DT 30439 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30439

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,439
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **  –  Enjoyment ***

After a miserable rainy start to the day it’s brightening up nicely here in Harpenden so a walk looking like a distinct possibility. No golf obviously but much improved & my MRI has at least dispelled concern about a suspected rotator cuff tear. Hoping to be able to drive a car before too long.

As this is the same grid as my last blog a fortnight ago I suspect it’s the work of our usualTuesday setter but I’m sure Senf will know whether or not the Quickie grid is one of his. I suspect most will find it pretty straightforward if a tad more difficult than yesterday. I found it an enjoyable guzzle with a nice mix of clue types.

I do hope someone will own up & keep me company by admitting to brain fog at 18a. It was my last in & took as long as the rest of the puzzle which is ironic as I’ve spent heaps of time listening to music while laid up.

In the following hints, definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual. Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle.


1a What holidaymaker needs? Foreign bar and gossip (8,4)
BOARDING PASS: an anagram (foreign) of BAR AND GOSSIP

9a Chimps with no bananas securing adult supporters (9)
CHAMPIONS: another anagram (bananas) of CHIMPS + NO + (securing) the single letter for Adult

10a What traps craft? Solid ground (5)
EARTH: place a two letter exclamation of surprise or inquiry around the usual synonym for craft

11a Expression of hesitation about very small insurrection (6)
MUTINY: reverse (about) a two letter expression of hesitation + another word for very small. A famous one took place in the South Pacific in 1789 which has been thrice filmed.


12a Harassed fools maybe returning (8)
STRESSED: reverse (returning) what fools may be an example of. Nowt to do with intelligence.

13a Flipping short rubbish bags female put up with (6)
SUFFER: reverse & truncate (flipping short) a synonym for rubbish & insert (bags) the single letter for Female.

15a Relates worries about old politician(8)
COMPARES: another word for worries into which you insert the single letter for Old & the usual abbreviation for a member of the House of Commons.

18a Singular thing axeman uses without large reach (8)
SPECTRUM: the letter for Singular + a thin piece of material (usually plastic) used by an axeman less the letter for Large. Context of axeman key here & discussed on the blog quite recently. Here’s a pic of a great one whose latest album Blues Deluxe Volume 2 is highly recommended to those who like that sort of thing.

19a Strip and run naked (6)
STREAK: double definition.


21a Bang on a clapped-out car with copper inside (8)
ACCURATE: insert the chemical symbol for copper into A from the clue + a rather old fashioned term for a clapped-out old banger.

23a Dogs scratching soft heaps (6)
OODLES: remove the piano abbreviation for soft from a dog breed.

26a On this we watched Kojak? (5)
TELLY: an &lit clue I assume – wrongly it would seem. Jose & Gazza say double def & I’m sure they’ll be correct. What you would have watched a popular American crime drama series shown in the seventies on & the first name of the actor who played the title character. Seem to remember he said Who loves ya baby?

27a One who demonstrates in favour of examiner (9)
PROTESTER: the usual preposition for in favour of + another word for an examiner.

28a I felt alarmed at sea? (5,7)
FLEET ADMIRAL: an anagram (at sea) of I FELT ALARMED. The whole clue serves as both definition & wordplay.

1d Arrive wearing almost finest suits (7)
BECOMES: place a synonym of finest less the final letter (almost) around (wearing) another word for arrive.

2d A bit cut off (5)
APART: A from the clue + a synonym for bit.

3d Hanging criminal tended to captivate writer (9)
DEPENDENT: an anagram (criminal) of TENDED & insert (to captivate) a writing implement.

4d Twelve working after union oddly ignored (4)
NOON: the alternate letters (oddly ignored) of uNiOn + the usual for working.

5d Burden? I’m leaving job (8)
POSITION: remove (leaving) I’m from a synonym for burden.

6d Son married East European (5)
SWEDE: the single letter for Son + a word for married + the letter for East.

7d Keep quiet about the first shot at Wimbledon (8)
PRESERVE: the letter indicating quiet + a preposition meaning about + the opening shot in tennis.

8d Sunglasses primarily suit very hot place(6)
SHADES: the first letter (primarily) of Suit + the toasty underground abode of the dead in Greek myth. Neat surface.

14d Passionately cry – I feel bad (8)
FIERCELY: an anagram (bad) of CRY I FEEL.

16d Let me pour out oil (9)
PETROLEUM: another anagram (out) of LET ME POUR

17d Many fish endlessly grabbing head (8)
MULTIPLE: insert (grabbing) a word for head or extremity into a fish less the final letter (endlessly)

18d Gets cracking pastry in ship (6)
STARTS: a type of pastry inside the usual two letter ship prefix.

20d Boat circling second tense river bird (7)
KESTREL: place the structural element of a watercraft around (circling) the single letters for Second, Tense & River for a bird Barry Hines wrote about & Ken Loach wonderfully filmed.

22d King Lear, perhaps, in play orchestrated upset(5)
ROYAL: a reverse lurker (in/upset) found in play orchestrated. Definition by example.

24d Student had a meal right afterwards (5)
LATER: single letter for student + a word for had a meal + the letter for Right.

25d Zoom half cut off the French novelist (4)

ZOLA: 50% of zoom (half cut off) + French for the when it’s a feminine object. Therese Raquin the only one I’ve ever read.


18a the hands down favourite for me today with ticks also for 10,26&28a along with 5,8&17d. Which ones ticked your boxes?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: DAM+ BUS+ TERSE  = DAM BUSTERS


92 comments on “DT 30439
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  1. Very slow to get a toehold today, but once a couple were in all went swimmingly, until the last two17d and 18a.
    Looked at 17d and read about the endless fish and thought ‘great, an unknown fish, can’t be many options there then!’ So looked again at 18a and the axeman suddenly crept back into clarity, and with a ‘U’ now in 17d the fish was soon solved.
    Great puzzle, great fun, thanks to our compiler today, will look later to see who it was.

  2. I too found it hard to get into this guzzle and after finding just 3 answers in the top half, I shifted to the bottom half and managed to get enough checkers to get going. There was some very effective misdirection, which resulted in some well- hidden anagrams, that I wuite enjoyed, 1a was particularly good. There were some rather fine lego clues, the best of which and my COTD being 18a, which I saw straightaway but it took a while to connect the answer with reach . 8d was quite witty too and,as an old codger, I enjoyed the cryptic definition in 26a, recalling the series and its leading actpor quite well. So thanks to Huntsman for the hints and I’m glad to hear that your rotator cuff iis nnot injured. Rhanks also to the compiler for a wily and challenging guzzle.

  3. A tad more difficult than yesterday, but that’s how it should be. It took me a while to get going but once I’d solved the anagrams at 1a and 9a the rest of the top half fell into place. I found the bottom half a little easier until I got to 18a. I’m with Huntsman in the amount of time it took for the penny to drop. I don’t know much about that type of music but it isn’t long since we had a similar clue and detailed explanation. Strangely for me my favourite today was the cleverly thought out anagram at 28a, supported by 13a and 7d. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  4. 1.5*/3.5*. I thought this was light and very enjoyable apart from the American answer to 28a for which I docked half-a-star. The correct British rank is Admiral of the Fleet.

    18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman.

  5. I shall be tackling today’s offering later, hope the comments so far are not a foretaste…
    I asked a few weeks ago about what offers others were being given for their Telegraph subs. My renewal came in last week, £189 for the basic digital package as against £149 last year and £100 the year before, way above inflation. I spoke to the nice Margaret on the phone this morning. I don’t seem to have got the attractive offers some of you have got, I ended up with £139 for the year. When I commented we had to pay extra for the puzzles site to get everything on there she gave me a Puzzles subscription for £5 for the year. Reasonable I thought and still less than I paid them last year overall.
    I queried why I never received the crossword newsletter, she had no real answer but has deleted all my newsletter subscriptions (not sure how many as I have never received any of them..) and told me to resubscribe and they ‘should come through’. I am not holding my breath over that one.

    1. And to add to that, I see they have just now launched a £25/year special offer on the subs, but presumably only available to new subscribers…… Just my luck.

    2. Encouraged by the comments about saving money on DT subscriptions I rang them this afternoon. We pay £82.37 per month for the paper edition. After much
      discussion it was agreed tht it would be reduced to £71.50 per month. It was quite a rigmarole to achieve this. Is that about right? Or have others fared better?

      1. Daisy we pay quarterly for our paper vouchers and managed to get to £182 per quarter rather than their proposed £247 per quarter.

  6. The combo pair of grids definitely indicates that this is an Anthony Plumb production but one in which he seems to have upped the ante somewhat – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 18a (a huge tea tray PDM), and 8d – and the winner is 12a.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman, pleased to hear that you are on the mend.

  7. 18a had me unable to finish for quite some time! I always forget that odd meaning. Otherwise I sped through about half and then struggled with the rest. Lots of overwriting and correction which I hate!
    So, from thinking it Saturdayish to much trickier, over half an hour.
    Thanks to compiler and others.

  8. Simply dreadful day here today, teeming rain and jolly cold. Weird puzzle for me but finished unaided. Despite getting 18a correct still don’t understand it – where does axeman fit in? Thanks to the setter and Huntsman – glad you are on the mend. Has anyone heard of Immediate Alpha and is it a scam or for real?

    1. M. Axe is a slang word for guitar. So, an “axeman” is a guitarist who would use a plectrum – without large (L) = P(L)ECTRUM. S + P(L)ECTRUM.

      1. Hi Jose

        In the well known film The Blues Brothers, there is a line in the music store, which is directed to Ray Charles, where referring to the electric keyboard, John Belushi says “we’ll take these axes”.

        Not just a guitar it seems…

  9. A pleasant Tuesday puzzle – thanks to our setter and Huntsman,
    I don’t think 28a really works – the anagram is obvious but why should such a person (normally found behind a desk rather than on the bridge) be alarmed?
    My boxes were ticked by 21a, 1d and 7d.

    1. I can see where you’re coming from Gazza and I could be wrong but i think the definition is just the first word with the rest wordplay, the “felt alarmed” simply providing the fodder rather than being part of the definition. The question mark indicates an example?

      1. Thanks, SL, I suppose that’s possible but ‘I’ is part of the fodder so if it’s also the definition it’s doing double duty. I think that Huntsman’s correct in describing the clue as an all-in-one but in that case the definition (i.e. the whole clue) is not very satisfactory.

        1. Yes, you’re right – I’ve changed my mind! The “I” would be doing double duty. And the whole clue as a definition is somewhat contrived/unconvincing – I have seen worse, though. On this subject, would you say 26a is an &lit or a double definition?

        2. Of course, the I is part of the fodder! In which case there can’t be any other definition other than the whole clue, which, as you say, doesn’t really define the solution.

        3. I agree that the clue is an all-in-one (&lit.). I interpret the question mark as indicating that the clue describes a situation in which this individual might find themselves — quite plausible if, like me, one is unaware that the individual commands a desk rather than a vessel.

  10. Found this easier than yesterdays. Still can’t see how 28a relates to the answer, I saw it was an anagram and bunged it in, unless it means someone who is at sea🤷‍♂️. The axeman caught me out again and was the last in. 20d brought an umm, keel is part of a boat but not a boat in itself. As usual I suppose I am wrong to question any of the answers but perhaps someone will put me straight. Thanks to all.

    1. DaveG, 28a is the American name for their highest ranking naval officer as per my comment @4. The British equivalent is Admiral of the Fleet.

    2. Someone has to take up the challenge. BRB Revised 13th Edition Page 815 and the Chambers App, keel2 in both – a low flat-bottomed boat, a barge (also keel’boat)

      1. I assumed there must be a boat called a keel but couldn’t find evidence of one hence I put structural element in the hint. Can’t say I’m particularly au fait with naval ranks on either side of the pond either….

      2. “Synecdoche”. A figure of speech in which the name of a part is used to describe the whole. Hence “keel” for “boat”.
        Occasionally the other way round as in “England beat South Africa” = the English team beat ……
        They should be so lucky!

        1. Excellent knowledge, Mister N! ( a ‘new’ version of ‘minster’)

          I’ve just looked up its etymology and it’s a bunch of small Greek prefixes and tiny words.

          Its pronunciation is also splendid: sin eck ducky.

          My day is full.

          Thank you.

  11. 18a an easy winner this morning from a fine selection of mainly top class clues, with just the two nautical ones causing an eyebrow twitch. Great fun.

    My thanks to, presumably, AP and Huntsman.

  12. That wretched axeman fools me every time, no matter how often he puts in an appearance so I suppose he deserves a place on the podium where he’s joined by 21a and 7d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman for the review. So pleased to hear that your injury isn’t quite as bad as was feared but for goodness sake stay away from that little white ball until you’ve properly recovered.

    1. At the moment I’m basking in the achievement of getting a spoonful of soup to my mouth with the correct hand so golf is a way off. I’m not yet scratching however my early entry into the 2024 geriatric arm wrestling championship…..

  13. More of a challenge than last Tuesday’s but enjoyably so. SW required most effort. 28a iffy and not keen on use of slang abbreviations e.g. 26a. Gather it has appeared before but 16a axeman is a new one on me. Thanks to Mr. Plumb and Huntsman.

      1. Not that modern, Brian, but there are various theories of which for me the most feasible is that it originated from saxophone.

          1. 😁🙌 A band I saw in the 90’s had a guitarist who trashed his 12-string Ricky in a haze of feedback, the tailpiece flew off and hit me in the face – I kept it as a trophy. I still feel sorry for the hapless tech searching the pit for it with his torch!

  14. This must have been a Campbell whose puzzles are always a bit of a struggle. The top stumped me completely to start with but the bottom half was ok. Gradually unpicked the top but had to use the hints to explain my answers to 10a (v odd) and 17d.
    No favourites but an ok puzzle.
    Thx to all

  15. Solid.

    Took a bit of time to get up and running but, once that was done, I sailed through it.

    Lots of great surfaces aided by a v friendly grid. 18a tested me and the anagram in 28a took longer than it should have done. ‘Guess a fish’ for 17d also took me a while. My children have substituted the word ‘many’ with this word in the expression ‘many times’ which annoys me.


    My contested podium is 1a, 13a & 21a.


  16. Enjoyable puzzle in the end. Last night I struggled to get started but after sleeping on it it proved manageable. 18a for fav as well

  17. I thought this was brilliant. And you are right, Huntsman, that 18a was the last to fall. It was a tad anagram heavy which suits me down to the ground and my scratch pad is covered with circles of letters. Yes, I’m so predictable. Daisies for 10,11,23a and 5,8,17 d. Favourite has to be 23a because I had two adorable black ones when we got married, mother and daughter and both lived for 18 years- so 20 years of the most intelligent and sensitive canine companionship. The puppy was born 10 days after DD2 and the visiting midwife said she had delivered hundreds of babies but never seen an animal born – would I call her when the contractions started. Am I the only woman ever to Call the Midwife to deliver puppies? Sorry, I should have given Anecdote alert. I am glad that your shoulder is improving Huntsman and thanks for explaining 18a again also thanks to the clever Mr Setter. It rained in the night but our poppies still look good🤞(puppies and poppies in the same post!).

    1. Daisy did you look at Agent B’s fun submission to Rookie Corner yesterday? You featured at 18a & I feel we should be assured that the male in question was indeed George.

        1. I have just printed it off – and have seen 18a.
          I could be really saucy about this, but am too much of a lady!
          You know what Matron does to naughty boys……

  18. This Tuesday puzzle was pretty straightforward I found. Nothing obscure and parsing for me today was solid. A couple of answers made me smile like 21a, 23a, 26a & 6d.


    Favourites include 12a, 21a, 26a, 6d & 7d — with winner a 21a/26a toss-up

    Thanks to AP & Huntsman

  19. A very enjoyable puzzle and finished unaided! Usually, I don’t get around to doing the puzzles until the evening when it’s a bit late to comment. Many thanks to the setter, for the hints, and to all contributors to this blog (which I visit daily).

  20. If you know what an axeman is, then this puzzle held no real demons. Still it occupied a nice hour of my time in between cooking a sirloin and feeding the dog with the scraps. Golden Retrievers eat anything as any dog owner would know.
    Enjoyed today’s offering. Thanks to all.

  21. Upon first read-through I wasn’t at all sure that I could do any of today’s puzzle. Got a toe-hold in the SE but was reluctant to complete 20d despite having all the checking letters as didn’t know that keel could actually be a boat. Eventually bunged it in! Thank goodness for the anagrams which helped me no end. Fortunately, I remembered about the ‘axe-man’. Many thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman. Good to hear that your injury is not as serious as it might have been Huntsman but sounds painful, nonetheless. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. Take solace that many golf-courses will be closed due to all the Monsoon conditions!

  22. HATE DOGS hate em even more now especially froggy ones.
    tougher than yesterday only got stuck on 23A.
    I liked 28A they do go to sea. Well Nelson did for a kick off!
    Thanks to setter and to Huntsman and setter (not the dog)
    Regards to all on a manky day in Heald Green,

    1. Comment Etiquette No 5 asks that people don’t use capital letters either in comments or aliases as it is the internet equivalent of shouting

    2. I told Sadie that you hate dogs, she says it’s okay, she’s not likely to meet you at any time and that’s fine with her.

  23. Solved more from checkers than from clues. Finished it, but can’t say there were any smiles along the way. I was fixated on a lumberjack and forgot the other use of axeman, and will be sure to forget again.
    As you all are suffering the heavy rain we have begun our dry season, quickly revealing which sprinkler heads are neglecting their duties.

  24. As with many others I wrestled with the axe but got there in the end having considered various chopping blocks, executioner scaffolds, devilish chancellors – great puzzle thank you compiler and Huntsman

  25. Good afternoon
    I’m in the same camp as many of you when it comes to 18a. This was the last to fall, and I had to cheat by entering alternate letters into a solver app – then it clicked!
    I marked a “!” next to 12a and 13a; they’re my joint COTDs.
    Many thanks to our compiler and to Huntsman

  26. I found this puzzle quite difficult in parts it had a Friday feel about it🤔 ****/*** Favourites 21a & 7d Thanks to the Huntsman and to the compiler 😃 I don’t think it was Campbell

  27. Very cross with myself for
    Taking too long to remember what
    The axe meant in 18a, my last in.
    Otherwise, a solid 2.5* some
    Veritable head scratchers.
    Loved especially 10a.
    Many thanks to the setter
    And to Huntsman

  28. Well, I finished with huge help from word search. I just couldn’t get on wavelength here. I think we’ve had the axeman before, I didn’t know it before and I doubt I’ll know it next time. Fortunately, we had something similar at 1a so that got me started. I must admit I have no idea why I made this such hard work. I liked the dogs at 23a and Kodak at 26a.
    Thank you setter and Huntsman for the enlightenment. I’m late today, must get my workout first, then I’ll come back and read the comments.

  29. Completed with some difficulty in places, I also forgot about the axeman alternative definition but got the answer. There was lots to like and I enjoyed the anagrams and 23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman for the hints, I am glad to hear that your shoulder is improving.

  30. Thanks for the comments earlier on subs. Daisygirl made me think how much the paper edition costs these days – years ago I used to buy it every day for 50p or so….. but your deal has saved you £500 a year!
    Enjoyed today’s offering, took a little longer than usual but managed it without resorting to the hints and just a tad of electronic gimmickry.

  31. 18a making spectrum mean reach is a bit much. I know the scientific term (meaning frequency analysis) has been borrowed as a “popularised technicality” such as autistic spectrum but taking it on from there to reach is going too far.

  32. I made harder work of this than I should have, not for the first time I might add. Mostly fairly straightforward with a few head scratchers. Obviously cotd was 18a. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  33. Sorry, loved the guzzle but no time to comment.
    Thank you setter and huntsman.
    I love Bonamassa so can’t resist. Sorry.

    1. That’s a tremendous album & DVD. The whole band absolutely at the top of their game. Particularly love his cover of Cadillac Assembly Line even it is a bit odd hearing a wealthy white fella singing about picking that nasty cotton. Check out the new album if you’ve not heard it – a great Bobby Bland cover kicks it off & a super Gary Moore style new style song finishes it off.

      1. Yeah you can sense their joy as they play off each other and meld together. The respect they have for each other’s musicianship is almost palpable. A terrific set.
        Thanks for telling me about the new album. I’ll look it up. 👍

  34. I managed the bottom half earlier today but the top half was a different kettle of poisson
    Not sure I like the holidaymaker’s necessity as only needed if you fly, such a long time since I did that but maybe I’m just jealous, Thanks to Huntsman and Setter, and thanks for the Axe music too

  35. 18a was my last one too and I only entered it because it was the only word I could think of. Thanks for explaining the reasoning.

  36. I was slow getting into this puzzle. I enjoyed it very much once the pennies started to drop.
    The clues I liked most were 21a and 26a (great pic, Huntsman).
    Alas! I too suffered brain fog re 18a, but arrived at the correct answer without fully understanding why. I can never remember than an ‘axe’ is a guitar… Many thanks for the explanation. It’s amazing how many intriguing pieces of info one finds on this blog!
    Much appreciation to Anthony Plumb. And the same to Huntsman for the excellent review and lovely illustrations.

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

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