE PUDDING:  Cheer up or satisfy minus the single letter for left (having left out) is followed by a sweet that’s a dessert 

14d   Flat pastry and fruit go wrong when served up (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE:  Put together a type of pastry, a fruit that’s often dried, and the reversal (when served up, in a down clue) of go wrong or make a mistake 

16d   Sahara-dwellers, say, disguised in a scarf (8)
AFRICANS:  An anagram (disguised) of IN A SCARF. The say indicates that the definition is by example 

17d   English journalists tucking into extremely strong drink (8)
ESPRESSO:  The single letter for English is followed by another word for journalists inserted in (tucking into) extremely or very 

19d   A bunch of climbing acacia, something that's colourful (6)
MOSAIC:  The answer is found hidden in the reversal of (a bunch of climbing … , in a down clue) ACACIA SOMETHING 

20d   Too smart, seeing answer first (2,4)
AS WELL:  After the single letter for answer comes a smart or stylish 

23d   Stone that's round, round, round (4)
OPAL:  The round letter followed by the reversal (round) of a round or circuit 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was 3d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  HARE + RAYS + SING = HAIR-RAISING

91 comments on “DT 30388

  1. Well, I’m worn out after that, is it time for a beer yet?
    That took about three times longer than the usual Friday puzzles, and yet again damn near lobbed the towel in after only about a third done, but took heart after getting both the three word clues, and trudged slowly towards the end.
    Still can’t fully see how 25a pans out, so will have a decko at the hints to see what’s made of it. Clue of the day has just got to be 10a for the fantastic simplicity, once, and I stress once, you finally see it. Off for a spin on the bike now to clear the brain, chapeau setter, great fun….. eventually.

    1. I had two gorgeous long haired Abyssinians, said to be the cats most like dogs! And the story was a fib.

      1. We had two Tonkinese, also claimed to be the cats who think they are dogs, and it was absolutely true.

    2. For me, a very tough challenge which I eventually completed but only with the copious use of electronic aids. Perhaps I can blame my performance on Covid brain fog, having contracted the
      bug again a year after my first encounter. I enjoyed what I could do on my own and even what I needed help to do. Thanks to Zandio and Mr K.

      P.S. Mr K, your hint for 18a only accounts for one of the two temperatures present.

  2. Phew. What a struggle today. Solved all but 25 across and needed the hints for that. Classic misdirection. Thought it began with Pr for spin. Otherwise fairly clued but very tricky.

  3. 4*/3*. The top half went in quite smoothly but I really struggled with the bottom half.

    For me, describing the first word of 3d as a “crisp nuisance” is too much of a stretch.

    10a was my favourite with 18a runner-up.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K. Superb cat pics!

    1. I’m delighted someone else agrees re 3d – I thought I was just being grumpy! Old coppers is absolutely fine but “walker’s crisp nuisance” is pushing it, I think. And it doesn’t even make for a great surface. But it was suitably Friday-ish and fun, albeit not exactly “smile-inducing” for me. Thanks to setter, and Mr K, of course.

        1. Agree, it was best to ignore the clue completely. Once I figured out what was the definition it was plain sailing.

  4. I really enjoyed this, making three top-notch back-pagers on the bounce.
    Lots of invention and misdirection in the wordplay. As ever with this setter a plethora of ticked clues but I’ll highlight 12,13&18a plus 8&11d with a nod to the two linked clues in the south. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  5. Very excited to have received the mythical pen and notepad from The Telegraph yesterday. Feel slightly guilty as I only submitted due to being on holiday and doing the crossword online rather than on paper. Sorry Steve C, but it does prove that they are out there at least.
    Now on to today’s puzzle.

    1. Oh well done! Join the Elite Club. We winners if The Mythical must stick together and flash our pens.

    2. Congratulations – at least you have a photo to remember (and prove!) yours by in years to come – without having done so I gave mine to my mother, and so only have the memory of The Mythical to keep me warm at night!

    3. There is no justice in this world! I think I will have to glue myself to the doors of Telegraph Towers until I am given The Mythical!

      Congratulations, GJR. :good:

      1. Console yourself, in the unlikely event that I finished and submitted promptly, those living outside the UK are not allowed to receive the one…. Here’s hoping there is one for you soon.

  6. Loved it.

    A Friday classic where you need to zone in and block out what’s going on around you.

    Lots of lego, reverse, upside-down, hokey cokey action which is definitely not for the faint-hearted.

    My LOI was 26a which is often the case. Those pesky four letter clues. Grrrr…

    My podium is 6a for using the word thralldom (!), 5d (holy atlas is hilarious) with the winner, surprisingly, being a four letter jobbie…10a. Very nice.

    Many thanks to Mr K and I’m guessing, Zandio.


  7. Like Tipcat, I nearly threw in the towel, but, after a couple of breaks tomake Him’s breakfast, then hang the bedlinen out to dry, cery slowly it fell into place. Whilst some of the clues were very clever, it was too much of a slog to be an enjoyable guzzle. I liked the cryptic definition T15a,, the lurker at 21a, the lego clue at 9a and the anagram at 5d. I did get atisfaction out of finishing this guzzle but ended up with 9 clues in which I had to check the parsing in Mr K’s excellent t hints. Thanks , Mr K for those and for the plethora of pussycats this week. Thanks to the compiler, it was vertainly a challenge and a half but my brain feels as if it’s been rurned inside out so I’m off for aa rest now

  8. I really enjoyed this puzzle! 10a raised an extra smile. Great mixture of misdirection, anagrams and a clever lurker.
    Fun all the way.
    Thanks to setter and others.

  9. A real head scratcher to finish off the week which was somewhat short on enjoyment. So, assuming that the setter is a member of the Friday triumvirate, with a proXimal last Friday and Silvanus ‘moonlighting’ yesterday, this is almost certainly a Zandio production – 4*/2.5*

    No standout favourite, but smiles for 10a, 15a, and 25a.

    Thanks to Zandio, or whomsoever if it is not he, and thanks to Mr K.

  10. This was a struggle from the start, though I peaked too soon by getting 1a and 6a straight away along with 3d, which we had a couple of weeks ago. From then on the anagrams,along with the Greek’s foot affliction and our go to Saturday night takeaway helped me along, but the pesky four letter ones were a nuisance. For me there were a few strange synonyms, eg please for cheer up ( though I suppose,used as a verb….). Favourite today was 10a, once the penny dropped. I also liked 25a and 14d. Thanks to our setter for the challenge and Mr K for the return of the kitty pics.

  11. Couldn’t have done this without you, thank you – too obscure for me. Loved all the cats!

  12. Completed but not with much enthusiasm, didn’t think this one could hold a candle to yesterday’s back-pager. No particular favourite but 10a raised a smile.

    Thanks to Zandio and to Mr K plus felines (hurrah!) for the review. I well remember having some cats who would only drink from a dripping tap!

    1. Book Recommendation:

      I picked up “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt when I was looking for a third book as Sainsbury’s have a Three for £8 offer on some paperbacks, and was intrigued by the blurb

      I’d recommend you add it to your book pile

      1. Thanks for that CS, I’ll pass it on to the Book Group. No one really liked my choice last month, Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan. 😟

    2. My daughter has a ginger cat who insists on pushing his water bowl around the house, slopping water everywhere. I suggested she put it in the bathtub (it’s downstairs) and problem solved.

  13. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the time to solve, analyse and discuss. I usually wait until later in the day to say hello but I’m out and about today so I’ll say hi while I can.
    Can I suggest a bit of music? I write all my clues in cafes, and I was working (not very successfully!) in a seafront cocktail bar yesterday when this came on. A little taste of summer from here at the seaside…
    Have a great weekend.

    1. You really pushed me on this one! Sheer genius in black and white squares. I confess to going a bit haywire by putting in Athletes Foot to begin with , thinking it might be vaguely Olympian! Many thanks.

      1. Lovely song Zandio – very nostalgic for me – thanks for that and for a great crossword too! Thanks also to Mr K.

  14. I found this a bit of a 26a today, especially the four letter answers. The short ones often prove the most difficult. I always forget that the answer to 10a also means info and for the life of me I can’t parse 24a, even with Mr K’s hints. Some fun clues and pleasing penny drop moments, like 9a, 25a, 27a. COTD for me was the fun 18a with its excellent surface read. Thanks Zandia for a real Friday tester and thanks Mr K for the hints.

    1. Hi PB
      24a…you have to realise that the solution to 24a is a synonym of 20d, not a word meaning twenty. I’m guessing that’s where you’re confused?

      1. 24a , I think 20 being bald in the middle refers to 20d a(swel)l and so (what of it) giving also.

            1. 20 (which you’ll notice that Mr K has underlined) is the definition and refers to 20d. ‘Also’ the answer here is a synonym of the 20d answer ‘as well’.

  15. I found this genuinely tricky for a Friday, but nicely rewarding to complete. Sure, one or two iffy surfaces, but they were outnumbered by some excellent clues, my favourite of which was 10a, my final entry.

    My thanks to Zandio for the cranial workout, and Mr K.

  16. Tricky little beast. Just couldn’t get on to to the setters wavelength so needed the hints to explain my answers to 2d, 3d, 4d, 17d, 24a, 26a, 13a and 25a. Thought 23d was poor but really liked 18a and 14d, both very clever clues.
    Not my fav puzzle with far too many very complex clues. Strangely the religious clues didn’t bother me today.
    Thx for the hints

  17. Another tough to get through Friday puzzle for me. Many clues that I can’t parse as well as some that went in ok … but they were far and few between.

    3.5*/2.5* for me

    Favourites include 13a, 18a, 22a, 7d & 11d — with winner 18a and 22a runner-up

    Thanks to Zandio and Mr K for hints/blog

  18. Oh dear, two in one week that I found just about impenetrable. Fair enough, it is Friday but I usually solve more than two or three.
    Thank you, Zandio but you beat me fair and square today. Thank you Mr. K. for the hints and the fabulous pusskits.

  19. Tricky parsing again for this Friday puzzle which took a while to complete, searching for a flat pastry for last in14d until the penny dropped!
    Favourite was 25a,spot on for Mr K no doubt, next were 9a and 4d.
    Going for a ***/****

  20. Quite a tricky puzzle as is appropriate for a Friday – thanks to Zandio and Mr K.
    I agree with those who didn’t much like “Walker’s crisp nuisance” in 3d (not Gary Lineker, then!).
    I ticked 6a, 15a and 11d with my favourite being the very neat 10a.

    1. “Walker’s crisp nuisance” in 3d (not Gary Lineker, then!)
      🤣🤣🤣 My thoughts exactly!

  21. Most of it was too difficult for me and I still don’t understand the first word of the answer to 3d. 14d was my favourite by miles. Thanks for all the hints

    1. The wordplay is a cryptic allusion to a hard growth on one’s foot that hinders walking.

  22. Hard work today and one could-not-parse!
    Usually not a fan of 4 letter clues, and the bunch today hit the high and low spots. 10a was almost my first in, and my could not parse was 26a, so thanks MrK!
    Liked 14d and 24a, but top spot has to go to 22a, the apocryphal analysis code of the remote IT technician when identifying a problem as being between chair and screen or keyboard.
    Thanks to Zandio and to Mr K.

  23. Woohoo, finally I have a working printer again. Almost forgotten what a crossword is! Coffee on and pen ready 😁

  24. Could not get on Zandio’s wavelength today (but thanks anyway!) and struggled with this one. Favourite was 15a.

    Thanks to Mr K for much needed help.

  25. Well that was a proper end of week challenge, and no mistake! Some lovely twisty and teasing clues, amusing surface reads (though I did feel that in getting the surface of 3d, with the doubtless intended suggestion of Mr Lineker, the clue itself suffered somewhat) and a great variety of clue types. Lots of satisfaction when the last clue was completed. Hon Mentions for me to 10a, 18a and 23d.

    4* / 3.5*

    Many thanks indeed to Zandio and to MrK

  26. I needed you, Mr Kay, especially for the pesky four letter jobs. Thanks for the delicious kitties as well. Some wonderful misdirections here, I did laugh at the flat pastry and the classic French dish. Thanks again Zandio.
    Missed yesterday as our Rotary Wives Group went on a boat trip from St Ives, herons, cygnets, kingfishers and total peace. Blissful.
    And so it is the weekend once more!

    1. We had our boat moored at Upware and often frequented St Ives – we really miss her but jumping on and off became a problem. Have looked into renting a narrowboat from Ely to re-live the good times.

  27. Scuppered. Like an idiot I entered a favourite pub at 3d, the wrong trade hall. Lazily assumed it would parse itself given time. So my last one in 9a was not in at all, despite several chestnutty bits of lego.
    I did enjoy the struggle and the kitties so thanks Zandio & MrK.

  28. Got seven at the first look and then went on a bike ride and came back to have another go Unlike others this time lapse did nothing for me and I put in two I was unsure about and came here to have my puzzle solving weaknesses shown clearly.

    Thanks to Mr K for his hints which showed I would only have finished this by using a checking button letter by letter. So many thanks to you Mr K. I must try to do the puzzle in a cafe to see if Zandio’s method of setting is also useful for solving.

    Now back to the much more enjoyable gardening for the rest of the afternoon. Have a good weekend everyone.

  29. Can’t claim this as all my own work as I had to seek considerable outside help particularly in the NE where 13a foxed me. IMHO one or two iffy clues including 23d and 26a (not necessarily trunks). Fav was the precise 10a. Thank you Zandio and MrK.

  30. Needed the hints to parse 10a and 26a i just couldn’t see them. The rest were reasonably straightforward for a Friday. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to Zandio and Mr. K.

  31. Hugely relieved to find this one is way more doable than yesterday which I did not like at all. Got several long answers right away which is always helpful, until they weren’t. From then on, with the help of only the picture hints (the cats are always worth a visit) and working with the checkers, I was able to finish. But several answers were reached by ignoring the clues which were off the wall in some cases, IMHO. But for a Friday I rather enjoyed today’s challenge. Interesting to learn that these are not all composed in some dusty study. Thanks Zandio and Mr K.

  32. A fine puzzle to end the week.

    Completed about a third and finished when I got back from the estate where I help in the garden several times a week. We started today by demolishing yesterday’s work on a new shed and doing it correctly this time.
    Like others, I am not too keen on the clueing of the first word of 3d.
    Favourites are 10a, 15a and the clever 23d which doesn’t seem to be getting many votes.
    Thanks to Zandio and Mr K for several explanations.

  33. Good afternoon
    I’m glad I’m off today; there’s no way I could have done battle with the dreaded Mind Of Zandio if I couldn’t have given the crozzie my full attention this afty. It was a battle – I’m pleased to say I’ve made it, but by the cringe! – it’s taken some doing.
    Plenty of contenders for COTD; I think 26a takes it. A special mensh for 10a & 13a…and a definite “CRIKEY!” for 22a – I took the ’10’ in the clue to be a reference to the solution to 10a, so off I went on the wildest of goose chases, until the penny finally dropped! Superb piece of misdirection!
    Many thanks to the Mind of Zandio and to Mr K.

  34. I found this easier than yesterdays, I only managed ten answers for that. Easier but not easy ,and I needed a couple of hints to finally finish it, a few hmmms along the way but it’s crossword land so🤷‍♂️. Thanks to all.

  35. Took ages to get into this but very enjoyable. LOI was the little 10a with a huge penny drop moment. Thanks to all, especially for the pusskin pics. I don’t often enter the competition for the Mythical but realise I must have always been disqualified as I have failed to put my county, just my postcode. Still at least it gives SC a better chance!

  36. I messed up by not reading clue 13 correctly and put in ROCK STAR took a time to get it right.

  37. Never tried 11d and we will cook it next week, thank you Zandio for a tough challenge and MrK for all the help

  38. A very rare
    DNF, beaten by 13 and
    26a, Thought the latter
    a bit stretched, but understood
    The rationale of cycling.
    Steady solve.otherwise.
    Thanks Zandio and Mr K.

  39. Needed the hints for 10a and 27a, but a doddle compared to yesterday.

    I have not used the second part of 10a for decades. I use PT, so I have to remind my brain about what school children did back in the olden days.

    I had all but the 1st and 3rd letters of 27a and still needed the hint. Good misdirection by the setter, you pesky critter!

    Thanks to all.

    1. Funnily enough we used PT in my day, very much of yore. It’s only now in Xwordland that I have to remember it as Phys Ed.

  40. What a fantastic puzzle!! In places it took me near the limit of unaided solving, and there were a few clues that without checkers would almost certainly have been a lost cause…. Always fail to spot what is going on with the ‘cycling’ prompt in 26a, so though put in the right answer had little idea of how it worked. Top notch; many thanks.

  41. I have a few more clues to go, I popped on to see if I should be struggling and can see this one has challenged many of the experts. I rather suspect I will need the hints but will take one more look before giving in. For me this is at the top end of my abilities but I have enjoyed battling with it.

    Many thanks to Zandio for the challenge and to Mr k for the hints which I will most definitely need either to finish or clarify my answers

  42. Late to comment but solved this early doors today. Very enjoyable indeed & the 3rd excellent guzzle on the trot. Found it more straightforward than I often do with Zandio & it was really only last in 26a (trunks context) that caused a major head scratch. Like some others I thought walker’s crisp nuisance a bit of a stretch once I’d pegged it but that was my only gripe. Plenty of ticks – 9,10,15,18,25&27a plus 11&14d.
    Thanks to Zandio & for popping in & to Mr K for the review & pics

  43. This was not DNF but almost did not start. This was way beyond my pay station. Will now enjoy the hints and comments (and maybe discover what Brian thought of 3 clues with the word religious in them?). Thanks to all.

  44. Tougher than a Toughie for me and well above my pay grade. Thanks for the explanations MR K, but I still struggled to understand some of them.
    There’s always another day.

  45. Saved this one for the BH weekend. Think you need to upgrade your difficulty grading and lower your enjoyment one! Really hard work and one where you have the answer but are still not sure it’s right.

    1. You’ve lengthened your alias so this needed moderation. Both versions of your alias will work from now on.

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