DT 30390 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30390

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30390

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Ottawa, where I have been hunkered down at home for most of the past week dealing with my second bout of Covid – which ironically struck almost a year to the day after my first bout. Fortunately, I had a pretty mild case so my recovery has been quite quick.

While solving this puzzle, I began to doubt whether it was a Campbell offering. However, on the strength of the second pun, I will attribute it to him. I found the puzzle to be more difficult than usual but perhaps that is largely down to Covid brain fog.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Mad reason for moving from place to place (10)
LOCOMOTIVE — string together synonyms for mad and reason; to accord with the definition, the answer is actually an adjective though we are more likely to know it as a noun (as illustrated)

6a   Cost of travel and food (4)
FARE — double definition

10a   Controls in Spitfire inspected (5)
REINS — a lurker concealed in the final two words of the clue

11a   Fair at English, one taking an examination (9)
CANDIDATE — a charade of fair or forthright, AT from the clue, and the single letter for English

12a   Large crowd heard in front of giant billboard (8)
HOARDING — link together a word that sounds like a large crowd, IN from the clue, and the initial letter of (front of) GIANT

13a   Open‘s finished — amateur’s fourth (5)
OVERT — finished or complete and the fourth letter of AMATEUR

15a   Composer, shortly after tea, gets a white wine (7)
CHABLIS — the truncated name of an English composer follows a slang name for tea

17a   Nuclear device, American, described by minister (7)
REACTOR — the single letter for American surrounded by (described by) an Anglican minister

19a   See husband in Christmas show close to grim ghost (7)
PHANTOM — insert the genealogical abbreviation for husband into a shortened name for a Christmas show and append the final letter of (close to) GRIM

21a   Fine offer excited Italian (7)
FORFEIT — an anagram (excited) of OFFER followed by the two-letter short form for Italian (either the language or the vermouth)

22a   Allow female relative time (5)
GRANT — an elderly female relative and the physics symbol for time

24a   Glove female relative left in pocket (8)
GAUNTLET — a female relative from the generation after the one in 22a and the single letter for left contained in pocket or obtain

27a   Over in a group that’s marooned (9)
ABANDONED — over or complete contained in A from the clue and a group that might be musical

28a   Magnificent run out set recalled (5)
ROYAL — the cricket notation for ‘run out’ and a reversal of set or place

29a   Regular flat (4)
EVEN — double definition

30a   An act with cross somehow regarded as holy (10)
SACROSANCT — an anagram (somehow) of AN ACT CROSS


1d   Poet dropping in for a bit of harmless fun (4)
LARK — an English poet with IN removed from the end of his name

2d   Oil patch spread around a banger (9)
CHIPOLATA — an anagram (spread) of OIL PATCH enveloping (around) A from the clue

3d   Endless grief for Scrooge, perhaps (5)
MISER — a synonym of grief with the final letter removed

4d   Diplomacy is to adopt Charlie’s strategy (7)
TACTICS — diplomacy followed by IS from the clue wrapped around the letter that Charlie represents in the radio spelling alphabet

5d   Might this be given a shaking before start of repast? (7)
VINEGAR — an anagram (shaking) of GIVEN A followed by the initial letter of (start of) REPAST; in this all-in-one clue, the entire clue also serves as an extended definition

7d   Saw a daughter mature (5)
ADAGE — A from the clue, the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, and mature or ripen; saw, here, is not a tool

8d   Those qualified to vote choose to speak (10)
ELECTORATE — join words meaning choose and speak in a formal manner

9d   Old fogey ruins a do, sadly (8)
DINOSAUR — an anagram (sadly) of RUINS A DO

14d   Incorrigible scoundrel beginning to seduce head girl (10)
SCAPEGRACE — the beginning letter of SEDUCE, a geographical head, and a girl’s name

16d   Learner driver with insolent manner, reportedly, produces licence (8)
LATITUDE — the usual single letter for learner driver followed by what sounds like an informal term for an insolent manner

18d   See, in dubious tavern, a Bond villain (9)
TREVELYAN — the three-letter ecclesiastical see beloved by setters in an anagram (dubious) of TAVERN

20d   Scholar’s written about spy in battle (7)
MAGENTA — a scholar with an advanced arts degree containing another term for a spy (one often accompanied by ‘secret’)

21d   Go down for father? (7)
FOUNDER — double definition, the first meaning to sink

23d   Conscious of a conflict with Spain (5)
AWARE — A from the clue, an armed conflict, and the IVR code for Spain

25d   Names such as Hilary and the like? (5)
TERMS — double definition, the second referring to a period of study at Oxford

26d   Conspiracy of fifty on board vessel (4)
PLOT — the Roman numeral for fifty in a kitchen vessel

My clue of the day is 5d (where I only twigged to the wordplay as I was composing the review).

Quickie Pun (Top Row): SUN + IAN + SHARE = SONNY AND CHER

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : BEAUX + MAY + CUR = BOW MAKER

You can find out more about the answer to the bottom pun here.

71 comments on “DT 30390

  1. Once again, I’m not sure this is a Campbell production. The bottom “pun” doesn’t work that well for me and the cryptic didn’t feel like one of his. Apart from a couple that held me up, it was enjoyable. Not being au fait with Bond villains, I had to use electrons for 18d, which annoyed me because all the signposts were in the clue. I should have persevered with it. I also did not know the battle in 20d nor the incorrigible scoundrel in 14d. In fact, for the latter I had “scapegoats” but didn’t enter it because I could not parse it. 15a is a favourite and I have a case of it for when our daughter and son-in-law come over from Melbourne next month. My COTD is 15d because of the huge dropping coin it produced.

    My thanks to Campbell if it is he or to whomsoever if it is not. Thank you, Falcon for the hints.

    1. I knew the Bond villain but, idiot that I am, bunged it in without working from the clue. I spelt it with an “i” instead of the “y” from the See, which meant 28a was a DNF. Very cross with me.

  2. A real game of two halves for me, got fooled into thinking it was going to be a piece of cake….until the lower half came along, which took about four times as long as the upper. Got through it though, admittedly having to look up 20d to check, as never heard of it before. Good honest fun though, liked 1a and 30a, ta to setter today.

  3. Like Sreve, I didn’t know who the Bond villain was but managed to work it out. The battle was one I vaguely remembered from O-level 19th century European History. A lot of the other clues were pretty straightforward but not really typical of a Campbell puzzle. I dis like 20d, 5d, 14a and12a. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and get well soon. I had Covid myself in February and can’t imagine trying to do the hints feeling so wretched thanks also to the compiler, whether Campbell or not.

  4. Very enjoyable with clever wordplay throughout.
    A couple of points. I’m all for giving setters creative licence but I just think using X’s fourth to clue the fourth letter of a word is a step too far, where does it end? I’d not heard of the scoundrel at 16d (no surprise to see it listed in Oxford languages as archaic) but checkers and wordplay were sympathetic. Lots to like though, I’ll mention 1,5&16d.
    Many thanks to the setter and Falcon I have to say that picture of the sausages is hardly likely to tempt any vegetarians back to meat!

  5. I found this quite hard…but got there in the end after a break to put out washing …..sadly by the looks of the sky it will come in again soon……
    Had to check on the Bond villain ….haven’t watched a Bond film or read a book since I was a teenager and I’m not admitting how long ago that was….but the letters formed a name that sounded right.

    Last one in and my favourite 1d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon
    Sorry to hear about your covid, Falcon. Hope you feel a lot better very soon.

  6. Well of course 14d ‘should’ be nominated for THE LIST, but as it is such a delightful word, it shall be spared. I intend to use it at every available opportunity.
    “I’m sorry sir, we are out of tea cakes today…”
    “Why! You are nothing but a simpering 14d! Be off with you!”

    Our visit to a huge garden centre went along the lines of many of the predictions posted here yesterday. The place consisted of an enormous cafe, a display of garden rooms and log cabins, an ice cream stall, an area selling groceries and American products, exotic candles, a bloke flogging hot tubs, another (annoying) chap selling gazebos, clothing concessions, and shelves stacked with every twee item you could ever imagine.
    About 5% of the place was dedicated to plants, which were spectacularly overpriced. Most people seemed to be leaving with knick-knacks and ice creams. We left plant free, but with (H) a sorbet cone, and (me) a small tub of mint choc chip ice cream.

    Thanks to Campbell and The Bird Of Prey – get well soon to the latter!

    1. Entertaining. I know the name of another composer now. Don’t really get 25d. Maybe because it’s Monday morning and I’ve been up all night with storms.

  7. What a mixed bag. Rattled through the chaff but never heard of 14d nor knew 20d but had to look up my guesses. All time out.
    A not very rewarding puzzle but a good excuse for a second coffee?
    Thanks to setter.

  8. This was certainly a degree or two harder than what we usually see on a Monday, but even the odd obscurity was fairly and sympathetically clued. Lots to admire this morning, with 1d to the fore.

    Thanks to Campbell, if it was he, and to Falcon. I hope you recover soon.

  9. Like our blogger, while solving, I was having serious doubts about this being a Campbell production and whether there was a bottom pun or not didn’t help. However, the Wikipedia reference convinced me that the pun exists, so:

    It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: but it was more challenging than usual – 3*/3.5*

    My knowledge of Bond villains after Blofeld and Goldfinger is non-existent so e-help was required and having ‘assembled’ 14d a BRB check was required.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 15a, and 24a – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  10. The top half of this puzzle went in with little problem, although I didn’t see the anagram at 5d at all – very clever wordplay. The bottom half was another story. Like others I had never heard of 14d and the random girl’s name didn’t help. The battle also needéd confirmation along with the Bond villain. As to whether or not this is a Campbell offering I’ll leave that debate to others this week. No overall favourite today, but I did like 1d, 25d and the misdirection in the anagram at 21a. Thanks to the compiler and Falcon – get well soon!

  11. Add me to those not knowing the Bond villain (anyone not in the Connery era is a mystery to me). This didn’t seem quite as enjoyable as our normal Monday 6a. Thanks to the setter and Falcon (get well soon!).
    The clues I liked best were 15a, 1d and 21d.

  12. 2.5*/3*. I thought this was reasonably enjoyable although, for me, 14d is a poor clue for a very obscure word using a vague girl’s name.

    I have said it before and probably will need to again but, even though various thesauri seem to think otherwise, 4d is not synonymous with strategy in my book.

    My top two were 15a & 1d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    1. I’m curious as to why not RD ? Is the tactic of bowling short to a batsman prone to the injudicious hook not the strategy employed to get him out ?

      1. As I understand it, a strategy is a long term plan, tactics are the individual steps taken to achieve the plan.

        1. ‘What’s the strategy with this batsman?’ and ‘What are the tactics with this batsman?’ most definitely mean the same thing.

          1. As I understand it, the art of fighting a battle itself was historically labelled (and confined to) ‘tactics’, whereas more recently the ways of making the fight take place under the most favourable circumstances (or winning without one), as well as utilizing victory, was given a new name – ‘strategy’. So, if your strategy to win the game is Bazball, but you have no tactics, you will be relying on luck (bowling random balls). If you have no strategy, you will lack preparation, focus and coherence and will be less likely to use the best tactics on the field (to include bowling some short balls). This initially military terminology has carried over into other areas such as business, where I believe the overall plan is regarded as the strategy and the steps on the way are tactics.

            1. Interesting. I think Daisy, who as the blog knows is the undisputed expert on all things crickety, needs to have the last say

            2. Interesting stuff, Mark.

              I’ve given an example where the words are interchangeable, i.e a question posed by the bowler to their captain (or the other way round) when a new batter comes to the wicket.

              1. Yes Tom, but the captain/bowler would be using the word ‘strategy’ incorrectly, even though the captain/bowler would probably know what was meant. What happens on the field of crickety battle is all tactics. For example, there are strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. A tactical nuclear weapon is small and used on the battlefield against army units. A strategic nuclear weapon is larger and deployed away from the battlefield, e.g. to destroy manufacturing areas, etc.

                1. Whether the bowler/captain is using it incorrectly is irrelevant. It’s a term that’s been used for yonks, certainly since I donned my whites for the first time 50 years ago.

                  It’s a very common term that is used by all cricketers. Hence it being an entry in dictionaries which is a record of words in common parlance.

                  There are thousands of entries in the dictionary that have drifted from their original meanings and formed into alternative ones.

              2. Interestingly though, I am not entirely sure, but I suspect the word ‘stratagem’, which is older than ‘strategy’, can describe a cunning tactic.

        2. I agree Mark. Rather like recently when park was said to be field. One is not at all like the other.

  13. This was a hoot and perfect for a Bank Holiday. Nicely constructed clues with no real problems.

    I do so love a bit of obscure knowledge and the bounder, Bond baddie and battle didn’t disappoint.

    My three faves are 1d (such a good word), 18d and 30a.

    I never understand people’s beef with names when there are bigger categories (birds, US states abbreviations, fish, fauna, flora) that they don’t have a problem with.

    Many thanks to Falcon and the compiler.


  14. Good Monday fun crossword with only minor quibbles over 14d (never heard of the word) and 18d (simply because there were far better Bond villains than this one – was he played by Sean Bean?). CITD for me 25d – very clever. Thanks to the setter and the COVID stricken Falcon. Now to enjoy the Bank Holiday sunshine.

    1. Yes, the Bond villain was played by Sean Bean. By the way, the choice of name for the character seems to be a bit of filmmaker’s revenge. John Trevelyan, who headed the Britisn Board of Film Censors in the 60s, had been highly critical of the early Bond films.

  15. Oh dear, not very
    But finished unaided apart
    From experimenting with
    Checking letters of 14d.
    Chuffed that 20d was correctly
    Constructed, hitherto
    An unknown battle to me.
    Big smile at 16d
    7a brilliant, my COTD
    Thanks Campbell and Falcon.

  16. Obscure Bond villains and other incorrigibles apart the rest went smoothly, I did wonder if the battle was a bit of a stretch but I seem to recall it (Napoleonic I believe)
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon
    A bit of a disaster here though as my car has broken down. The failure of a little pipe behind the radiator dumped the coolant on the road and rendered us immobile. Three hours later the AA brought us home but at least it gave me time to look at the crossword! My next problem is getting to work in the morning, I better check my pushbike is still ok

        1. I think Napoleon the bthird and trhe French army were allies of Piedmont-Sardinia , who were fighting for their independence from the Austrian Empire.

    1. Oh dear. What a horrible thing to happen. Hope it was not on the side of a motorway! Although I would be even more scared if it was a quiet country lane. I have finished yesterdays toughie apart from 4a so feeling quite chuffed.

      1. Start with we from the clue add a Bishop and some attendants – you are reading one of Big Daves 4a right now

        1. Stuck on A19 but managed to crawl off to a nearby industrial estate. I had planned a nice trip out with Mama Bee but it was a disaster

  17. Not a good start to the week for me with this, what seems to be a non-Campbell puzzle today. Top was Ok but bottom took a lot of head scratching. Maybe it is a Campbell, but certainly not his usual fare. Very un-Campbell like to me.

    3.5*/2.5* for me

    Favourites were 10a, 13a, 17a & 19a with no clear winner.

    Thanks to setter and Falcon for hints/blog

  18. That will teach me not to assume I can dash off the Monday back-pager after an ‘otherwise engaged’ morning! Thinking cap definitely required for some of the clues and I still needed to double-check on the battle and the Bond villain.
    Top two for me were 15a & 1d with the lesser places going to 12&30a.

    Thanks to our setter – didn’t ‘feel’ like a Campbell puzzle – and to Falcon whom I hope is fully recovered.

  19. I agree that it was probably a Campbell as I tend to find his puzzles rather poor. An obscure term in 14d, a stretched synonym in 2 and a battle very few will have heard of in 20d are all imho very poor clues.
    Thx for the hints

  20. Definitely a puzzle of two halves – completed top half in approximately *******, second half about *****!! Loved the new (to me) word “scapegrace” so used some of my time researching its origin. Like several others remarked, it definitely didn’t feel like a Campbell puzzle but hope we manage to find out later. COTD definitely 14d with15a, 30a and 8d also strong contenders. Thanks to Falcon and the setter.

    [Please don’t quote solving times for the reasons given in item 6 of the site’s Comment Etiquette]

  21. As for several other bloggers the North instilled a false sense of security in me since the South was a completely different kettle of fish. Thought 5d rather contrived. I agree with Jane in nominating 1d and 15a as joint Favs. 14d a new one on me. 18d completely unknown to me as my knowledge of James Bond is limited but the blank meant I was led to try regal for 28a until the proverbial penny dropped. Thank you Campbell (?) and Falcon (hope you shake off the dreaded lurgy soon).

  22. The first two went in straight away – good sign – and I ploughed through to the end with a bit of head scratching. Off to DD2 for very late lunch/very early dinner, in other words it sounds like roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for tea. Anyway, no cooking 😊
    Next thing we know it will be Christmas.
    Many thanks to Messrs Setter and Falcon – I am glad to hear you are feeling better. I suppose it will be boosters again soon. It’s all go.
    Oh, and favourite is the lovely bird ascending.

  23. Mondays are the new Fridays it seems! There was some good stuff, nevertheless, mixed in with some strange clues. I’ve already explained how I shot myself in the foot at 18d, resulting in 28a DNF, along with 25d. I remembered the battle and the fact it was Napoleonic, didn’t remember it was Napoleon III, so thanks for that Brian. Never heard of 14d, I used ehelp for that as I had all the checkers. I’m choosing 15a and 1d as tops today, the former for obvious reasons and the latter as it’s a fave word for me.
    Thank you Campbell for the workout. So heroic of you Falcon to give us the hints and pics from your sickbed. Please feel well soon and I hope you don’t have any sequelae.

  24. Didn’t feel particularly unCampbellesque to me. Knew the Bond villain wasn’t from the Fleming books but couldn’t recall either the film or who played him & despite having extensively studied 19th Century European history in the distant past had to read up on the battle. 14d completely new but thankfully there was only one girl’s name that fitted with the checkers. Thought 30a neat fodder but no real standout clue today
    Thanks to Campbell (I’d reckon) & Falcon – get well soon

  25. Well I got there in the end but not without e help for checking 20d, which I had never heard of. 14d was also new to me and was not helped by my mind wanting to put in a different word, which would not get out of my head. My favourite was 21a. I never try to guess setters but I find Monday generally is now never the easiest day of the week for me. That said I am pleased to have finished and have learnt something along the way.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Falcon for the hints, I hope you continue to recover.

  26. This isn’t going to be my day – I can tell – it starts off being the fact that I’m probably the only person who’s never seen a Bond film and will carry on with battles not being my specialty.
    Thanks to Campbell for the crossword and to Falcon for the hints – hope you feel better very soon.
    I’ll just remember that tomorrow’s another day . . .

  27. I thought the Bond villain was a bit of an ask. Mr Google had dozens to chose from
    Struggling with a relentless tickle and a streaming nose. The pile of abandoned tissues is quite alarming. Time for a medicinal Whisky Mac I think 🥃
    Oh, the puzzle? COTD 30ac. Such a grownup word
    I still have to sign in every time despite ticking the box and reluctantly accepting the cookies. Can anyone help pleas?

    1. I suspect a cae of e-diabetes, your laptop/phone seems to refuse to allow you to keep cookies. Are they set to clear everytime you close a browser?

      1. Thanks. I’ll hand it to my clever son t look at
        Hope Mama B and you have recovered from your Bank Holiday adventure .

  28. Always like it when I come across a word I’ve never heard of before, but constructed from the clue and existing inserted letters. 14d is a case in point. Brand new word to me.
    25d was a guess from inserted letters – didn’t realise meaning of Hilary in this context

  29. Like others I didn’t know the scoundrel, the battle or the bond villain but I managed to work them out then checked them on Google. All the rest fairly straightforward. Favourite was 1a. Thanks to the setter and Falcon.

  30. Having had cataract surgery at first light this morning, and therefore very tired, with one fully dilated and blurry eye, I have nonetheless managed to finish this puzzle, despite the *** rating and several strange clues. You could fill my house with all the books I have read, and yet I have never come across 14d. I think we have seen all the Bond films but have zero recollection of 18d, and not very well up in battles, 20d. Apart from all that, not bad for a Monday, although I pine for the gentler start of the week we used to enjoy. Thanks to setter and to Falcon, feel better soon.

    1. Golly Moses, I am impressed that you were able to read so soon after cataract surgery for that length of time. Don’t overdo it.

      1. I stuck an eye patch over the operated eye to give it a rest. A day without crosswords and reading my book… unthinkable 😊.

  31. Well I’m doing very well with this despite the exhausting few days away on holiday with both families in Norfolk. Such a beautiful county and we’ve enjoyed wonderful food, local drinks and hospitality everywhere we’ve been. Am looking forward to going to Cromer for some of the allegedly fantastic crab! I hope that you start to feel better soon Falcon- many thanks for the extra help and thanks to setter.

  32. Good evening
    Very erratic today! Steamed in to begin with, then appeared to have peaked a little bit early; I had to apply the time-honoured technique of putting the crozzie away, getting on with something else, ie work, and letting the missing answers come up my back later. Which they did, all except 20d and 14d, which I had to look up. 5d is COTD; 16d deserves a Crikey!
    Many thanks to our compiler and to Falcon

  33. Enjoyable, but took an embarrassing amount of time to clock 20d 🤦 Knew 14d because of the gin, possibly even more embarrassing…

  34. I had the same experience as most with this puzzle, last in was 14d for which I needed to use some reveal mistakes. A few weeks ago I saw a comment that it was possible to enter for the pen prize by taking a photo of the completed puzzle and emailing it. I had never entered as when I used to get the print edition I rarely attempted the crossword and never had much success when I did. When I was made redundant and we had lockdown I had a digital only subscription and regularly attempted the crossword and did improve but discovering this site was the real breakthrough with explanations of how the clues work. So I looked at the Telegraph site on my pc to find the email address, I don’t have a puzzles subscription but discovered you can enter to win the pen on the pc. So I entered that weekends back page prize puzzles and on Friday last week a package arrived unannounced with the pen etc, so it isn’t mythical. Thanks to compiler and Falcon

    1. Oh well done Other Brian. Join the elite club. I have been sending in the Saturday prize puzzle for about Fifty years and have won three times (sorry Stephen. to rub it in) so it can be done. The first win was a pack of bridge cards and I guess I was a bit unbearable. Of course, in the old days it involved affixing a stamp and going to the post box, so much easier now I scan the guzzle and email it. Should I win again ☺️ I think I shall have to donate the pen to Stephen!

    2. First entry and you win? Don’t tell Steve. I must ask the obeah man why he’s dragging his feet here.

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