DT 30467 (full review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30467 (full review)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30467

A full review by Rahmat Ali

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This puzzle was published on 25th Nov 2023

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ****

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

I was aware of ‘hippodrome’, the answer to the clue of 13d, but now I became interested in knowing how the people of the pristine era built it and so I had to search the net. I learnt that the typical hippodrome was dug into a hillside and the excavated material used to build an embankment for supporting seats on the opposite side. It was not a circular structure, but an oblong one, with half of it semicircular and half of it square. It, therefore resembled a U-turn with a close top. Along the length of the arena and along the curve, seats ran in tiers, while the straight end had dignitaries occupying seats above the arena’s office. A low wall called a spina ran most of the length of the stadium and divided the course. The spina was decorated with monuments and had sculptures that could be tilted or removed to keep spectators informed of the laps completed by the racers. The fact that as many as ten chariots race at one time, the breadth of the course was sometimes as much as 400 feet, while the length varied between 600 and 700 feet. While the Greek structure was called hippodrome, having its etymological root from the Greek hippos and dromos meaning ‘a horse’ and ‘a course’ respectively, its Roman counterpart was known as circus maximus derived from Latin meaning ‘the biggest circus’. The largest hippodrome of the ancient world was in Constantinople, the present-day Istanbul. It was begun under Roman emperor Septimius Severus in AD 203 and completed by Constantine in AD 330. However, in place of the more usual embankment, the seating arrangement was supported on tiers of great vaults. Since the stadium could accommodate more than 60,000 spectators, not only sports events, but also imperial ceremonies, military triumphs, political demonstrations and even public executions used to be held inside it. The Ottoman Turks used the hippodrome as a source of building stone after capturing Constantinople in 1453.

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1a    Sweet acting family not without love (7)
FONDANT: The definition of a noun describing a soft sweet made with flavoured sugar and water, that melts in the mouth is arrived at from FONDA (acting family) as referring collectively to actors Henry Fonda, one of the greatest screen icons of Hollywood, his daughter Jane Fonda, his son Peter Fonda and his granddaughter Bridget Fonda and N[O]T from the clue that is without O (love) as the score for zero in a game of tennis

5a    Old canine trained — beginning to talk? (7)
ANCIENT: An anagram (trained) of CANINE followed by the initial or starting letter (beginning) to T[ALK] guides to the definition of an adjective meaning very old having lived or existed for a very long time

9a    Fit silver on table at last (5)
AGREE: AG (silver) as the chemical symbol for silver, followed by RE (on) as a commercial jargon used to indicate ‘referring to’, ‘concerning’, ‘on’ or ‘about’ and the final or concluding letter (at last) of [TABL]E takes to the definition of a verb meaning to match, fit or be consistent with

10a    Like Private Eye, demolishing racialist (9)
SATIRICAL: The definition of an adjective meaning containing or using satire that is a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn, an example of which is ‘Private Eye’, a British fortnightly satirical and current affairs news magazine, founded in 1961 is fetched from an anagram (demolishing) of RACIALIST

11a    Year in company great on the whole (2,3,5)
BY AND LARGE: Y (year) as the abbreviation for year placed inside (in) BAND (company) as a company or group of people bound together for any common purpose and followed by LARGE (great) as great in size or amount leads to the definition of a phrase meaning everything considered or on the w ole

12a    Obscure combo that rivalled Oasis? (4)
BLUR: Double definition; the second referring to the name of the rock band that was formed in London in 1988 that had rivalry with Oasis, another rock band that was formed in Manchester in 1991 that leads to the first a verb meaning to make or become unclear or less distinct

14a    Personality from Poplar, in age fantastic, newsreader initially (6,6)
ANGELA RIPPON: The definition of an English television journalist, newsreader, writer and presenter who was also the first female journalist to be given a permanent role presenting the BBC national television news is reached from an anagram (fantastic) of POPLAR, IN AGE followed by the initial or starting letter (initially) of N[EWSREADER]

18a    Fine spinach dish replaced traditional meal (4,3,5)
FISH AND CHIPS: F (fine) as the abbreviation for fine followed by an anagram (replaced) of SPINACH DISH classic guides to the definition of a classic meal of the British Isles, consisting of battered and deep-fried fish, usually cod or haddock, and eaten with potato chips

21a    One cutting into roast creates bother (4)
PAIN: I (one) as the Roman numeral for one delving into or going inside (cutting into) PAN (roast) as a colloquial verb meaning to criticise excessively, even sarcastically yields the definition of a noun meaning great bother or trouble

22a    Papers taken into French region’s capital (10)
PROVIDENCE: ID (papers) as an identity document that is also colloquially referred to as papers put inside (taken into) PROVENCE (French region) as a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France leads to the definition of the capital and most populous city of the US state of Rhode Island

25a    Generous sort welcoming writer in Whetstone? (9)
SHARPENER: SHARER (generous sort) as someone who is very generous or giving a part of his share to others taking inside (welcoming) PEN (writer) as an instrument used for writing takes to the definition of a device or tool for making something sharper, an example of which could be a whetstone that is a stone for sharpening edged instruments like knives or tools that have a blade

26a    Heart, perhaps, that may be stopped in church? (5)
ORGAN: Double nounal definition; the second referring to a church or pipe organ that is a large musical instrument having row of pipes that are generally arranged in ranks of a particular type, each controlled by a stop that takes to the first denoting a part of a body fitted for carrying on a natural or vital operation, an example of which is the heart

27a    Hideous sight I witnessed in the auditorium? (7)
EYESORE: The definition of anything that is offensive to look at is arrived at from homophones (in the auditorium) as heard by the audience of a combo of I (one) as the Roman numeral for one and SWORE (witnessed) as invoked as witness to an oath

28a    Eastern male, messenger casting first stone (7)
EMERALD: The definition of bright green precious stone consisting of a chromium-rich variety of beryl is arrived at from E (Eastern) as the abbreviation for Eastern as EET in Eastern European Time and M (male) as the abbreviation for male followed by [H]ERALD (messenger) as an official crier or messenger or an officer with the status of ambassador acting as official messenger between leaders especially in war sending out (casting) H as its initial or beginning letter (first)


1d    Learner in wonderful times hanging loose? (6)
FLABBY: L (learner) as appearing in an L-plate each displayed at the front and back of a vehicle denoting a learner driver placed inside (in) FAB (wonderful) as excellent, marvellous or wonderful and followed by BY (times) as a term in multiplication used to mean taken by the number of times as that specified by the second number or multiplier leads to the definition of an adjective meaning hanging loosely or limply, as flesh or muscles

2d    Swedish neighbour impossible, keeping rook (6)
NORWAY: NO WAY (impossible) as a phrase used to tell someone that something is impossible holding in (keeping) R (rook) as the abbreviation for rook in chess notation leads to the definition of a Nordic country in Northern Europe that shares a long eastern border with Sweden

3d    Party sheltered in turbulent rain, bane of Scottish city (10)
ABERDONIAN: DO (party) as an informal term for a party or other social event placed inside (sheltered in) an anagram (turbulent) of RAIN, BANE takes to the definition of an adjective denoting of or relating or belonging to Aberdeen, a city in Scotland

4d    Edison contemporary creates lakeside houses (5)
TESLA: Part of or hidden inside (houses) [CREA]TES LA[KESIDE] guides to the definition of Serbian-American inventor and electrical and mechanical engineer whose first name was Nikola, who developed an alternating current motor that revolutionised electrical power distribution by allowing electricity to travel long distances without losing its energy and who was the contemporary of Thomas Edison, the American inventor who championed direct current as the prevailing method for electrical power distribution and also celebrated for his host of inventions

5d    Sign in gold to put on chart (9)
AUTOGRAPH: AU (gold) as the chemical symbol for gold, TO from the clue and GRAPH (put on chart) as to plot or put values at points and connect those with lines on a chart or graph directs to the definition of a verb meaning to write one’s signature in or on, to sign

6d    Fish, grouse or beef (4)
CARP: Double definition; the first being a noun referring to an edible deep-bodied freshwater fish, typically with barbels around the mouth and belonging to the family Cyprinidae, the second a verb meaning to grumble or find fault at or to nag about trivialities or to complain

7d    Look in skip — for thin veal slice? (8)
ESCALOPE: LO (look) as an interjection used to draw attention of people to look at something interesting or amazing placed inside (in) ESCAPE (skip) as to break free from confinement or control takes to the definition of a thin slice of meat without any bone, typically a special cut of veal from the leg that is coated, fried and served in a sauce

8d    Magnanimous English group backing rave (8)
TOLERANT: A combo of E (English) as the abbreviation for English and LOT (group) as a number of people or things that are located, gathered or classed together returning from the other end (backing) as a reversal in the down clue followed by RANT (rave) as to speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way guides to the definition of an adjective meaning showing willingness to allow the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with

13d    In Hull, city racecourse for chariots (10)
HIPPODROME: A charade of HIP (in) as an informal term for an adjective meaning very fashionable, POD (Hull) as to shell or hull, that is to remove the outer covering of peas or beans and ROME (city) as the capital city of Italy guides to the definition of a racecourse for horses and chariots in ancient Greece or Rome

15d    Vessel recently located, complete, united leaderless country (9)
ENDURANCE: The definition of a three-masted barquentine built in Norway in 1912 that got sank on November 1915 and its wreck, in a brilliant state of preservation, was discovered on the seafloor of Weddell Sea on 5 March 2022 by the search team Endurance22 is arrived at from END (complete) as to finish or complete, U (united) as the abbreviation for united and [F]RANCE (country) as a country located primarily in Western Europe that is not having F, its leading letter or leader (leaderless)

16d    Does this suggest I step on virgin snow? (3-5)
OFF-PISTE: A definition of an adjective meaning of or relating to skiing on new snow-surfaces and not on established tracks or runs is cryptically arrived at from a reverse anagram where the answer is worked out backwards, thus OFF from the answer serves as the anagram indicator and the anagram (off) of PISTE that serves as the fodder leads to ‘I STEP’ which is in the clue

17d    I’m in European country for evaluation (8)
ESTIMATE: I’M from the clue placed inside (in) a combo of E (European) as the abbreviation of European as EU in European Union and STATE (country) as a nation or territory considered as an organised political community under one government takes to the definition of a noun indicating judgment or opinion of the worth or size of anything

19d    Imagine not starting cryptic puzzle! (6)
ENIGMA: An anagram (cryptic) of [I]MAGINE without its initial or beginning letter (not starting) takes to the definition of a noun meaning conundrum, riddle or puzzle

20d    Fellow traveller elevated — it’s the booze (6)
PERNOD: DON (fellow) as fellow of a college or university and REP (traveller) as a person whose job is to sell a company’s products or services, especially by travelling round and visiting other companies are together taken upwards (elevated) as reversals in the down clue, arriving at the definition of an alcoholic drink made in France, flavoured with aniseed, usually mixed with water and drunk as an aperitif

23d    Monkey minus tail in animation (5)
VERVE: VERVE[T] (monkey) as an Old World monkey with greenish-brown upper parts and a black face and belonging to the family Cercopithecidae native to Africa devoid of (minus) T, the terminal or last letter (tail) takes to the definition of a noun meaning vigour and spirit or enthusiasm

24d    Partner‘s surgery evidently reversible? (4)
OPPO: OP (surgery) as the abbreviation for operation that is medical surgery performed on a patient that is clearly seen coming from the opposite direction, too (evidently reversible) as a reversal in the down clue, arriving at the definition of the short form for ‘opposite number’ referring to a person who one’s mate or a marriage partner

Some of the clues that I liked in this puzzle were 10a, 14a, 18a, 22a, 25a, 26a, 27a, 2d, 3d, 5d, 13d, 16d, 19d; 14a being the best of the lot. My prayers to the Almighty for the eternal rest and peace of BD and my thanks to the setter for the entertainment and to Gazza for the assistance. Looking forward to being here again. Have a nice day.

5 comments on “DT 30467 (full review)
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  1. I loved this puzzle too. It was a delight from start to finish.
    The clues I liked most were 1a, 14a, 25a, 26a, 1d, 5d, 13d, 15d and 20d.
    Much appreciation to the setter. This was topnotch entertainment!
    Much appreciation to Rahmat Ali for an exceptionally interesting and detailed review. What a lot of time and research you must have put into this, Rahmat. I really enjoyed reading it, especially the history behind the hippodrome or circus maximus. I was also very happy to see my answers were all correct.

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