DT 30400 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30400

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30400

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday and another fun puzzle. 

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    Verbally prompt top waiter, showing impatience (5-6)
QUEUE-JUMPER:  A homophone (verbally) of prompt or signal is followed by a top that you wear 

7a    Box housing small animal (5)
BEAST:  Box or tan containing (housing) the clothing abbreviation for small 

8a    Shirker nags peers to work (9)
PASSENGER:  An anagram (to work) of NAGS PEERS 

10a   One in craft course joining current V&A retrospective (7)
AVIATOR:  The reversal (retrospective) of the fusion of a course or cycle of duty, the physics symbol for electric current, and V and A from the clue 

11a   Tools back in trailer wrapped in cloths to dry (7)
TROWELS:  The final letter of (back in) TRAILER is inserted in (wrapped in) some cloths used for drying 

12a   Pick and feel big toe regularly (5)
ELITE:  Alternate letters of (regularly) FEEL BIG TOE 

13a   Diverse team won't ask for certain limits (4,5)
TASK FORCE:  The answer is hidden in (… limits) the remainder of the clue 

16a   Wanting to have tea set after smashing sample (9)
FORETASTE:  Wanting or in favour of is followed by an anagram (after smashing) of TEA SET 

18a   Feline turned over, it understood (5)
TACIT:  The reversal (turned over) of a generic feline is followed by IT from the clue 

19a   Monster having operation for eye primarily in phases (7)
CYCLOPS:  An informal contraction of operation replaces (having … for … in) the initial letter (primarily) of EYE in a synonym of phases 

22a   Alarm from a rook trapped in cask (7)
PERTURB:  “a” or “for each” is followed by the chess abbreviation for rook inserted in (trapped in) a cask or vat 

23a   Joint is one held by musician (9)
DRUMSTICK:  A double definition. The joint is poultry 

24a   Drink that's less fizzy uncovered (5)
LATTE:  An adjective meaning “less fizzy” minus its outer letters (uncovered

25a   Studied industries changing over century (11)
SCRUTINISED:  An anagram (changing) of INDUSTRIES containing (over) the single letter for century 



1d    Preliminary match level after lead's lost? Uncertainty that is right (9)
QUALIFIER:  Concatenate a synonym of level minus its first letter (after lead’s lost), a conjunction indicating uncertainty, the Latin abbreviation for “that is”, and the single letter for right 

2d    Call gents with glee after seeing off all outsiders (7)
ENTITLE:  GENTS WITH GLEE with the outer letters of each word deleted (after seeing off all outsiders

3d    European on high hill's peak admires river (9)
EUPHRATES:  Join together the single letter for European, another word for high, the first letter (… ‘s peak) of HILL, and an informal synonym of admires 

4d    Cycling organisation gives you bother (5)
UPSET:  Cycle two places all letters in a (3-2) word meaning organisation 

5d    Move away from former government head of France (4,3)
PEEL OFF:  Link together a former Prime Minister/government head, OF from the clue, and the IVR code for France 

6d    Rascal from Bordeaux, say, university demoted (5)
ROGUE:  In what Bordeaux defines by example (say) the single letter for university is moved downwards (demoted

7d    Be thrown with crazed fan being shameless (6-5)
BRAZEN-FACED:  An anagram (thrown) of BE with CRAZED FAN 

9d    Okay about fungus turning up in outbuilding (11)
RESPECTABLE:  A short word meaning about or concerning is followed by an outbuilding for horses containing the reversal (turning up in, in a down clue) of a fancy type of mushroom 

14d   That woman put on records and relatives hide (9)
SHEEPSKIN:  Cement together a pronoun for “that woman”,  the abbreviation for some records that are less than a full album, and another word for relatives 

15d   Told grass to frame nobleman (9)
RECOUNTED:  A long thin grass containing (to frame) a nobleman 

17d   Appropriate uniform adopted in elevated place for holidaymakers (7)
TROUSER:  The letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by uniform is inserted in (adopted in) the reversal (elevated, in a down clue) of a place for holidaymakers. The definition here is informal 

18d   Maybe Leonardo and Donatello produced result after time (7)
TURTLES:  An anagram (produced) of RESULT comes after the physics symbol for time.  The definition is by example (maybe

20d   Delivery firm subject to company takeovers (5)
COUPS:  A delivery firm with brown and yellow vans is preceded by (subject to, in a down clue) an abbreviation for company 

21d   Flier from women's group found in southern newspaper (5)
SWIFT:  A usual abbreviated women’s group is sandwiched between (found in) the single letter for southern and the abbreviation for a serious pink newspaper 


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was 1a because the definition made me smile. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  FORM + ICE + INNS = FOR MY SINS

84 comments on “DT 30400

  1. Well, I think we all know who set this stinker, probably the hardest puzzle short of a DNF in many a moon. Some really convoluted clues, which took the utmost lateral thinking needed in ages. Very enjoyable, when, and only when, you finally reach the end.
    Thought 7a was a bit off, but it did nothing to detract from a quite brilliant puzzle.
    Embarrassed to say I got 18d straight away. Favourites today were 24a and 6d. Chapeau Mr setter.

    1. Regarding 8d – that smacks either of your extreme youth or the fact that you have grandchildren! I was going all classical and arty until Mr K came to my rescue.

  2. Some masterful misdirection in this one with a few very well-concealed definitions. I never seemed to be able to get on a roll with this so definitely not my fastest finish.
    I’d never heard of the turtles but the wordplay was clear once the penny had dropped on the anagram indicator. I see the delivery firm on the other hand in 20d is fast becoming a bit of a crossword staple.
    1a must be clue of the week, just brilliant. Also liked 19,22 (“a” rook…very smart) plus 17d for the aforementioned misdirection. Good stuff.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Mr K for his usual top blog.

  3. An enjoyable puzzle for a sunny autumn morning.

    Favourites include 1a, the less than obvious at first glance 13a and also 17d.

    Thanks to the setter (can’t find an X) and Mr K for a couple of explanations.

  4. Found this hard work. I make it a 4? Trip down memory lane at 18d!
    6d was crafty.
    Thanks to setter

  5. 4*/4.5*. Phew! This x-less pangram was a real challenge especially in the SW corner, but I did enjoy it a lot.

    1a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Mr K.

  6. I eventually finished this puzzle with two hints from Mr K. I found a lot of the clues difficult and the whole thing a bit of a slog. There were a few good clues to be enjoyed, however. My COTD is the lurker at 13a, followed closely by the double definition at 23a and the 7d anagram . Could it be my Nemesis, Zandio, I wonder. Thanks to the compiler anyway, although this guzzle wasn’t my cup of tea. Thhanks also to Mr K for the hints, qhich I needed to explain some of the tortuous rationale behind today’s clues and for the cat pictures, which always cheer me up.

  7. I found this a tough top end ***/** although my brain is a little foggy from a summer cold. I thought the anagrams and part lurkers would speed me on my way but sadly not. Stand out clues were 1a and 14d the latter top notch. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and feline fun and the setter for testing me. Off to the Club now for a glass to recover.

  8. Most enjoyable, certainly, and the most challenging of the week’s backpagers – as should be the case on a Friday anyway – with several checkers required to solve some of the clues. Good to have the LGCs tested as preparation for the brain-mangling that will come later. Thought the lurker very well concealed indeed, and as Stephen has noted, the masking of some of the definitions certainly prolonged matters. Hon Mentions to 23a, 3d, 5d & the very amusing 18d.

    2.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and to MrK

  9. A bit more head scratching than I was expecting. Another vote for 1a.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  10. I’m usually on wavelength with ProXimal, but not today. At one point I thought he’d borrowed Dada’s thesaurus as some of the synonyms seemed very elastic to me. Having said that there was plenty to enjoy. Favourite today was the lurker at 13a which took me a while to identify. Podium places for 1a – brilliant, but again took me ages and 19a – got that one straight away. Thanks to ProXimal for the challenge and Mr K who’s hints I needéd today in a couple of places.

  11. Fiendishly clever, undoubtedly the toughest of the week. But, on reflection, it was scrupulously fair, even though – midstream – it didn’t always feel like it! 18d was indeed a blast from the past, and undeniably brilliant, but I especially loved 9d. Much fun to be had throughout – no duds here – though I fear it has rather put me off tackling Elgar later. This was more than enough for me today. Huge thanks to setter, and Mr K, of course.

  12. Madre mía! – that was tricky!!

    This one took me twice as long as my normal Friday solving time.
    It took me ages to spot the lurker (as did Mhids above).
    1a gets a big tick from me too.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Mr K

  13. Quite a challenge this one, and so it should be for a Friday I suppose. Excellent puzzle with some great clues, of which 1a I particularly liked. Took me a while to spot the cleverly disguised lurker at 13a.
    Thanks to our fiendish setter and Mr K for the blog…

    p.s. Mr K, you appear to have lost the definition word at the end of 16a 👍

  14. Well, this was a real end of the week tester. Great fun to work through it and eventually get to the end. Got stuck for a while in the SW and my joint COTD were 17d and 20d. Very satisfying when the coins tumbled. My only quibble was 6d – for some reason that clue-answer combo didn’t work for me. Only clocked it as a proXimal X-less pangram after reading Mr K’s hints – I don’t think we’ve had one of these for a while. Thanks to the setter and to Mr K. Need a second 24a now to recover from this challenge.

  15. Very mixed feelings about this one although have to say that 1a raised a smile and I thought the anagram at 25a was well-spotted by our setter. The Quickie pun made me laugh.

    Thanks to proXimal presumably and to Mr K and his gang for the review.

  16. A thoroughly enjoyable challenge to round off the week. Fortunately Estella was looking over my shoulder and, being noted for her sharpness, was able to point me in the right direction occasionally.
    What a good lurker!

  17. Well for a Friday again this week a gentler type of puzzle IMHO.
    Had the looks of a pangram for a while, but not to be. No really hard words but some GK needed in this one at various areas of the puzzle.

    2*/3.5* for me

    Favourites include 1a, 11a, 16a, 23a, 14d & 20d — with winner 23a

    Thanks to setter (proXimal?) & Mr K

  18. Top notch guzzle & a step up in difficulty even from yesterday so dread to thinks what some will say. Certainly not the fastest of solves here following a pedestrian start but all parsed eventually. Top 3 for me – 1&13a plus 3d
    Thanks to proXimal & to Mr K

  19. Did not enjoy this one. A fairly miserable effort from me. Perhaps I’ll stick to Mon-Wed until I get better at this!

    An aside: the Evening Standard had a clue yesterday which I just can’t fathom. “Farm from deep blue water! (5,3)” with the answer being “WHITE SEA”. Any ideas how that works?

      1. Definitely “farm”. I’ve just double-checked on the ES website. The wind farm thing is pretty obscure, even for a cryptic puzzle. Glad it wasn’t just me :)

  20. After Wednesday’s ego massager, this one swiftly brought me back to reality. Some of the clues are pure genius in how they are worded.

    Needless to say I’ve not finished yet, but as my flight is delayed it’ll be a good way to spend a few hours.

    Thanks to the setter for the challenge and to Mr. K for the very welcome hints.

  21. A top-notch Friday-level puzzle – thanks to our setter and Mr K.
    I gave ticks to 13a, 22a, 6d and 9d but my favourite by a country mile was the brilliant 1a.

    1. The Oxford Dictionary of English gives the usage example he charges £2 per square yard, which could also be he charges £2 a square yard.

  22. This was too much of a slog to be enjoyable. To think I avoided Elgar for it. I dread to think what the Toughie is like!

  23. The toughest back pager for a while and have to go for a ****/****-maybe the gout did’nt help!
    Pleased with my guess for 18d-it could have been a pop group.
    Favourite was the 22a charade followed by 1a and 19a..
    Thanks to our setter and Mr K

  24. Needed helping hands to get through this brainteaser with its convoluted clues hence there wasn’t much fun to be had. Thought the “a” in 22a was superfluous but then realised its significance. 18d suddenly occurred to me after wasting time around sculptors. Thank you proXimal and MrK.

  25. Bit outclassed for a second day. Less sparkle than yesterday but still diverting. Needed the hints a few times to cross the line. Looking forward to simpler fare tomorrow!

  26. Oh dear – not one of our favourite crosswords – all too convoluted sadly.
    4*/2* for us.
    Pommers normally likes ProXimal puzzles – I struggle. But neither of us enjoyed this one at all.
    Thanks though to setter and MrK for the explanation of 4d which we couldn’t work out at all.

  27. Another difficult one but, after the start to the week when I managed two back pagers and two Toughies, only to be expected.

    Not for me I’m afraid.

    Thank you to the setter for the thrashing and thank you, Mr. K. for the hints, which I relied on heavily, and the Pusskits.

  28. You are all ahead of me as usual. I don’t know how you find the time to sit down to a guzzle before lunch! Hard work, but the questions are fair enough. I also liked 1a, the clever lurker at 13, the misdirection at 23 and the glorious 3d- although that might be a candidate for The List. But I am goi g to give my vote for favourite to 21d as it mentions the WI. Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K for the cats ( what is it with cats and boxes?) and the help with Leonardo. The lovely Gary came this morning to cut and set my hair so I feel all itchy hair bits and in the middle of the treatment my lovely doctor rang with some not very brilliant news. All I can say is 17d to growing older. Oh no, I think I am wrong – that’s steal , do I mean pants? Either way – yuk.

    1. Sorry to hear you have had not great news. At least our crossword is a helpful distraction from such matters. Hope all goes well.

    2. Sorry about the bad news Daisy. Getting old is not for the faint hearted, that’s for sure.

      1. Complete surprise Steve. Whilst looking for something else they’ve found I have scoliosis! Wot? Didn’t see that coming. Could be a lot worse of course ! Has anyone else out there got it?

        1. Curvature of the spine? Hopefully, as you were not aware of it, it won’t cause too much trouble. However, I’m no expert so let’s see what others have to say.

  29. 3 D last one in, but my pick of the bunch. No real enjoyment even though I finished with a couple of hints. Took me far too long. Thanks to Mr K

  30. We all know what to expect on a Friday. Puzzles with the imprimatur of perfection, perspicacity, worthy of a pedestal or plinth in Peterlee. And in addition an outpouring of praise for the pulchritudinous of the puzzler in performing his practice to pass to us a puzzle par excellence.

    Having all the clues now written into the many spaces of the grid left empty by my inability to hardly penetrate the perimeter of the puzzle I feel the positive paean of praise is all I can present to the setter and Mr K.

    Let my name never again be associated with opprobrium or sarcasm.

    1. An outstanding effort, Corky!

      This was another tough workout to go along with yesterday’s. I crawled to the end but had to wave the white flag at 22a. It defeated me.

      Some really excellent cluing with the lego technique very much on display. 9d is a case in point.

      7d and 25a get on the podium as they were great anagrams but it’s hard to look past 1a as the winner.

      Many thanks to Mr K and Proximal.


          1. Thank you for this, I haven’t laughed so much in years, I’m laughing now just thinking about it😂

  31. Difficult but doable and fairly clued a most satisfying solve. I was looking for the ‘X’less pangram which helped. Favourite was the splendid 1a. Thanks to ProXimal and Mr. K.

  32. Found this much harder than yesterday’s. 1d, 1a and 4d took me ages and several cups of tea. Great puzzle. Thank you setter and Mr K for the explanation for 4d.

  33. It’s a Friday so I was not so silly as to expect something friendly, but at least it was easier than yesterday’s. I wanted to bung in crate, having picked the wrong definition in 7a but it clearly wasn’t right. I still have no understanding of 18d, I assume some cartoon we have never watched. Best thing about this for me was Mr K’s cat pictures. Our very adventurous Basil, a very dominant Tonkinese, was able to climb and tackle anything in the house, but he never thought of the 18a trick, thank goodness. Think I’ll go and tackle the usually doable in the globe and mail. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. BL, 18d. The L and D in the clue are examples by definition of the answer – the Teenage Mutant Ninja variety.

  34. Same as yesterday: an excellent puzzle, a pretty stiff challenge and an enjoyable tussle. Fav: 1a. 4*/4.5*.

  35. Good afternoon
    Finally! By crikey, that was hard graft – but enjoyable. Full disclosure: I used a cheat site to input P – R – U – – at 22a, because I couldn’t get out of the way of thinking PAR- – – –
    The cry of DUHHHH!! must have been heard all over Didcot when I eventually tumbled to the lurker in 13a. That’s definitely COTD.
    A Crikey!!! for 17a, 3d, and 1a, and a definite Oh FFS!!! for 18d
    Many thanks to proXimal and to Mr K

  36. Another fine guzzle but, like yesterday, many bung ins so had to see the hints when I finished to fully parse. Thanks to all.

  37. Damn tricky but unlike yesterdays offering at least this was doable. No favs but I did need the excellent hints to sort out some of the more esoteric wordplay. Must say I have heard of the phrase in 7 d, bare yes but not this first word but it is in the BRB so that’s fair.
    Thx to all

  38. Can somebody give me the answer to 3d in the Quickie? If I have the crossers correct I cannot fathom it out.

  39. Got there eventually but it took a good soak in the bath to get the last few. The cat hanging from the doorframe was a great clue and a lovely way to hint it, shame it wasnt a down clue though
    Thanks to MrK and proXimal

  40. Just completed but with the help of the hints as it has got late and a combination of a hectic day, the heat and wine have meant I lost the ability to do the last 5 clues. It now all seems so obvious thanks to Mr Ks hints and kitties, I can see why those who are better than I really appreciated this as it was really clever. 1a was a brilliant clue.

    Many thanks to ProXimal and to Mr K for the hints and pics

  41. DNF but had lots of fun. Had around half- a dozen left. Looked at the clues, and it all made sense at the end. 18d was the real groaner when the penny dropped, having been thinking of all sorts of arty things before that. For once could guess the setter, realising there was a missing X. Thanks ProXimal and Mr K.

  42. Sorry, not for us today. Just completed with multiple hints (thanks Mr K), but so many tortuous clues we did not enjoy the process.

  43. Fantastic puzzle. Very challenging, but perfectly fair, with very few clues that didn’t require some serious thought. Many thanks!

  44. Much less difficult than the 7a on offer yesterday.

    A DNF mostly due to starting very late after a very hectic day. 23a is a part of the chicken I avoid, so that didn’t help. 17d also defeated me.

    7d is not only a new phrase to me, but an awful one too. I’ve only ever heard bare faced.

    Despite never having watched the cartoon in 18d, I got this straight away. I seem to remember finding all the publicity at the time being tedious.

    Thanks to all.

  45. This was a most enjoyable pangram sans the letter ‘X’, of course. Alas! I got stuck with three and am most grateful to Mr K for his elucidations. I doubt I would have solved the clues myself… my thoughts were going round and round in the same circles! (May I blame the heat? LOL)
    Many appreciative thanks to ProXimal for an excellent challenge and to Mr K for an excellent and most helpful review.

    1. You’ve changed your alias since your previous comment so this required moderation. Both aliases will work from now on.

  46. Just finished this. Yes it took me 3 days. I wish I could just give up like normal people. Thanks to to Mr K and proximal.

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