DT 30408 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30408

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30408

Hints and tips by pommers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hola from Almoradí where the long, hot summer is finally drawing to a close. Temps most afternoons now are only 32°C at most and some days haven’t topped 30. A welcome relief after a very hot July/August.

I’m pretty sure this puzzle is not a Campbell as there’s only one pun, that I can see, in the Quickie and there are too many anagrams.  There are six clues involving them which is better that the eleven last time I blogged this setter!  I thought it on the benign side with a few old chestnuts to get you going.  Hope you all enjoyed it.

As usual my podium three are in blue.  The definitions are underlined in the clues and the answers are under the “click here” buttons so don’t click on them unless you really want to see the answer.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Reportedly spot more reasonable salt (8)
SEAFARER:  Salt as in sailor.  The answer sounds like (reportedly) a word meaning to spot and a word meaning more reasonable.  I met this lady back in my sailing days when she visited Conwy Cruising Club.

5a           Group of eight love time in underground chamber (6)
OCTAVE:  Specifically a group of eight musical notes.  It’s an O (love in tennis) followed by an underground chamber with a T(ime) inserted (in).

9a           Extremely organised sites: kids may walk on these (8)
TOOTSIES:  Start with a word meaning extremely  and follow with an anagram (organised) of SITES to get a childish word for feet.  I needed all the checkers before the penny finally dropped. Did you hear the clang?

10a        A peak volume? (6)
AMOUNT:  A from the clue followed by a peak or high hill.

12a        See through this? Not Gretel sadly (9)
LORGNETTE:  Anagram (sadly) of NOT GRETEL.  As you probably know I’m not a great fan of anagrams but I do like this one!

13a        Impatient expression from Scot about colour (5)
OCHRE:  A Scottish expression followed by the usual two letters for about or on.

14a        A container door could be this (4)
AJAR: A from the clue followed by a container gives what a door is said to be when not quite closed.  This is one of the chestnuts I mentioned.

16a        Gift of fine ale returned? That is on the house! (7)
FREEBIE:  F(ine) followed by some ale backwards (returned) then the two letters for “that is”.  Not sure what the “Gift of” brings to this clue.

19a        Big mistake, with bishop left below (7)
BLUNDER:  B(ishop) followed by L(eft) and then a word meaning below.

21a        Game spotted in Nebraska: turkeys? (4)
SKAT:  A lurker hiding in (spotted in) the last two words.

24a        Cooked steak in half-inches (5)
TAKES:  Half-inches as in steals.  It’s an anagram (cooked) of STEAK.

25a        Record-keeper Reginald is with sailor holding first of records (9)
REGISTRAR:  Short form of the name Reginald followed by the IS from the clue then one of the usual sailors with an R (first of Records) inserted (holding).

27a        Church assistants removing leader of drug dealers? (6)
USHERS:  Take a word for drug dealers without their first letters (removing leader of).

28a        Senior service unhappy with this colour (4,4)
NAVY BLUE:  The senior service of the armed forces followed by the colour usually associated with unhappy gives a version of that colour.

29a        Bird he, with son, gifts to the church (6)
TITHES:  A small garden bird followed by the HE from the clue and then S(on).  I always thought these were more of a tax than a gift but what do I know?

30a        Without affection — or a request not to be so needy? (8)
LOVELESS:  Split (4,4) the answer could be regarded as a request to be not so needy.


1d           Item of furniture from Yorkshire town … (6)
SETTLE:  Double definition.  This is the other chestnut!

2d           … a table, that may be on a boat? (6)
ABOARD:  A from the clue followed by another word for a table.

3d           Offence caused by priest losing his head? (5)
ARSON:  A priest without his first letter (losing his head).

4d           Horseman perhaps always seizes opening (7)
EVENTER:  A word for always around (seizes) an abbreviation of an entrance (opening).

6d           Come, Norma, get it sorted: now’s the time! (6,3)
COMMON ERA:  Anagram (get it sorted) of COME NORMA.

7d           A little beer almost routine in Arab city (3,5)
ABU DAHBI:  A from the clue followed by the abbreviation of one of the world’s biggest selling lagers and then a word for routine without its last letter (almost).

8d           Highly regarded refs regularly abounded (8)
ESTEEMED:  Alternate letters (regularly) from rEfS followed by a word meaning abounded, often applied to heavy rainfall.

11d        Meat causing a complaint? (4)
BEEF:  Double definition.  . . . and another!

15d        Plant with just a red end to foliage, shaken (5,4)
JUDAS TREE:  Anagram (shaken) of JUST A RED with an E (end to foliagE).

17d        Block former pupil getting Conservative in support (8)
OBSTRUCT:  The usual two letters for a former pupil followed by a support or prop with a C(onservative) inserted (getting . . . in).

18d        County really keen to get ammunition (8)
BUCKSHOT: The short name for a county to the north west of London followed by a word meaning keen mor popular gives some shotgun ammunition.

20d        It’s most unusual, being held by Para regiment (4)
RARE:  A lurker hiding in (being held by) the last two words.

21d        A sugar processed by old plant (7)
SAGUARO: Anagram (processed) of A SUGAR followed by (by) an O(ld) gives the iconic plant of the Arizona desert.

22d        Fish with legs moving about river island (6)
GRILSE:  Start with R(iver) and I(sland) and around them put an anagram (moving) of LEGS.

23d        Such Europeans could be nerds inputting computer’s final bit (6)
GREEKS:  Take the alternative word for nerds and insert (inputting) an R (computeR’s last).

26d        Design of animal house by the French (5)
STYLE:  The animal house where the pigs live followed by a French definite article.

My podium today is 5a, 12a and 2d with 2d on the top step.  How about you?

Quick crossword pun:

MASS     +     CUE     +     LINN     =     MASCULINE

92 comments on “DT 30408

  1. Quite tricky, completed in
    2* time.
    The 5 anagrams and 1
    Partial anagram assisted in
    Providing useful checking
    Last in 23d, a big Duh
    Many thanks Campbell and pommers.

  2. pommers – you (and Hrothgar it seems) need to go back to Comment 1 in DT 30396 when Campbell and X-Type told us that they would be ‘double teaming’ on Mondays which makes today an X-Type Monday (and you the X-Type blogger).

    Apart from unscrambling the spelling of 21d, reasonably straightforward and very enjoyable – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 1d, 2d, and 23d – and the winner is 23d.

    Thanks to X-Type and pommers.

    1. Ah, I saw Campbell’s comment but missed the one from X-type. As Falcon and I mostly alternate it looks like I’m the X-type blogger for the next few weeks at least.

  3. A nice Monday crossword, only 21d bringing a slight pause in the proceedings

    Thanks to X-Type and Pommers

  4. Second crossword running that I couldn’t get on with, found it more irritating than enjoyable, especially 4d, oh well, lets see what tomorrow brings…

  5. A couple of minor quibbles. The setter has used exactly the same device to clue 27a&3d, no great shakes but it did cause my repetition radar to bleep. I’m not a great fan (well not a fan at all) of using given names (Norma, Reg, Gretel) in the wordplay especially in anagram fodder. Those aside a pleasant puzzle with my top three being 7&18d with top spot going to 16a
    Many thanks to X-Type and Pommers.

    1. SL. What is wrong with using names (Gretel, Norma) in anagram fodder? A name is merely a word, same as any other word that my be used in plain sight in some fodder. I don’t understand why it should be irksome?

      1. I’m with you all the way, Jose. I’ve seen this mentioned by the occasional punter before and I don’t get it.

        If every word in the dictionary is fair game, plus, all the proper nouns like cities, US states and countries, then why not people’s names that are also proper nouns?

      2. I agree, see no problem with it being part of an anagram when you are given the name in the clue. But I don’t care for it when you have to guess the name of a girl or boy in a partial anagram as the options are endless.

    2. I don’t mind proper names when they are in plain sight in anagram fodder. What I object to is having “man” or chap” or similar in the clue and it turns out to be cluing Tom or Tim or some other man’s name.

      1. Unless the name has some sort of relevance to the overall surface read I’m not a fan of it as it’s obviously plonked in there to make up the fodder. Yes it’s a word but it adds nothing to the clue in terms of misdirection or disguise, quite the opposite. The best anagrams are where the fodder actually adds to the surface read…and I don’t think using a random given name does this. Others may disagree but it doesn’t float my boat I’m afraid…..though I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s “irksome”.

        1. In 12a, there was perhaps a bit of misdirection. My first thought was to look for a link to the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale — which, of course, I didn’t find.

      2. Some people don’t like ‘Guess a name’ but, for me, it’s the same as ‘Guess the plant/flower/fish/bird/US state abbreviation’.

        There are way more US state abbreviations than three or four letter names that get used.

        I don’t understand that one either.

        Re Stephen L’s reply……many words in anagram fodder add nothing to the clue regarding misdirection etc. Why does a name get such a hard time?

        If you’re left with, say, L E I V in a 10 letter anagram, what is wrong with collating them as the name Levi as opposed to evil, live, veil or vile?

        I understand that it’s subjective but this one has never got on my radar.

        I think people put too much value on anagram fodder.

  6. Like Pommers, I quickly realized that this was not a Campbell puzzle because the clues were not in his usual style. There was a lot of General Knowledge and I didnt know the card game, although it wasn’t hard to work it out. For me, the best of the clues were tthe7d geographical lego clue, the 21d plant anagram and the 12a cryptic definition/ anagram hybrid. Thanks to the compiler and to Pommers for the hints. Fantastic thunderstorms last night, with torrential rain lasted from 1.30 am to 4. 30 am so it took me a while to solve the guzzle as. It was the second sleepless night in a row, after our neighbours had a noisy barbecue/garden party on Saturday that lasted into the wee small hours. I’m feeling a bit jaded today.

    1. Yes we had sheet lightening for about three hours! Spectacular. And now it is simply bucketing down, George having put the big parasol up to dry 🤭

  7. A pleasant enough Mondayish puzzle which didn’t quite float my boat for some reason. Perhaps I’m just that way out this morning after a busy weekend. I didn’t know 21d though it could have been little else and I failed to parse 24a, although, in retrospect, I did know the rhyming slang. Favourite today was 17d, joined on the podium by 5a and 23d. Thanks to X-Type and pommers.

  8. The Monday morning coffee cruciverbal equivalent of a small glass of chilled dry prosecco late afternoon on a warm day: light, refreshing, and hitting the spot. All straightforward, and though 15d and 21a&d were new to me they could have been nothing else owing to the tight clueing. Hon Mentions to 7d & 23d.

    1* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to X-Type & to Pommers.

  9. No real hold ups but was expecting something a bit gentler for a Monday opener. I have a 15d in the garden and it’s beautiful when in flower.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Pommers.

  10. Had to check 5 answers with Mr Google which is rare for a Monday. Thought it was going to be a lot easier when I started. Thanks to X Type, I’ve now know about about 2 new plants, 1 new Yorkshire town, 1 new game and 1 new pair of glasses. Thanks to Pommers also.

  11. A pleasant start to the week.

    I think there’ll be lots of positive comments as there is something for everyone.

    I was in fine form but my lack of flora and fauna knowledge pushed me into the next time zone.

    I’m with Pommers about the word ‘gift’ in 16a.

    My podium consists of 9a, 3d & 23d.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and X-Type.


  12. A few chestnuts in this one and one of my pet hates in 6d, not to mention an unfamiliar word at the end of the Quickie pun. Otherwise, a reasonable Monday puzzle with no stand-out favourites but smiles for 19a plus 2&23d.

    Thanks to our setter – X-Type? and to pommers for the review. ONLY 32degs? – I’d be melting in a corner in that heat!

    1. 32 is OK by me. It’s when it gets to 36+ that I start to melt and that’s what we had for about 8 weeks this summer.

  13. Reasonably entertaining but for me nothing special. SW last to fall. Both 21’s (a and d) new to me – thank you Mr.(?) Google. 1a took a while to dawn whilst I tinkered with salt and season – d’oh! Struggle to justify needy in 30a. Fav crafty 23d. Thank you Xtype and Pommers.

  14. Not happy with any clues that are more (somewhat esoteric) general knowledge than anything else. Got the mechanics of 21d but I wonder how many others had to rely on google to get “saguardo” …Never heard of it!

    1. Very common in the US southwest (where I live!), and we’re expecting a cool 34 today after a summer of continuous 44s!!

      1. You’ve used a new alias so this needed moderation. All the aliases you’ve used will work from now on.

  15. I knew this was not a Campbell as it made sense! I always find his very difficult. Whatever I found this very enjoyable. The only issue I had was 22d which I had to look up in the BRB, not a term I knew.
    Thx to all

  16. The first 3 months of my employment in France exactly 50 years ago were actually spent in Phoenix AZ so 21d was easy.
    In 4d I thought it was the abbreviated always going round a whole opening rather than vice versa.
    Liked 1 and 9a, then stopped counting. Must say I’d forgotten about the card game, can’t remember when I last played it, if ever.
    Many thanks to X-Type and pommers for turning Monday into a Funday.

    1. I was lucky enough not to witness any shooting, but a lot of the 21ds I saw when riding in the desert were full of bullet holes despite having their arms up in surrender.

    2. Lurker I don’t understand your comment about 4d, it is the always going round the opening as hinted by pommers.

      1. I think that Lurker is referring to the poetic form of the synonym for always surrounding a particular type of opening.

  17. This would have been a ** for me except for 1d and 9a. I always thought 9a referred to toes and just couldn’t remember the 1d town or furniture,other than that a typical enjoyable Monday puzzle. Thanks to all

  18. Jeepers creepers – this rain is apocalyptic, quite intimidating. And so noisy. I got hung up with goats at 9a so it was my LO I. I liked 12a – funnily enough I have just unearthed two pairs of folding pince nez, what on earth can I do with them? They are obviously not gold frames and have been well used so have no value. Anyway, I digress. I enjoyed this distraction from the weather, thank goodness our new roof was completed a month ago or we would be falling over buckets. I liked 1 and 23a, agree that 6d is an abomination, and 13a made me smile after trying to put Ian or Mac round something. Many thanks to the setter and Pommers. I’m going back to pore over Sunday’s toughie – only three to do!

  19. A fun puzzle from X-Type whose style adds a bit of variety to Monday solves. Thanks to him and pommers.

    P.S. pommers, you might wish to have another look at your hint for 22d.

  20. 2*/3*. Everyday in crosswordland is a learning day and I didn’t know the game in 21a, nor the plants in 15d & 21d (but Mrs RD did).

    I think I’ll piggy-back on Jane’s choices with 19a, 2d & 23d my top picks.

    Many thanks to X-Type and to pommers.

  21. So this is the Monday puzzle that is not a Campbell but with X-Type doing the honours, if all is going according to plan.
    Trickier than a normal Monday for me with a couple of words not familiar to me, but able to be worked out with cross-checker letters.
    A few chuckles along the way and a couple of PDM’s too.
    However, I can definitely feel the difference between the two Monday setters and the way they word their clues and parse them.

    2*/3.5* for me on a very cool and rain threatened Sunday night.

    Favourites include 1a, 9a, 13a, 25a, 7d & 18d — with winner 9a
    Chuckles with 9a, 13a, 14a & 18d

    Thanks to X-Type & pommers for hints/blog

  22. Enjoyed this a lot but when I first looked at it thought it was going to be very tricky. However bit by bit it fell and loi was 9a. There was a massive hold up in Norwich today due to a water main burst. Fortunately we go on the scenic route to get to the hospital so we did not get held up. Had blood taken, Xrays, and scans on my hands. As so many patients were stuck in traffic, I simply flew through all the procedures and was out in under an hour! Amazing how busy the inner workings of a hand are – 70 odd photos taken and they all looked like the surface of the moon. Now raining here DG!

  23. A different sort of a Monday crossword and a difficult one too – all fine until it wasn’t fine in the bottom day left corner.
    I think I’m destined to have trouble with Monday crosswords – it was Rufus, then it’s Campbell and now its X-Type too.
    Onwards – I had an almost finished crossword with not a single answer in the bottom left bit.
    Having a wrong answer in 17d – obstacle – not helpful and could almost justify it – dim!!
    I liked 13 and 22a and 2 and 23d. My favourite was 19d.
    Thanks to X-Type for the crossword and to pommers for the hints.

  24. On first read through of the acrosses, I thought we were going to be in for a tricky Monday, but the downs were far kinder and opened it up for me. All my own work except for 9a, I used a word search for that, I would never have got it. I didn’t know 21d but I had all the checkers so was able to work it out and google. I didn’t know 24a was half-inch, but I guess that’s Cockney rhyming slang, a new one to file away. Lots to like, 7d and 15d did stand out, I’ve only seen pics of the latter.
    Thank you X-type for the fun and a great start to the week, needed your unravelling of a few pommers, so thanks for that.

              1. They’ve been around for quite a long time, definitely pre-woke. Probably due to grouchy academics resenting abbreviations denoting something they don’t believe in. Rather like self-service checkouts, you gradually get used to them but feels good to have an occasional rant 😅

                1. self sevice checkouts UG! Bought a card in Smiths and decided to use SSC as the queue to pay was too long. I put card in ‘the bagging area’ – machine yelled ‘place item in the bagging area’. Decided card was not heavy enough so leant slightly on top of it. Machine yelled ‘unknown item in the bagging area’. So I left it there and walked out!

                  1. Once in Tesco I found a tin of tomatoes in with all the donuts. So I stood there repeating “unknown item in the baking area” in a daft robotic voice until they threw me out.

                    (this didn’t really happen but I hope I’ve given people ideas 😂)

      1. Strangely enough, I think it has been in a puzzle before, it rings a bell. I googled it and I think it just means AD.

  25. A few tricky moments in an otherwise enjoyable solve. Any new words were fairly clued and overall I enjoyed the challenge.

    My thanks to X-Type and pommers.

  26. A tad trickier in the top versus the bottom half, but all nicely doable. A few hold ups along the way, but as I was mostly on wavelength, it being an X-type, it was all enjoyable. Thanks to X-type and Pommers. Wish it was getting cooler here, but September is never kind. Walking this morning before breakfast it was just 83F but humidity was 89%, so, as the weathermen like to see, feels like …..

  27. Finally finished, with a feeling of triumph as I thought I would not get there. I enjoyed the challenge. A few words were new to me and needed confirmation that they were real eg 12a, 21 an and d and 22d. Fortunately I remembered 6d from another cryptic a few weeks back. Once I cracked it I think 12a was my favourite. I certainly don’t think Monday can be guaranteed an easy day for a novice anymore.

    Many thanks to XType and to Pommers for the hints

  28. All good fun. Starting to enjoy these learn-along-a-Mondays. Faves 24a, 29a, 7d, 18d. Thanks Pommers and setter 🍻

  29. Pommers is mainly correct re 29a. Historically tithes were a kind of church tax and payment could be legally enforced. The legal obligation to pay tithes was abolished long ago but the term is still sometimes used to describe voluntary payments to a religious body.

  30. Well there were a number of unfamiliar things requiring post solve investigation (the 6d term, the card game, the salmon, the plants & the Quickie waterfall) but fortunately the fodder/wordplay & pun rendered the answers accessible so a brisk completion. Particularly liked the poetic always when ever was there to muddy the parsing but top two for me a toss up between 7d&13a.
    Thanks to X-Type for an enjoyable guzzle & to pommers
    Ps no probs with Reg, Gretel & Norma in my book but I agree with Stephen’s point that the wordplay is greatly enhanced if the christian name used relates to someone identifiable by the surface read.

    1. I agree it enhances it but that’s a bonus. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t merit a quibble. Nowhere near it.

      But, that’s where some of us differ.

      The rich tapestry of life and all that caper.

  31. 9a was a real hmm and never heard of 12a, 21a or 21d. I thought 6d (CE) was current *** which obviously didn’t fit. All of which made it rather unsatisfactory so I think I’ll leave it there. Thanks to X-Type anyway and Pommers.

  32. Who on earth would know 21d- anagram or not? I seem to be in a different crossword universe! Haven’t been able to do quite a few recently- looking forward to brain cells working soon. Lots of thunder and rain here and feeling a lot cooler than predicted weather forecasts- won’t be long before the water bottles come out! Many thanks to Pommers for much appreciated clues and setter for workout that was beyond my capabilities today.

    1. Agree with 21d, even with the checkers, and to a lesser extent 12a, if you didn’t know the word.
      As for BC/CE, each to their own. At least its better than the term Christian name as a generic first name.

  33. 9a was last in as I tried to organise several words to fit the clue. I wasn’t keen on 6d. BC and AD for me. The rest was all fair. Fortunately 21d was straight in because I’ve seen it growing in the wild on several trips to Phoenix, Arizona, but a difficult clue for some. It wouldn’t be a plant that would instantly spring to mind. Thank you setter and Pommers.

  34. Late on parade again. I haven’t read the comments so please accept my apologies if I mention something that has been said already. Today was most definitely not by Campbell and I found some of it a bit obscure. Having said that, the clues were most informative and games such as that in 21a could be deduced even without ever having heard of them. Neither have I heard of the plant at 21d and 22d was a complete mystery. No real favourites today – I just enjoyed it.

    Thank you to the setter for the challenge. Thank you, pommers for the hints.

  35. ***/* for me. Too many words I had to look up to check they even existed. Grateful thanks to Pommers for the hints.

  36. Interesting I found that words I had forgotten came back to me. Any unknown ones were easy to work out. 1 13 16 29a and 7d were favourites. Thanks Xtype and Pommers although no hints needed.

  37. Pommers I am very late looking at this puzzle and am really enjoying it.
    One small point is that the answer to 7d transposes the first 2 letters of habit.
    Thanks to the setter.

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