DT 30397 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30397

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30397
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

Good morning from North Devon where we’re enjoying another ‘Phew! What a scorcher!’ day. Huntsman is otherwise engaged today so I’m temporarily ‘sitting in’ as all the top radio DJs say.

I enjoyed the puzzle (which kept well within the convention of having no more than six anagrams) – many thanks to our setter (can you guess who it is?).

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

Across Clues

1a Chinese anger about Google? (6,6)
SEARCH ENGINE: an anagram (about) of CHINESE ANGER. The question mark indicates that Google is just one example of the answer,

9a Where camper might be if leaving loudly on purpose (9)
INTENTION: start with where a camper might spend the night (2,4), add ‘if’ without the musical abbreviation meaning loudly and finish with ON (from the clue).

10a Does hiding female surrender? (5)
DEFER: Does here is a noun that rhymes with foes. Insert the abbreviation for female.

11a Warning from leader in temple about wearing headwear (6)
THREAT: the leading letter of temple followed by a preposition meaning about or concerning contained in an item of headwear.

12a Commanding soldiers from French camp (8)
ORDERING: string together the abbreviation for rank and file soldiers, the French word for ‘from’ and a synonym of camp or clique.

13a Have supper around six? Marvellous (6)
DIVINE: a verb to have supper containing the Roman number six.

15a Fine tunes in broadcast most strange (8)
FUNNIEST: start with the pencil abbreviation for fine and add an anagram (broadcast) of TUNES IN.

18a True article about member of the clergy (8)
ACCURATE: assemble one or our indefinite articles, an abbreviation meaning about or approximately and a junior member of the clergy.

19a Follow Kitty around university (6)
PURSUE: the falsely-capitalised kitty means a pool of money. Put a synonym of it around an abbreviation for university.

21a Arrived home — try cutting grass (8)
RETURNED: a try or shot (in a board game, say) goes inside a type of grass.

23a Polish, we’re told, for belts (6)
WHACKS: this sounds like a verb to polish with a viscous substance.

26a Small drink — squash? (5)
SPORT: the clothing abbreviation for small and an alcoholic drink.

27a Summary by Oscar piercing in exactitude (9)
PRECISION: a synonym of summary followed by the letter for which Oscar is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet contained in ‘IN’.

28a Handsome judge adorable? Not half! (12)
CONSIDERABLE: a verb to judge or deem and half of the word adorable.

Down Clues

1d Item of clothing Edward avoided (7)
SKIRTED: an item of women’s clothing and a short form of Edward.

2d Following a fat bear, oddly (5)
AFTER: A precedes the odd letters of ‘fat bear’.

3d At sea on certain vessel (9)
CONTAINER: an anagram (at sea) of ON CERTAIN.

4d Let out while upset (4)
EMIT: reverse (upset, in a down clue) a noun meaning while (as in ‘a short while’).

5d Acknowledge Nero usually not totally big-hearted (8)
GENEROUS: hidden in the clue, indicated by ‘not totally’.

6d Good to be included in naked jog (5)
NUDGE: insert the abbreviation for good in a synonym of naked.

7d Policemen perhaps run inside workplaces (8)
OFFICERS: insert the cricket abbreviation for run in some workplaces.

8d Fear if one’s dismissed, correct? (6)
FRIGHT: dismiss the Roman number one from ‘IF’ and add an adjective meaning correct.

14d Calling holiday ordinary rather than ace (8)
VOCATION: start with a word meaning holiday and replace the card abbreviation for ace with the abbreviation for ordinary.

16d Awful hunger — it keeps American more mischievous (9)
NAUGHTIER: an anagram (awful) of HUNGER IT containing an abbreviation for American.

17d A Monet ultimately attracts bids (8)
ATTEMPTS: concatenate A, the ultimate letter of Monet and a verb meaning attracts or lures.

18d Grumpy after adult’s description of crossword clue? (6)
ACROSS: an adjective meaning grumpy follows the film classification abbreviation meaning adult.

20d Ascetic Jew eating cold meat (7)
ESSENCE: a member of an old ascetic Jewish sect contains the tap abbreviation for cold. Meat here means core.

22d One sailor picked up old relation (5)
RATIO: reverse (picked up) the Roman one and an informal word for a sailor. Add the abbreviation for old.

24d Strike reduced doctor’s rise (5)
CLIMB: a verb to strike or cuff without its last letter is followed by one of abbreviations for a medical doctor.

25d Group of animals heartlessly caught (4)
HERD: a verb meaning caught by ear without its middle letter.

I could have picked many of the clues for my podium but I’ll restrict myself to 28a, 14d and 25d. Which one(s) did the business for you?


58 comments on “DT 30397

  1. A very enjoyable Typically Tuesdayish challenge with two indicators that this is an Anthony Plumb production – the Quickie grid and this grid – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 10a, 1d, 20d, and 22d – and the winner is 22d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb, or whomsoever if it is not he, and thanks to Gazza.

    P.S. Dada quite friendly over in ‘Toughie Land.’

  2. Mr Plumb back on form with this little gem.
    I wonder “if” the device used in 9a and 8d is coincidental or not?
    In a very strong field my winner is the topical (I love a contemporary clue) 24d.
    Many thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  3. Enjoyable puzzle. I’d not heard of the old Jews so had to look that up to be sure, otherwise it was all ‘plumbed’ in nicely. My fave was the ‘aptagram’ in 1a.

    Thanks chaps.

  4. Smashing puzzle but a bit slow this morning ( me not the puzzle).
    Last in 20 d which held me up. A good day for anagrams here which popped up each time I viewed the materials through narrowed eyes!
    Thanks to setter.

  5. Light, witty, very enjoyable. I started with the downs so it was only when I moved to the acrosses that I realised that barge wasn’t the required jog, but swiftly corrected and otherwise plain sailing from top to bottom. Lovely variety of clue types, no obscure GK: what’s not to like? Hon Mentions to 23a, 14d & 22d with COTD to the excellent and very clever 1a.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter (it does indeed feel very Plumb-ish) and to Gazza – superb cartoons, as ever!

  6. Yet again off at a great pace only to be considerably slowed by the SE corner, never heard of the Jew at 20d, but the answer was easy enough with half the letters already in.
    Reckoned it was fairly tough all in all for a Tuesday offering, but very fair none the less. Favourites today had to be 23a and 22d. Off to sit in the lounge now as I’ve had to bung the aircon on to lower the temp in the aquarium to prevent algae. Can’t wait for the lecky bill to roll in!

  7. Another screamer from Mr P. I started in the SE which took a bit of time with the other three corners falling into place quite nicely.

    So many good clues but I’ll go with 1a as it’s a brilliant anagram, 23a (great homophone) and 17d with 1a being the winner.

    Many thanks to AP and Gazza.


  8. Excellent surfaces.
    Very satisfying and doable.
    Reunion with 26a and 4
    And 6d.
    Skilfully concealed lurker
    In 5d.
    In summary, 1*/4*
    Thanks setter and Gazza.

  9. I have just finished today’s friendly Dada puzzle blissfully unaware it was a Toughie! So, now I must knuckle down to this back page offering. Wish me luck!

  10. I guess Huntsman is literally sweating it out on a golf course somewhere but it was a real treat to have Gazza in the chair with some of his brilliant cartoons.
    I did scratch my head a bit over a couple of definitions – 10a & 4d and the polish evaded me for quite a while but eventually it all came together.
    Top clues for me were the angry Chinese and the handsome judge.

    Thanks to our setter and to lovely Gazza for the review.

  11. Hurrah for a gentle, enjoyable puzzle – sun doing its best to fry brains so can do without too much head-scratching today! COTD 1a. All-day siesta seems like best plan for the rest of the day……

  12. Nice enjoyable puzzle today that was very amenable to a little thought except for 20d which was meaningless for me. Never heard of this sect and probably never likely to. Shame because otherwise it was a flawless puzzle.
    Thx to all

  13. Took a while to find the wavelength but once on it I enjoyed sorting the enigma. Stupidly 11a evaded me and all I could think of was a specific type of headwear which fitted in but couldn’t be parsed. Trio of Favs (sorry Kath) – 23a, 26a and 14d. Thank you MrP and Gazza (your selection of cartoons made for smiles).

  14. Also never heard of the Jewish ascetic in 20d and stumbled at 1d when I put in the wrong garment to start with. Otherwise, an enjoyable puzzle, not too taxing on a sweltering day, and some fun along the way. COTD for me was the polish homophone at 23a. Thanks to the setter and to Gaza for the hints and cartoons. Back outside to enjoy the sunshine now!

  15. Well, the review sorted out why I couldn’t parse 11A! Turban fit the checkers. Turban…temple…headwear. Bung it in and move on. I should have known better. Runaway clue for my top spot was the clever 1A and I also loved 20D. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

    Talking about sweating it out, today’s high here is projected to be 36C!!!

    1. I was with you Expat Chris re bunging in turban but fortunately that fitted so didn’t effect the correct solution.

  16. 2*/4*. This was very enjoyable and all came together smoothly with the exception of 23a. It took a while for the penny to drop on that one whence it became my favourite courtesy of its excellent surface.

    I wouldn’t normally pick an anagram for my podium but 1a gets the nod today alongside 26a and the aforementioned 23a.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  17. Well, if this is Mr Plumb, I’m a total convert. Elegant and on the money, just the ticket for a Tuesday. A real bobby-dazzler that proves that belters don’t have to be too taxing. From the glorious 1a on, I knew that we were in very capable hands. Huge thanks to him, and Gazza of course.

  18. *mutter mumble ‘an old ascetic Jewish sect’ mumble mutter… agree with Brian… mutter mumble*

    I mean… come on… THE LIST beckons.

    Otherwise a cheery guzzle on a day that is most scorchio in the Home Counties (although the HCs don’t exist any more because everywhere from Reading to Maidstone is now a suburb of London).

    Thanks to the setter, and the former player/coach of Gansu Tianma.

    1. I did wonder when I saw that clue quite what your reaction would be, Terence – that aesthete/sect does occur periodically, and when it appeared last year you simply said “I didn’t know the derivation of 22d but it had to be what it is, once the checking letters were in place.” with no mention of The List whatever – so maybe it’s the scorchio weather that’s prompted today’s mutter mumbles! ;)

    2. Strange, but I knew the Ascetic Jew, I had a problem getting it to mean “meat” … huge penny drop moment.

  19. Mr Plumb is beginning to rival Ray T in the elusive synonym department–lots of question marks next to variouus clues today. It was, nevertheless, an enjoyable puzzle with a nice variety of clues and a bit of General Knowledge to make things more interesting. I liked the lurker at 5d and the two lego clues at 27a and 20d but my COTD was the homophone at 23a, which was absolutely hilarious. Thanks to Mr Plumb for an absorbing guzzle and to Gazza for stepping into the breach to do the hints. Hope Mrs C is doing better now, Steve C.

  20. Typical Tuesday for me with some parsing issues to understand in some of the clues. Didn’t find this one particularly inspiring today.


    Favourites include 1a, 13a, 1d & 16d with no outstanding winner.
    On top of that the quickie pun does not work for me.

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  21. Very “Tuesday-ish” but plus with Gazza and his famous cartoons!
    The anagram at the top took me for ages – I knew what I was looking for but . . .
    I missed the 5d lurker – not so easy without the 1a – never mind!
    Everything went quite nicely until it came to the bottom right corner which was a bit tricky.
    I particularly appreciated 19 and 23a and 14 and 24d. I think my favourite was 18d.
    Thanks to today’s setter for the crossword and to Gazza for standing in to do the hints and the cartoons.
    Am I feeling brave enough to even look at the toughie?

      1. Thanks Gazza,
        I did a few – not too tricky but well and truly too much for me – the toughies always were!!

  22. 3/3. Most of this went in smoothly but held up with a couple of head scratchers – 23a, 11a & 24d. Favourite clue was 1a. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  23. All completed, a few hold ups, particularly 20d which was a new word to me. 23 my favourite once I got it!

    Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the hints and explanations.

  24. This was tricky for a Tuesday but finished with some ehelp. I was finally stuck in the SE, getting 23a helped a lot, and well worth a smile. Fave was 1a, but others were worth an honourable mention.
    Thank you setter, and Gazza for unravelling so much and the cartoons!

  25. I loved this. The top half went in like a dream and I thought it was going to be over all too quickly, then the SE corner loomed and I ground to, not quite, a halt, but I needed my thinking cap on. Strangely I did know the Jewish ascetic, probably from a previous crossword. It was the Polish assault that held me up the longest and eventually I accessed Gazza s hint – very clever. The handsome judge was my favourite today and I did like 1a, though I wouldn’t normally choose an anagram for a podium place. Lots of choice for third place but I’ll go for a dead heat between 26+27a. Thanks to Mr Plumb for the enjoyment and Gazza for the amusing cartoons.

  26. Another enjoyable puzzle. The top half flowed in but I had a few head-scratching moments with the bottom half. Many thanks to the setter Mr Plumb (?) and Gazza.

  27. I seem to be doing a different crossword to everyone else.

    I have come to a hard stop in the southern third. Will keep trying for bit longer.

    1. A second visit after sustenance has meant I have finished unaided.

      Empty stomach, empty brain it would appear.

      LOI was 12a despite it being part of my job.

      Rather enjoyable in the end.

      Thanks to all.

  28. I agree that the top half went in fairly smoothly but I certainly needed Gazza’s help for one or two. A neat lurker and anagram ( I love the notion of an aptagram) but I think 23a takes the biscuit, a very good word. We went to Saffron Walden this morning – George’s mad idea. He so seldom wants to go somewhere just for the sake of an outing these days that I felt I had to be enthusiastic. I love SW, it is a dear little town and has a fine market – but on the hottest day of the year? Really?. Anyway we had a pleasant lunch and looked in on the antique shop where George has bought me so many Leah Stein brooches I eventually had to beg him to stop. Got home and collapsed into a horizontal position in the garden with the DT and a pen. – and fell asleep. Now I have finished the DT and am thinking of a GT.
    many thanks to Messrs Setter and Hinter-Gazza. I am slightly concerned that MustafaG has such perfect recall that he knows what Terence said about 20d last year. Are you Mr Memory Man? Or do you just have an index on Terence’s List – that I can perfectly understand.

    1. Those brooches remind me of the Steinlen cats! I have a poster of the Clinique Chéron in here, very suitable for my obsession with animals.

    2. DG – my wife would laugh out loud at the suggestion I could remember something like that. Given some of the things I forget, even if I could remember a comment like that from Terence (and, let’s face it, some of his posts are the most lyrical and memorable on the site) I would be a fool to admit doing so!

      No, all credit goes to that very useful function of this site, the Search Bigdave44.com box at the top of the page!

      I knew I could remember that word appearing relatively recently, and thought that if it had, and it was in a back pager, there was a chance Terence might have singled it out for comment. ;)

  29. Most of this flew in with just cotd 23a and 20d, for which I needed the hint to parse (meat really?) holding out to the end. Lots to like though. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  30. What a delight of a guzzle, which I finished unaided. I loved 1a given that country’s attitude to things such as Google. Had no idea about the ascetic Jew – just bunged a few letters in and, hey presto, they were correct. My COTD has to be the fantastic homophone at 23a.

    My thanks to the setter for a fun puzzle and grateful thanks to Gazza for the hints and for stepping in.

    Mrs. C had an endoscopy today. They are not sure what the problem is but they think it’s Barrett’s oesophagus. No idea what that is and a search of the inter web didn’t give much more info. We now wait to find out what is going to be done. I hope Mrs. C will be home before the weekend when our daughter and her husband visit from Melbourne but it’s in the lap of the gods.

    1. We can but hope she’s back home for your daughter. I typed about Barrett’s esophagus in my incarnation as a medical transcriptionist after PanAm’s demise, I think it is one of those things that are not too serious if caught early. We’re all rooting for her!

  31. What a treat today, really enjoyed the cartoons. If the setter went one way with the meaning of the definition, I went the other. Contrary should be my middle name. But got there in the end, with the SW corner going in last. I didn’t know the ascetic Jew, but the checkers led me to the answer. I don’t understand 23a, even with the hint. I must be having a really thick day. Thanks to Mr Plumb (?) and to Gazza, especially for the cartoons.

    1. 23a A homophone of the answer (indicated by “we’re told”) is wax as in “I’m going to polish/wax the table”.

    2. I associate the Essenes with the Dead Sea Scrolls. There was a book about the Scrolls, can’t remember the author, but it was very interesting.

      1. I did like Martin Shaw in the series, but this did not come to mind when solving; just thought it was rather a neat clue.
        Still no comment notification facility on the site.

  32. Many thanks to Gazza for stepping in with a top notch review as per. Do think he might have bunged in a couple of deliberate boo-boos – it is Tuesday after all. Sorry to have missed blogging it as agree this was back on a par with 3 weeks ago. Top & bottom my top 2 & liked the homophone too. The monastic brotherhood need a check (vaguely recalled) but otherwise plain sailing in a very enjoyable solve
    Thanks to AP

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