DT 30455 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30455 (full review)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30455

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 11th Nov 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Kolkata. A nice and straightforward Saturday puzzle from NY Doorknob that I enjoyed solving and now I present to you a review of the same for your kind perusal and valuable comment.

I learnt from the net that Ukraine, the answer to the clue of 9a, was always referred to as ‘the Ukraine’ in the English-speaking world. The word comes from the old Slavic ukraina and Polish ukrajina and both means ‘borderland’. The English-speaking people thought it appropriate to use the definite article before the common noun that meant ‘borderland’ that was natural in the English language, as they use for ‘Nederlanden’ which means ‘low lands’, by calling the country ‘the Netherlands’. In the twentieth century, Ukraine got independence twice, although the first one happened after the First World War was over but for a brief period only. Several entities had aspired to be independent states but not all groups desired a separate unified Ukrainian state. Ultimately, the independence was short-lived, as most Ukrainian lands were incorporated into the Soviet Union and the remainder, in western Ukraine, was divided among Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia. Ukraine officially became independent the second time on 24 August 1991, by declaring itself so when the communist Supreme Soviet Parliament of Ukraine proclaimed that Ukraine would no longer follow the laws of USSR but only the laws of the Ukrainian SSR, de facto declaring its independence from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union formally ceased to exist on 26 December 1991 and Ukraine’s independence was recognised by the international community. Since then, the usage of ‘the Ukraine’ by the English-speaking world has become politicised and style guides advise against its use. William B. Taylor, US ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009, said that using ‘the Ukraine’ implies disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty, though the official Ukrainian position, as per Oksana Kyzyma of the Embassy of Ukraine in London in 2012, was that ‘the Ukraine’ is both grammatically and politically correct.

From the BRB, I learnt that panama hats, as referred to in its singular form by the word ‘Panama’ as part of the wordplay to the clue of 17d, are not made in Panama but in Ecuador.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    They’re drained — a sign of a good night? (7)
EMPTIES: A cryptic definition of empty bottles of alcohol, implying that the partygoers had drunk a lot and had a good or pleasurable night

5a    Gruesome barber occasionally going into club (7)
MACABRE: The occasional or alternate letters (occasionally) of bArBeR placed inside (going into) MACE (club) as a metal, or metal-headed war-club, often spiked leads to the definition of an adjective meaning gruesome or ghastly

9a    Our wet weather beginning to ease in country (7)
UKRAINE: UK RAIN (our wet weather) as referring to the rainy season in the United Kingdom when the weather is wet followed by the starting or initial letter (beginning) to E[ASE] takes to the definition of the second-largest country in Europe

10a    Old boy in tight trio constant like automaton (7)
ROBOTIC: OB (old boy) as the abbreviation for old boy placed inside (in) an anagram (tight) of TRIO followed by C (constant) as the abbreviation for constant used in mathematics produces the definition of an adjective meaning relating to or of the nature of robots that are machines resembling human beings and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically

11a    We had this wild Freudian impulse! (5,4)
DEATH WISH: An anagram (wild) of WE HAD THIS leads to the definition of an unconscious urge or impulse to die, an example of which is Thanatos or the death instinct theory of Sigmund Freud, the Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis

12a    Luxurious car moves along smoothly (5)
ROLLS: Double definition; the second being a verb in the third person singular form meaning moves smoothly on wheels or as if on wheels that leads to the first referring to a short name for a luxurious car that is known as ROLLS-Royce

13a    Fabulous Liverpool player in 0-0 (5)
RINGO: A cryptic reference to RINGO Starr, one of the ‘fabulous foursome’ of Beatles, the English rock band that was formed in Liverpool in 1960, as mentioned by the band’s press officer, Tony Barrow in the sleeve notes for their second album, which the media widely adopted as ‘the Fab Four’ that became a household name is deduced from RING (O) as a circle of any material or any group of things or people in a circular shape or arrangement followed by O from the clue, where each O is used to mean a zero (0) as in phone number having one or more zeroes or in a year like 2023

15a    Just one left with Cinderella running in National (9)
ICELANDER: L being the abbreviation for left, having only one L of LL (just one left) as a corollary to also mean ‘not having another L’, with regard to (with) CINDEREL[L]A subject to an anagram (running) that leads to the definition of a native or inhabitant of Iceland or a person of Icelandic descent

17a    Explosive material about creativity is sincere (9)
HEARTFELT: A combo of HE (explosive) as the abbreviation for High Explosive and FELT (material) as a soft fabric or material formed without weaving, filaments pressed together using the natural tendency of the fibres of wool and certain kinds of hair to interlace and cling together placed around (about) ART (creativity) as creative activity resulting in the production of paintings, drawings or sculpture takes to the definition of an adjective meaning sincere or deeply and strongly felt

19a    Senior worker joining’s first to leave! (5)
ELDER: The initial or beginning letter W (first) of [W]ELDER (worker joining’s) as a person whose work is to join pieces of metal by welding them together to come out (leave) guides to the definition of an adjective meaning of a greater age, especially of one or more out of a group of associated people

22a    Reportedly given lessons making cake (5)
TORTE: TAUGHT (given lessons) as imparted knowledge or given lessons to students in a school, college, university etc serving as a homophone heard by the audience (reportedly) provides the definition of a rich, sweet cake, Austrian in origin, often garnished or filled with fruit, nuts, cream, chocolate etc

23a    1970s rock genre with keyboard in county once (9)
GLAMORGAN: A charade of GLAM (1970s rock genre) as a style of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s and ORGAN (keyboard) as a large complex musical keyboard instrument in which sound is produced by means of a number of pipes arranged in sets or stops, supplied with air from a bellows yields the definition of one of the thirteen historic counties of Wales and a former administrative county of Wales

25a    Nursed by a Tibetan priest, sailor in state (7)
ALABAMA: AB (sailor) as the abbreviation for able-bodied referring to a seaman entertained or taken in (nursed) by a combo of A from the clue followed by LAMA (Tibetan priest) as a Buddhist priest in Tibet takes to the definition of a state in the Southeastern region of the United States

26a    Farewell in church always one associated with love (7)
CHEERIO: A charade of CH (church) as the abbreviation for Church, E’ER (always) as a contraction for the adverb ‘ever’ meaning always, I (one) as the Roman numeral for one and (associated with) O (love) as the score for zero in a game of tennis leads to the definition of an exclamation used for a bright informal goodbye or as an expression of good wishes on parting

27a    Temptress greeted making comeback around Lima (7)
DELILAH: HAILED (greeted) as a verb in the past tense meaning called out to someone to attract attention returning from the right (making comeback) as a reversal in the across clue placed about (around) L (Lima) as the letter represented by Lima in the NATO phonetic alphabet takes to the definition of a temptress or a voluptuous and treacherous woman

28a     Empty table seen after noon in fast food place (7)
DINETTE: The outermost letters (empty) as after being emptied out of T[ABL]E noticed (seen) after N (noon) as the abbreviation for noon placed inside (in) DIET (fast) as to restrict oneself to small amounts or special kinds of food in order to lose weight leads to the definition of an alcove or other part of a room or kitchen set apart for meals


1d    Land English dog in trouble? On the contrary! (7)
ECUADOR: The definition of a country in northwestern South America is arrived at from E (English) as the abbreviation for English followed by ADO (trouble) as trouble, difficulty or problem in CUR (dog) as an aggressive or unkempt dog, especially a mongrel; ‘trouble in dog’ being the opposite (on the contrary) of ‘dog in trouble’ as in the clue

2d    Apply fixed rate, entering PIN (7)
PERTAIN: The definition of a verb meaning to be appropriate, related or applicable to is reached from an anagram (fixed) of RATE getting inside (entering) PIN from the clue

3d    Writer Murdoch hailing originally from Dublin? (5)
IRISH: IRIS (writer Murdoch) as the first name of Irish and British novelist and philosopher followed by the original or first letter (originally) of H[AILING] guides to the definition of the natives or people from Ireland, the capital and largest city of which is Dublin

4d    Tireless working to retain current doctor? (9)
STERILISE: An anagram (working) of TIRELESS to hold or keep inside (retain) I (current) as the symbol for electric current in physics takes to the definition of a verb meaning to deprive a person or animal of the ability to produce offspring, typically by removing or blocking the sex organs

5d    Month in advance (5)
MARCH: Double definition; the second being a verb meaning to advance steadily or irresistibly that leads to the first a noun denoting the third month of the year

6d    Wacky baccy free in online coffee shop (9)
CYBERCAFÉ: An anagram (wacky) of BACCY FREE leads to the definition of a noun referring to a café or coffee shop where the public can obtain access to computer networks, especially the Internet, for a charge

7d    Fought, shed blood, receiving little attention (7)
BATTLED: The definition of a verb in the past tense meaning fought or struggled tenaciously to achieve or resist something is obtained from BLED (shed blood) as another verb in the past tense indicating lost blood from the body as a result of injury welcoming or taking in (receiving) ATT (little attention) as an abbreviation for attention

8d    Former Conservative employer’s apologist? (7)
EXCUSER: EX (former) as a prefix indicating of a person no longer what they were but still living, C (Conservative) as the abbreviation for Conservative and USER (employer) as a person who utilises or makes use of something in a charade altogether takes to the definition of a verb in the third person singular form meaning a person who seeks to explain or justify actions of a person or persons or their actions

14d    Informed about article with book complete (2,3,4)
ON THE BALL: The definition of a colloquial phrase meaning properly in touch with the situation is arrived at from a charade of ON (about) as a preposition denoting regarding or concerning, THE (article) as the definite article in the English language and (with) B (book) as an abbreviation for book and ALL (complete) as comprising every individual one or the whole extent

16d    Transported via Gate Four? (9)
ENTRANCED: The definition of a verb in the past tense meaning transported, enraptured or enthralled is inferred from ENTRANCE D (Gate Four) as the fourth gate, where ‘entrance’ refers to gate or the place of entering and ‘D’ to ‘four’ as the letter placed fourth in the sequential order of the English alphabet

17d    Worker catching a disease — is this going round Panama? (7)
HATBAND: HAND (worker) as a labourer or manual worker taking in (catching) a combo of A from the clue and TB (disease) as the abbreviation for tuberculosis that is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria that generally affects the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body takes to the definition of a band or ribbon going round the crown of a hat, an example of which is the panama hat that is a lightweight hand-plaited men’s hat made of plaited strips of a particular tropical palm tree

18d    Road train covering miles for speedy delivery (7)
AIRMAIL: AI (road) as the longest numbered road, also known as the Great North Road, in the United Kingdom connecting London, the capital of England, with Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, where A1 is replaced with AI; I (one) being the Roman numeral for one followed by RAIL (train) as referring to the railway as a means of travel or transport or as referring to the rail transport, also known as train transport taking in (covering) M (miles) as the abbreviation for mile or miles, arriving at the definition of a system of transporting mail by aircraft, typically overseas

20d    Follow left-winger in gentle run (7)
DOGTROT: A charade of DOG (follow) as to follow (someone) closely and persistently and TROT (left winger) as a Trotskyist or supporter of extreme left-wings views leads to the definition of a gentle easy trot or run suggesting that of a dog

21d    Author Arthur published a little (7)
RANSOME: The definition of the surname of the English author and journalist who is best known for writing and illustrating the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series of children’s books is arrived at from a charade of RAN (published) as a verb in the past tense meaning published in a newspaper or magazine and SOME (a little) as by a small amount or degree

23d    Visual representation in viewing Raphael (5)
GRAPH: Part of or hidden inside (in) [VIEWIN]G RAPH[AEL] guides to the definition of a visual representation of the relations between certain quantities plotted with reference to a set of axes

24d    Drink and drug in round tin (5)
OCEAN: The definition of an informal term for the drink as referring to the sea or another large area of water is arrived at from E (drug) as the abbreviation for Ecstasy that is a drug taken for stimulant and hallucinogenic properties placed inside (in) a combo of O (round) as anything round or nearly so and CAN (tin) as a tin or a container of tin-plate in which meat, fruit etc are sealed up to preserve them

Some of the clues that I liked in this puzzle were 1a, 9a, 13a, 17a, 28a, 16d and 17d; 13a being the best of the lot. My prayers to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of BD and my thanks to NY Doorknob for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

7 comments on “DT 30455 (full review)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Interesting about Ukraine. Those people never seem to get a break, they’ll probably lose their independence again.
    Thanks for the interesting review.

  2. A shame the full reviews don’t attract all that many comments, especially when said review is as good as this one. Mind you I’m probably just as guilty as the next person!

    Agree with (all of) Rahmat’s last para. Great stuff. Thanks NYDK.

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