DT 30453 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30453

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,453
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning. A fairly gentle offering from our sweetheart setter this morning. What did you think?
A former US President comes in for a bit of stick at 20a and for once, it’s not Trump!

An early start for me today, as I am off to see my dear mother in Suffolk and, by sheer coincidence, it is also “trade day” at the annual Beccles Beer Festival run by my brother. As I write a themed cryptic crossword for the event programme every year, I am invited to attend the opening day which is reserved for the brewers. If you are in the area and enjoy proper, local beer, I would recommend that you drop into the Beccles Public Hall sometime over the weekend.

In my blog below, the definition element of each clue has been underlined and anagrams are CAPITALISED. The answers are concealed under the “Click Here” buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.


1a This compiler’s rank keeping style excessive (10)
IMMODERATE: two letters representing “this compiler’s” (as in this compiler is) + synonym for rank after (keeping) synonym for style.

6a Dairy product from European cow, say (4)
EDAM: abbreviation for European + the mother of cattle.

9a Luxury car plant (5)
LOTUS: double definition.

10a A nice, pure spread supplying gourmet (9)
EPICUREAN: anagram (spread) of ANICEPURE. The definition looks like a noun, but it is in fact an adjective.

12a Pastries following joint for flower children (7)
HIPPIES: a joint in one’s body + a synonym for pastries.

13a Extra seconds showing manners (5)
MORES: a word meaning extra + abbreviation for seconds.

15a Queen energy new in record soon (7)
ERELONG: regnal abbreviation of our dear late Queen + abbreviation for energy + abbreviation for new inside a synonym for record.

16a Comparatively spicy foreign port (7)
TANGIER: double definition.

18a German city Cologne cleared for perfume (7)
ESSENCE: crosswordland’s favourite German city + the first and last letters (cleared) of Cologne.

20a Fluff admitted by criminal American president (7)
CLINTON: a synonym for fluff inside (admitted by) synonym for criminal.

21a Tedium encapsulated by outspoken nuisance (5)
ENNUI: the answer is a hidden word (encapsulated by) concealed in the last two words of the clue.

23a Organiser oddly paler welcoming Queen (7)
PLANNER: every other letter (oddly) of PaLeR outside (welcoming) the name of a former Queen.

25a Condescending, possessing small cunning (9)
DESIGNING: a word meaning condescending outside (possessing) abbreviation for small.

26a Good in nude displaying craft (5)
BARGE: put the abbreviation for good inside a word meaning nude.

27a Can, perhaps, with old sauce (4)
MAYO: synonym for can + abbreviation for old.

28a Sort copper out? One possibly does (10)
PROSPECTOR: anagram (out) of SORTCOPPER.


1d Occasionally indulged unemployed (4)
IDLE: an alternate letter clue. Take the odd letters (occasionally) of the middle word and there’s your answer.

2d Unrivalled learner in dull board game (9)
MATCHLESS: take words meaning dull and board game, join them together and pop in the usual abbreviation for learner.

3d Sad deranged idiot, snapping (13)
DISAPPOINTING: anagram (deranged) of IDIOTSNAPPING. Hands up everyone who tried to make an anagram out of “deranged idiot”!

4d Swimming round catching fish (7)
REELING: a word meaning round outside (catching) a three-lettered wriggling fish. The definition relates to dizziness, I think.

5d Outfit conquers sweetheart in double time (7)
TWINSET: a word meaning conquers + the heart of swEet inside the abbreviation for time twice.

7d Dark end of dead end (5)
DREAR: take the last letter of dead and add a synonym for end.

8d Stock’s quality about right for soup (10)
MINESTRONE: a synonym for stocks (think “rich source”) + a word meaning quality outside (about) the abbreviation for right.

11d Man on tube line turning indecent (13)

14d Strangely rum end with free vote (10)
REFERENDUM: another anagram (strangely) – this time of RUM END and FREE.

17d Painter pretending to cover render (9)
INTERPRET: “to cover” here invites to look for a hidden word. It is there in plain sight, concealed in the first two words of the clue. The definition is a verb masquerading as a noun.

19d More futile English politician leading bank (7)
EMPTIER: abbreviations for English and politician ahead of (leading) a word meaning bank or slope.

20d Drop in church saint conversions (7)
CHANGES: a synonym for drop (think curtains?) inside (in) abbreviation for church + the shorter abbreviation for saint.

22d Denial admitting good person is obscene (5)
NASTY: a three-letter word meaning denial (it’s in Chambers, I checked!) outside (admitting) the longer abbreviation for saint.

24d Feel extreme anxiety rising, initially (4)
FEAR: “initially” is asking us to take the first letters of the first four words of the clue to reveal the definition.


91 comments on “DT 30453
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  1. This was terrific and I can’t remember when I last finished a Ray T unaided. There was plenty to like with a good mix of clues from the straightforward to the esoteric. Quite a lot of head scratching was needed but the journey was worth it. I was held up by 20a for a while because I had forgotten that particular term for fluff. Still, I have ticks all over the paper including 18a and 20d both of which are contenders for the top spot. In the end I opted for 20d.

    Many thanks, Ray T for a great and enjoyable guzzle. Thank you, Shabbo for the hints, which I will now read. I wish I were in Beccles! 🍺

    Did anyone else put “dear” as the second word of the Quickie pun?

    Yet more rain in The Marches!

    1. The present Mrs Shabbo is charged with solving the Quickie Pun on Thursdays and she also went for “dear” as the second word.

          1. My guess is that you are in the probationary period not the other way round or is it around?

            Hmm, I’m never sure with that one.

            Good call, though, Shabs.

      1. That reminds me of my old mate Paul Mitchell, a Yorkshire man with a very dry sense of humour, whom I haven’t seen for yonks. After he got engaged, he used to wind his sweetheart up in the pub by saying things like: “I’m delighted to announce that Stella has agreed to be my first wife.”

  2. Excellent! Another minor masterpiece from the man who never wastes a word.
    I liked several but I’ll restrict myself to mentioning 27&28a plus 2,4,5&17d with top going to 20a.
    Good stuff
    Thanks Ray T and Shabbo
    Ps…cracking Silvanus Toughie…have a go!

  3. 2*/5*. RayT at his very best! A great antidote to the miserable weather especially when appearing on the same day as a Silvanus Toughie. Crossword heaven!

    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo.

  4. Great straightforward solve. Slight hiccup with 9a as Lexus is hardly luxury and having owned a 7 wouldn’t consider that brand a luxury.
    Yes I too went for Dear!!
    More rain in the Cotswolds

  5. The usual top notch entertainment from one of this blog’s favourite setters. As ever, trying to select one clue as a favourite is nigh on impossible, so the trusty pin comes into play, the winner being 20a.

    My thanks to Mr T and Shabbo.

  6. Ray T never fails to….ahem.

    The guy’s a machine, churning out top quality puzzles, week in, week out.

    This was one of his more gentle offerings that was a nice steady solve.

    My podium is 28a, 11d with the winner being 3d for obvious reasons.

    Many thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.


  7. We’re doing really well this week with another top notch puzzle to keep us occupied while the weather is miserable, As is often the case with Ray T there were a few synonyms that didn’t spring immediately to mind – eg 8d, 20d, – but they just kept me on my toes. I’m used to spelling the beginning of 2d with double T, but, of course, it’s in the BRB and I see can even be spelt with double TE. I learn something every day. Today’s favourite was 5d – clever clue and memories of yesteryear. Podium places for 20a and 23a. Thanks to Ray T for the absolute pleasure and Shabbo for confirming my parsing of 8d.

  8. Unlike others, this did not strike me as a vintage Ray T guzzle. It was quite good but lacked real sparkle. However Ray T always produces some noteworthy clues. For me, the best of today’s bunch wwere the 11d anagram, the 25a lego clue, the 21a lurker and 28a, a sort of all-in-one and my COTD. Thanks to Shabbo for the hints and to Mr T.

  9. Another fine offering from the consistently excellent Ray T. About average difficulty for him/back-pagers generally with elegantly compendious clues providing a very pleasing solve. I have ticked several and will mention 3d and 11d. 3*/4.5*.

  10. Jane will be pleased today with her fav compilers on duty. This one didn’t disappoint & despite being all over pretty quickly a pleasure from first to last. No particular favourite but like our reviewer the 20a surface raised a smile & as ever concisely clued throughout.
    Thanks to Ray T & to Shabbo – enjoy your jaunt to Suffolk
    Ps – a very enjoyable Toughie from Mr Smooth

  11. I seem to have found this Ray T a little more challenging than those who have already commented including our blogger. A good cranial workout and perhaps not as enjoyable as usual – 3.5*/2.5*

    However, still a good sample of potential favourites – 16a, 18a, 23a, 2d, and 4d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  12. An enjoyable solve but I needed the hinter’s explanations for 23a and 20d.

    Favourites 20a and 28a. Was going for the wrong car at 9a too until the middle checker ruled it out.

    Bonny sunny day in NE Scotland and I am thankful I no longer need to get up five minutes earlier to scrape the ice off the windscreen on mornings like this.

    Thanks to setter and Shabbo.

  13. Less tricky than Mr T can be but as enjoyable as ever – thanks to him and Shabbo.
    Add me to those who got the Quickie pun wrong – I don’t enjoy non-cryptic crosswords and only solve the Quickie down far enough to get the pun.
    The clues getting the laurels from me today were 20a and 2d.

  14. Dream team day again – yippee!
    I thought our back-page setter employed a fair bit of use of the soft pedal this morning but he still managed to get one over on me with the Quickie pun – the present Mrs Shabbo was certainly not alone!
    Plenty of smiles and my rosettes went to 20&25a plus 2&5d.

    Devotions yet again to Mr T and many thanks to Shabbo for the review – hope you find mum well and don’t disgrace yourself at the beer festival!

  15. Well, as this is a RayT Thursday puzzle, I was not quite sure what to expect as sometimes I do okay and other times I struggle. Thankfully today this was a ‘right-on’ wavelength solve with only a couple of tricky words. They however came to light easily with the cross check letters. The puzzle solve went in from bottom to top with NE last to finish.

    1.5*/4* for me

    Favourites included 1a, 9a, 12a, 18a, 20a, 27a & 19d — with winner 12a
    Got a chuckle with 9a, 12a, 18a & 27a

    Thanks to RayT and Shabbo for hints/blog

  16. Plain-sailing today particularly in the North. Needed to be reassured on 13a. 27a perhaps not quite a can synonym or so my parents repeatedly told me – “you can but it’s a question of whether you may (are allowed to)! 5d reminds me of an M & S assistant I approached who had never heard the term. Bunged in 8d before equating quality. Altogether a pain-free exercise. Thank you Ray T and Shabbo.

    1. Oh my word – that is just what my mother always said ‘you can but the question is may you’. We’re all those mothers out of the same pod? Although of course, I repeated it to MY children.

    2. Maybe not 50 years ago, but these days can/may are often interchangeable. From Chambers Online Dictionary (21st c), for anyone that’s interested:

      Search results for ‘can’:

      can1 verb (past tense could) 1 to be able to • Can you lift that? 2 to know how to • He can play the guitar. 3 to feel able to; to feel it right to • How can you believe that? 4 used to express surprise • Can it really be that late? 5 used to express a possibility • The weather can change so quickly in the mountains. 6 to have permission to • Can I take an apple? 7 used when asking for help, etc • Can you give me the time? See also cannot, can’t, could, couldn’t.
      ETYMOLOGY: Anglo-Saxon cunnan to know.

      can, may
      Essentially, can denotes capability or capacity, and may denotes permission or opportunity. Because these two sets of meaning constantly overlap, the two words have become highly interchangeable, with can more versatile than may • Hospital trusts attract more staff and can determine their own pay rates • You can do it when you come home from work. In both these examples, may is also possible.

      Both can and may are used to denote what is probable or habitual • A quiet river on a summer’s day may be a raging torrent in February • Things can go dreadfully wrong at this stage. When capability or capacity is predominant, can is used • I can’t cope with life at the moment • Can you see the point I am trying to make?

      1. He probably can play the guitar, but he may not play it, for instance,
        in the middle of the King’s Speech.
        Oh OK, yes, I suppose he could if it was in the programme
        but I still think mother was right!!!

        1. In the late 50s/early 60s I was taught the same as you and M, but language evolves stealthily – look what happened to gay and chronic! Nowadays, may and can are often legitimately interchangeable; as in: May/can we go down that path, or is it private?

    3. During my forty years of teaching I have to confess that when asked “Can I go to the toilet” by a student I replied, perhaps too often, “Well, if you can’t you have a real medical problem”. Being a scientist the question “ Can I go to the toilet quickly?” provoked the response “Do you need a measuring cylinder and stopwatch?”
      Don’t you just love teacher “humour”? 😩

  17. Another good puzzle today and after last night’s debacle I needed cheering up. Many to choose as favourites but top place goes to 18a. Sun shining brightly in Cheshire but sadly it looks like rain now. Thankyou setter and hinter. Enjoy the beer later!

  18. Spiffing guzzle again, although I did wonder about 23a. I put the right answer but did not spot the significance of oddly and was trying to anagramise (?!) paler and ER. Thank you for explaining that, Shabbo. Lots to like, the anagram at 11a, 17a but I think the best was 12a because I was thinking of bridal attendants, it made me laugh when the penny dropped. And yes, I am in the reindeer camp! Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Hinter.

  19. One of his very best, I thought – ticks all over the shop. 28a was especially pleasing and, naturally, 3d. Many thanks to RayT, and Shabbo, of course.

  20. Another great guzzle today but could not parse several of them so shall now read the hints. Thanks to the setter and Shabbo. Shabbo, you are in for a treat, had a wonderful lunch today at Wells Crab House, fabulous food, lovely surroundings and above all delightful waitresses. Will attach a photo of my superb Jambalaya. D started with chicken wings with a blue cheese dressing – the dressing was to die for and they kindly gave me the recipe. Someone on this blog, last year I think, commented about lack of parking in N Norfolk and I suggested the Coast Hopper bus which is great for getting about, although parking shouldn’t be a problem this time of year. Will look forward to your comments on it

      1. Looks and sounds delicious, Manders, so pleased to hear that you enjoyed not only the food but also the surroundings and service.
        Hope you had the foresight to book again for next year!

    1. We use the Coasthopper a lot. It’s an excellent service. We generally take the bus into the wind and walk back with the wind on our backs.
      We have been to the Wells Crab House many times and love it.

  21. 2/4. Usual quality Thursday puzzle. A few favourites – 15a which you only seem to find in Tolkien’s books, 5d for its elegant structure, and 17d for its lurking quality. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  22. Hmmmm …. Sadly didn’t enjoy this today … I found the parsing strange on several clues … liked 4d and 5d though thank you for the clues!!
    Cold damp day in the land of the castles so I’ll be settling in to tackle the middle pages next!

  23. I am going to put my head above the ramparts and admit that, as usual with a Ray T, I did not find it at all gentle. The man and I are clearly very differently wired. Although I did solve more unaided than usual, I had never heard of 13a meaning manners, 15a was unexpected for soon, 20a was not criminal, he was acquitted on both counts, 17d was new to me as a synonym of render, and 19d I would never use to mean more futile. I do agree with several that can and may are quite different, per other mother’s admonitions. Like I said, I’m on a different wavelength. Nevertheless I did better than usual so thanks Ray T, and to Shabbo.

    1. 20a: fluff =lint, con = criminal, and he was an American President. A damned fine one too, managed to get America’s finances on an even keel.

  24. Nice and easy does it.
    Special honours to 6, 25, and
    28a and 6d in an excellent and,
    I thought, light Thursday challenge.
    So, 2*/5*
    Many thanks RayT and Shabbo.

  25. I cannot spell that soup so when iPad informed me there were incorrect answers simply could not find what was wrong … of course it was the use of an “i” instead of an “e” .. grrr … but a great puzzle as always from RayT and thank you Shabbo for supplying the correct spelling

    1. Shrimp, you’re not alone in misspelling that Italian soup. Why can’t I ever remember that the first four letters are neither a car nor a skirt. Ah, memories of my youth in the sixties.

  26. What’s not to love about RayT’s puzzles? They never fail to please.
    This puzzle was most enjoyable — **** for entertainment. My problem is I have so many ticks on my page I cannot list them all. My top selection includes 9a, 12a, 27a, 20a and 20d and 5d. I liked the anagrams, especially 28a.
    Many thanks to RayT for a lovely crossword.
    Much appreciation to Shabbo for the review. Love the pic for 12a! It really made me laugh.

  27. I actually quite enjoyed this except for 20d which is a mystery – what Saint, what curtains?
    Beyond me. My answer is correct but seems to bear little relation to the clue.
    Apart from that quite straightforward for a Ray T.
    Thx to all

    1. Brian, you need to start with a synonym of drop or lower as a verb (think “xxxx one’s head in shame”) which you place inside the abbreviation for England’s state church and then append the single-letter abbreviation for saint.

  28. What a nice breakfast challenge!
    Got lots of likes. Loved 4d, but got confused by there being two potential fish in it!
    After doing 3 and 14d wrote in the answer before looking at the clue!
    Other notables include 20a and17a which took a loong time to unlurk.
    Fave though is 16a, just because.
    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo, particularly for pointing out that saints can have a single ‘s’, which caused a headache in parsing 20d.

    1. Good evening, Mr T. No matter which order you appear in, you and your dream team partner make for a brilliant day in crosswordland.

  29. What a treat, I managed both in (redacted – see Comment Etiquette no 6)! That doesn’t happen often ….. though I also went for dear at 4across in the Quickie until realising I needed to think again.

  30. Wasn’t able to comment properly before as I had to go out. I was so pleased to be able to complete a RayT with only ehelp for one, and a quick spelling check for 8d. Welcome back 16a, must be at least two months since you last appeared. Wot, no comments about 21a? I’m not sure I approve of the abbreviated 27a, but I suppose it’s now accepted. I did enjoy this, I liked 20a, but tops is 2d.
    Thanks RayT, wearing your most breviloquent hat, and Shabbo for some explanations.

  31. Finally completed, a bit of a struggle to parse some and ai did not know the synonym in 13a. 20a my favourite.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo for the hints which I will read to understand my answers!

  32. Good evening
    I’ve found all this week that it’s been a slow start, and then as the brain begins to warm up, the solutions start to drop in a little more quickly.
    Nice to see Fluff mentioned in 20a – not arf! And it’s about time we had a Clerihew:
    Alan Freeman (Fluff)
    Was never lucky enough
    To catch the Queen in the right mood
    To award him a well-deserved knighthood

    My thanks to Ray T and to Shabbo

  33. Straight forward and most pleasurable with no aid needed. This helps me come to terms with failing The Use of English Exam at 17.
    Pleased with 9a. and 16 a. Thanks to Ray T for sending me off to Knitter Natter in such a good mood . Thanks to Shabbo for the fun pics. and dissecting skills and thanks to all the contributors who make this site a real community.

  34. Top notch puzzle. Adore a RayT, the artisan craft-crossword du choix 💖 Especially liked 18a, 3d (sorry Tom, briefly thought of you 😬 but only because of the answer!) and 23a for the cunning trademark diversion.

    1. 3d was most certainly not 3d.

      A great clue.

      Bring on tomorrow!

      I’m ready for it.

      Come here, you b#* ?$d!!


  35. At last I have time to add my thoughts. I have had to rush hither and thither getting bits and pieces together to add more character to my new home.
    Then I spent some hours carefully folding the packing paper from my removal boxes, after recycling guidance/instructions from two daughters. They removed many sheets, which they will use for Christmas wrapping paper (they disapprove of eco-unfriendly presents) Their paper will be ironed! Mine will go in the newspaper recycling, even though I think that the Disunited Kingdom’s efforts make no difference to the world’s disgraceful carbon output and strangulation of nature.
    Oh yes, the crossword. This brought the usual Thursday pleasure. I can’t usually identify the setter unless there is a sweetheart – thank you Ray T and Shabbo.

  36. In the minority today. Finished unaided but lacking humour and a bit of a drudge. Sometimes feel easy to run with the crowd in a king’s new clothes scenario with this setter.

  37. In the company of pedants, ‘can I please have a drink’ results in no drink being provided every time. Whereas…

    But a good RayT submission otherwise thoroughly enjoyed!

  38. An enjoyable challenge that 15a took the shine off somewhat.

    An obscure and archaic word I will never hear again that is in common use in crosswordland apparently.

    Thanks to all.

  39. Oh dear! I’m having a ‘I’m afraid I made harder work of this than I should have’ week. After failing to complete the toughie, it will have to wait until tomorrow now, then the brain mangling quiz, a day late, then dinner I drifted off into the land of nod halfway through. Got there in the end though. Favourite was 2d. Thanks to Rayt and Shabbo.

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