DT 30412 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30412

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30412

Hints and tips by Mr K

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

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Friday. I found today’s puzzle distinctly chewy, with many passes though the list of clues being required to get a completed grid.  In hindsight there’s nothing too exotic in the wordplay, so I don’t know why that happened – the wavelength thing perhaps?  Lots of fun lurking in the clues, but I felt it was a step up in difficulty from what we’ve seen on recent Fridays . 

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    Ancient Rome retrospective in Mail? I'm confused (10)
IMMEMORIAL:  The reversal (retrospective) of ROME inserted in an anagram (confused) of MAIL I’M 

6a    Prepare to take off tariff required by India (4)
TAXI:  A tariff or duty with the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by India 

A cat 6a

9a    Interrupting rest, northern Democrat ruled (5)
LINED:  The single letter for northern is inserted in (interrupting) rest horizontally, and that’s all followed by the single letter for Democrat 

This cat notepaper is 9a

10a   Trace backfiring old truck that's full of rusty metal (9)
SCRAPYARD:  A trace or fragment with the reversal (backfiring) of a truck without sides used for delivering heavy loads 

12a   Vehicle in which one drives a short distance back to front (4-2,4-3)
ROLL-ON ROLL-OFF:  A cryptic definition of a large vehicle that might carry yours so you don’t have to drive much

The name of the vehicle is "The Cat"

14a   Treated badly, after time showing tears? (8)
TATTERED:  An anagram (badly) of TREATED comes after the physics symbol for time 

15a   Sincere upset after I dropped present (6)
SCREEN:  An anagram (upset) of SINCERE minus I from the clue (I dropped

17a   One's keen to take off on holiday (6)
NUDIST:  A cryptic definition of somebody who likes to take everything off 

19a   Elaborate display from 17? (5,3)
FLESH OUT:  How one might describe the appearance of a 17a 

21a   Fall short ahead of a popular home fixture (6,7)
SHOWER CURTAIN:  Concatenate fall or rain, short or abrupt, A from the clue, and popular or fashionable. SHOWER (fall) + CURT (short) + A + IN  (popular)

24a   Local population of Cyprus, say, or Italy lies about (9)
ISLANDERS:  The IVR code for Italy with a verb meaning “lies about”  The say indicates that the definition is by example 

25a   Strike succeeds in place of communication (5)
INBOX:  Stike or hit follows (succeeds) IN from the clue 

The cat is 25a

26a   Left Old Street to get around crowds (4)
LOTS:  Link together the single letter for left, the abbreviation for old, and the reversal (to get around) of the abbreviation for street 

27a   Picks out cheeses -- in go certain ingredients for a roll (10)
RECOGNISES:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of (… ingredients for a roll) of the remainder of the clue 



1d    Vocal star getting no work? (4)
IDLE:  A homophone (vocal) of a star or object of worship 

2d    Fashion bags are height of devotion (7)
MINARET:  Fashion or create contains (bags) ARE from the clue 

3d    Egypt's ultimate character could be seen as this? (6-7)
MIDDLE-EASTERN:  We’re looking for an adjective describing Egypt which when read as cryptic wordplay leads us to the last (ultimate) character of EGYPT 

4d    Builds up banks again? (8)
RESTORES:  The answer could also mean banks or puts away again 

5d    Song, Queen's metal item, which repels drips (5)
AIRER:  A song or melody with the Latin abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth 

The cat is on the 5d

7d    Site of 1836 battle, with Germany and Spain giving in (1,2,4)
A LA MODE:  The site of an 1836 battle in the US (that a song tells us to remember) with the IVR codes for Germany and Spain 

8d    During edit, fine novel becomes confused (10)
INDEFINITE:  A short synonym of “during” is followed by an anagram (novel) of EDIT FINE 

11d   Force home what railway security should do? (6,7)
POLICE STATION:  Something that’s a force with another word for home 

Cat helping out at the 11d

13d   Stop Peter and Paul maybe suffering (10)
STANDSTILL:  The abbreviations for what Peter and Paul define by example (maybe) are sandwiching AND from the clue, and that’s all followed by suffering or sick  ST (e.g. Peter) AND ST (e.g. Paul) + ILL (suffering)

The cat is at a 13d

16d   In revolutionary havoc, serf lashed out (8)
ALFRESCO:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of (in revolutionary) the remainder of the clue 

18d   Lower rent a small amount (7)
DROPLET:  Lower or decrease with rent or hire 

The cat likes an 18d or two

20d   Bonus I'm assembling for collection (7)
OMNIBUS:  An anagram (assembling) of BONUS I’M 

22d   Found ducks a home for 24? (5)
CRETE:  Found or invent minus (ducks) A from the clue 

23d   Team splits as it's rotated around (4)
AXIS:  The pair of Roman numerals for a team of, for example, football players inserted in (splits) AS from the clue  XI (Eleven/Team) inserted in AS


Thanks to today’s setter. Top clue for me was 13d. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  BAR + SELL + OWNER = BARCELONA

98 comments on “DT 30412
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    1. Failed miserably to engage with the setter’s mindset. I usually fly through the answers. Will try again after a lie down

  1. Brilliant!
    I’m not a fan of pitting puzzles against each other as most invariably have their merits but this has got to be right up there with best of the week. I always think this setter’s clues are full of such clever subtleties and nuance.
    My page is littered with ticks but I’ll mention 15&21a plus 3,11,13&23d with the super 22d taking top spot.
    Many thanks to Zandio and Mr K

  2. 5*/2*. I found this very tough and I can’t say that I really enjoyed it as I never seemed to get onto the right wavelength.

    12a could equally well be front to back depending on which way the ferry is facing.

    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    1. 12a … or even front to front (or should that be back to back!) in case of doubled ended ferries (see Gozo Channel and others). Poorly worded clue.

  3. With the exception of one clue (17a – why ‘on holiday’? Seems irrelevant, and not required to be a 17a) I thought this a superb puzzle, and a photo-finish with yesterday’s from Silvanus for POTW. Challenging but not too chewy, witty and ingenious clueing, some lovely tricks, everything scrupulously fair, with laugh out loud moments throughout. A perfect Friday backpager.

    Ticks absolutely everywhere on my printout, so will have to edit the list of Hon Mentions down to 24a, 3d, 7d, 11d, 13d and COTD the wonderful 19a.

    3* / 4.5*

    Quite brilliant, thank you setter (my thought too was Zandio) and MrK

  4. Delightful. As per Mr K, twas the toughest Friday for a while – certainly tougher than yesterday’s toughie. But it’s Friday so that’s only right and proper. It took a moment to attune but once I did, the pace picked up no end – 7d and 21a were especially clever. Reminded me of Robyn in his Picaroon mode but I see SL has attributed it to Zandio so, of course, I bow to his judgement. Either way, it was splendid – fresh and sharp. Hearty thanks to the setter and, of course, Mr K.

  5. A brilliant puzzle with well-disguised traps all over the place – many thanks to our setter and Mr K.
    Of the many clues to which I gave ticks I’ll mention 21a, 27a, 7d, 11d, 13d and 22d.

  6. I found most of the clues baffling in this Friday crypto-Toughie and managed to fill in only 7 before throwing in the towel, as I wasn’t really enjoying the struggle. Thanks to Mr K for the hints which I will now read and to the compiler for his efforts. It ju,st wasn’t my cup of tea

  7. This puzzle took me back to my rock climbing days when I had started something way out of my comfort zone and needed every bit of assistance available. Instead of a tight rope, knees and elbows, I needed every bit of electronic assistance available (except Danword) to complete today.

    Despite my finish being far from unaided, there was still a degree of satisfaction to see the filled in grid. Lots of ticks for both the humour and the cleverness of the clues – 6a, 19a, 7d &13d amongst many.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K for one or two explanations. I am not a cat fan but you find some of the most amusing and appropriate illustrations. 🙂

  8. Being mindful of Stephen’s comment about pitting puzzles against each other I’ll just say that my page is littered with ‘hmms’ which says to me who compiled this one. I did find merit in 3,11&13d and the Quickie pun raised a smile but otherwise I thought our setter was trying too hard to be cryptic at the expense of solvers’ enjoyment.

    Thanks to Zandio for the puzzle and to Mr K for the review and felines – loved the one with no work!

    1. Thank you for the entertaining guzzle, even though at one stage I thought I would have to go and lie down in a dark room. I particularly liked 24a and 7d.

      1. Yes, it took two of us an hour and a half to finish this. A right struggle for every clue but we got there in the end. A lie down was just what was needed afterwards. Thanks to the setter and Mr K for the cats.

  9. Another nice puzzle for a Friday with little to throw one off course. Quite the nice end to the work week and unfortunately we have to say goodbye to summer today. Supposed to rain here in the Lower Mainland of BC for the next week. YUCK! Always makes the dog walk miserable and the towels to dry both of us off at the end of the walk, the damp clothes etc etc … ugh!

    1.5*/3.5* for me

    Favourites include 6a, 10a, 14a, 26a, 7d & 18d — with winner 11d but could have been any of them. 6d would be my runner up.

    Thanks to Zandio & Mr K for hints/blog

  10. I enjoyed this immensely and while found it hard, did complete at breakfast in time for a quick 9 holes of golf!
    I must confess I did cheat to find the battle, but still added it to my list of faves. In no particular order, along with 7d I liked 3d, 22d, and the two lurkers at 16d and 27a.
    V many thanks to Zandio and to Mr K.

  11. For me this was too much of a challenge to be really enjoyable. I managed to struggle through after accessing a couple of the hints, which I don’t like to do. ( I know that’s what they’re there for – it’s that thing called pride again!) Both reverse lurkers were especially well disguised with smooth surfaces. Favourite today was 3d, very clever and misleading. I also liked 2d for the same reason and 24a. Thanks to our setter for the challenge and Mr K for helping me out and the kitty pics – you’ve excelled yourself today.

    1. If I am really stuck , that is when I turn to the hints and underline the key word – just as the Hinter does. This seems to focus my mind – I only do a reveal if I am absolutely stuck – you are quite right , it is a matter of pride !

  12. For me the worst puzzle of the week. Overly complex wordplay some of which was beyond belief. Managed to complete it but this was a real drag for me. Glad the experts enjoyed two Toughies in one day.
    Thx for the hints.

      1. Coincidentally Dada as Paul in the Graun today (part of the football pitch where energy is located) uses the same wordplay device at 21d & it still took a while to peg

  13. A very clever puzzle and, in my book, the toughest back pager for a long while.
    Thank you Zandio and Mr K – I’m glad I wasn’t blogging that one!

  14. Tough for a backpager but a lot of fun. It took me too long to see how 3d works (very clever), my favourite was 13d. Thanks to Zandio and Mr K

  15. We got well over half on first pass but had to scratch our heads to finish off.
    I struggled to get on Zandio’s wavelength but pommers managed to tease the rest out.
    Some nice clues – loved 12a and 19a (which was actually our last one in)
    But had a fair few with an X against them as we didn’t like them at all. So 4* / 3*
    Thanks to Zandio for the work out and to MrK for blog – and all those lovely kitties

  16. Way too hard for me too but I very much enjoyed Mr K’s cats. These made up for having to read almost all of his tips for the far too many clues I just didn’t get.

    1. Lovely word pulchritude but many would think of it negatively if applied to them. As in ‘she is a perfect example of pulchritude’ everyone could not help staring as the pulchritudinous woman walked by.’

      My wife was the most pulchritudinous young woman when I was at college so I married her.

  17. Sorry, I meant to continue the above. On a first pass I did the anagrams, then gradually built up the grid although 10a and 4&22d held out until last. I liked 6,24a and 7,16 d. For 12a I had Push me, Pull you firmly stuck in my mind. Many thanks to Messrs Zandio & Kay. It is once again ‘chucking it down, to use a vulgar phrase, yuk.
    Message for Merusa – I was fascinated to read late last night (doing guzzle in the bath having been out at a Ladies Lunch most of the day) that you use a different word each day of the week for Wordle! I think that is a hoot. I have a list of words but my most usual is adieu as it does reveal four vowels but I quite like raise as well. I seem to be quite lucky at it and have a score of 98, did it in 2 again yesterday – George knows what the Whoopee is at breakfast! There really is a great deal of luck involved.
    Off now to start tying many hundreds of poppies to the net ready for Armistice Day. A friend known for her fairly unused cooker has offered her dining room for the work to stay in situ whilst we do it.

    1. I use a different word each day but it always has two vowels in it. When we were on holiday in June/July I had to reset my Kindle to factory settings and lost all my data. Since then I have solved all the Wordles so it says I have a 100% record which is actually completely untrue but nevertheless it congratulates me each day!

    2. I use a different word each day- whatever comes into my head. I am reasonably successful. My daughter used the same word every day (earth). She is also successful. So far as today’s puzzle is concerned I may have only 10 or 12 right so am likely to resort to hints. Pleased I got 3d so can’t be completely stupid.

    3. I like “adieu” too and use it sometimes but I like a change! Apart from my Sunday seed word, I usually use one of my Waffle words, which I did today, had all blanks at first but completed in 3. Vowels are the most important. As they say in Guys & Dolls, it’s all a “crap shoot”.

      P.S., see my post above, I was fixated on Dr. Dolittle’s push-me, pull-you!

    4. I do the Telegraph Plusword on the app and use the answer as my Wordle start word.. – it is surprisingly successful! 😁👍

    5. Daisy, I use whatever word pops into my head for Wordle, and it seems to work. I’ve currently reached 89 days, so sure to come crashing down to earth soon. Eldest daughter thinks I am nuts, she and her husband bath start every day with the same word…

  18. If I have the temerity to say that the cryptic was too easy to enjoy, I am directed to the toughie! But for me, today was a toughie. Even with a break to the garden centre for autumn pansies and a reluctant return to the wretched thing, five remained stubbornly beyond our John!
    Thank you for the hints and to the setter for this diabolic puzzle. Ugh!

  19. I wondered at first if others found this difficult and so glad that most did . Six in and then had to make scones for visitors. Later bash at it with the odd bung in brought me to the last two , namely 25a and 23d. Life cannot be given over to a crossword so with tip for 25 a I was able to get the last one in . There were some delightful clues that made the head scratching worthwhile. Thank you to all the hard workers who make up this puzzle and the hints .

  20. Only managed two on the first pass and one of them was wrong so gave up. Thanks to Zandio for the time and effort he put into this even if it wasn’t my cup of tea,and to Mr kitty who is probably laying down with a cold compress on his head after sorting this out.

  21. I managed about a third in bed this morning and then went off to do my grotty printing job. Decided I deserved to be taken out to lunch so had a delicious toasted brie and bacon sarnie at our local bistro. Then back to tackle the rest. I did manage to finish unaided but it was a tremendous slog and not entirely enjoyable – sorry. Thanks for the kitty pics.

  22. Very, very difficult
    Perhaps an excess of
    Cryptic clues and too
    Convoluted wordplay
    But doable.
    Just one to go.
    Thanks Zandio and the Mr K.

  23. Very difficult but I got there eventually with the parsing as difficult as the solving. I read 11d as a double definition. Favourite was 3d. Thanks to Zandio and Mr. K.

  24. Terrific puzzle, really enjoyable, though undoubtedly tough! For a while I convinced myself for no very good reason that 3d was going to be M….. Earther, and was struggling to find a Tolkien connection, and it held me up quite a bit in the SW corner. It’s amazing the knots one can tie oneself up in! Many thanks.

  25. That was hard! My grey cells need a lie down now. Very happy to have finished unaided. I do enjoy a puzzle that lasts a while. Thanks to Zandio and Mr K.

  26. Quickly realised this wasn’t one for glancing at on the mobile between teeing off groups so left it until back home. A distinct step up in difficulty from Zandio’s normal Friday fare, very entertaining (photo finish with Silvanus for best of a strong week) & with some extremely clever clueing. Ticks aplenty – 10,21&27a plus 7,11&13d particular likes
    Thanks to Zandio & to Mr K for an excellent review & puss pics

  27. Well that was tricky. I have finally finished but was helped by the first few comments which I peeped at earlier to see if I had lost all my brain cells overnight. I had managed about half then ground to a halt, and as I had ‘push me pull you’ stuck in my head I just could not get going again. A read of the first few comments reassured me that I still had some marbles and that I was on the wrong track with 12a. Once I got restarted I managed to finish but I could not see the parsing of some and I was saved by the check answer feature. Now it’s over I can see how clever the clues were, my favourite being 7d.

    I will now lie down, have a gin and read the hints and read the rest of the comments- not necessarily in that order.

    Many thanks to the setter and to mr K whose hints I definitely need .

  28. Hard work that one. Took a goodly while to get anywhere. Once a few checkers went in I started making headway but quite a number required reverse-engineering. Toughest Friday cryptic in a while but at least it kept me entertained whilst waiting for the rain to go off thankfully. Thanks Zandio for the challenge and Mr K and his cats for the excellent blogging.

  29. The best thing about today’s puzzle, without a doubt, was Mr K’s pictures. Otherwise, way above my pay grade and a waste of paper and ink. Disappointing, as we had a full morning out, breakfast followed by shopping and a walk in the Mall in the AC, and I came home looking forward to settling down with today’s cryptic. I tell myself to just be happy we’ve had a good run until today, but can’t help agreeing with Brian that this is just a double Toughie day. No enjoyment here. Thanks for the pics Mr K, and my hats off to you for solving this. Never mind, Wordle was great as usual, and I’m off to Spelling Bee now,

  30. What a challenge. Good job the weather was terrible I was forced to stay in and had a lot of time to spare. The car ferry clue was so vague and I hadn’t enough checkers to solve it .Sadly 3 and 4d eluded me until then.
    This wasn’t my cup of tea but there were many clever clues 11 and 23d
    Thanks for the hints.

  31. Quite dreadful! Can’t recall a less enjoyable cruciverbal exercise. After an unproductive start I worked my way down the clues and looked up the solutions which only served to reveal that I was nowhere near this alien wavelength but I’m reassured to discover I’m far from alone in that. Too many hmms to be specific. Thank you Mysteron (Zandio I understand) and MrK for allocating four stars to this mind-bender. Anyway here’s to more fun tomorrow! 👎!

  32. Oh dear me, no! Can’t say I enjoyed the process, needed all the help in the world (thanks Mr K) but struggled even with the hints.

  33. Beyond me today. None on the first breakfast read through and thought I had clicked on the toughie by mistake. Post work managed to get 5, then gave up. Was relieved to see others felt the same. With the hints can see a few which I should have got but others that remained beyond me – how to learn and improve. Thanks Zandio, and Mr K

  34. Finished it unaided but still don’t understand 3d. Obviously it describes Egypt but what’s the connection with T apart from being Egypt’s last letter?

  35. Whew a good sleep helped me solve three more clues but still four unsolved so I finally give up. All make sense thanks to Mr K with some very clever reverse lurkers from Zandio, what a great challenge

  36. Solved 4 (with assistance) then didn’t bother to waste any more time. Courtesy obliges me to thank the setter and Mr. K and also obliges me to refrain from further comment.

  37. 5*/4* ….
    liked 16D “In revolutionary havoc, serf lashed out (8)”
    had to laugh at the pic of a worried cat in the hint to 13D.

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