DT 30481 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30481

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,481
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */** –  Enjoyment ***

Well it’s brightened up for the moment here in Harpenden but my weather app tells me there is more heavy stuff on the way so no repeat of yesterday’s lovely December day. Rather a shame as I could do with a good long walk to burn off some of the calories that I’ll no doubt put on tonight as we’re dining at a rather splendid Thai restaurant in Hertford.

AP has given us just 28 clues to grapple with today. I enjoyed the guzzle much more than last Tuesday’s offering but still didn’t think it was quite up there with his best. On the whole pretty straightforward though there was one clue that gave me a bit of a parsing head scratch – it’ll be interesting to see from the comments if it was just me.

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 Stage entertainment that could be apt? (3-7)
TAP DANCING: an anagram (could be) of APT + an appropriate indicator. A nice starter.

6a Area Siam’s part of? (4)
ASIA: a lurker found in the first two words.

9a Triumphant queen abandoned last old American (10)
VICTORIOUS: remove the final letter from our second longest reigning monarch (abandoned last) then append the single letter for Old + the usual two letters for American.

10a Model keeping uniform for clubs maybe (4)
SUIT: insert the single letter for Uniform (NATO phonetic alphabet) into a synonym for model.

12a Complimenting peeled dried fruit (6)
RAISIN: remove the outer letters (peeled) from another word for complimenting.

13a Most foolish fibs about river sediment? On the contrary (8)
SILLIEST: place the synonym for lies into the river sediment (about/on the contrary).

15a Enthusiasm after crossword answer and editor’s cheerful (5-7)
LIGHT HEARTED: a synonym for enthusiasm + the usual abbreviation for editor is preceded by (I think) by a term for the cell on the crossword grid that the answer is put into.

18a Forgetful sailor was annoyed after nets misplaced (6-6)
ABSENT MINDED: the usual two letter abbreviation for a merchant seaman + an anagram (misplaced) of NETS followed by (after) a synonym for annoyed or bothered by. A neat surface.

21a Heads of colleges independently finding youths embracing girl group (8)
CLASSIFY: take the first letters (heads of) of the 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th words then insert (embracing) a synonym for girl.

22a A bloke comes over wearing dad’s hat (6)
PANAMA: place an informal term for dad around (wearing) A in the clue + a reversal (comes over) of another word for bloke.

24a Plate smasher (4)
DISH: double definition.

25a Seafaring nuts go canoeing (5-5)
OCEAN GOING: an anagram (nuts) of GO CANOEING.

26a No more golf, anybody? (4)
GONE: the single letter for Golf (NATO phonetic alphabet) + a synonym for anybody. You’re not kidding – my course closed again today after last night’s soaking.

27a Tories laid out leaders (10)
EDITORIALS: an anagram (out) of TORIES LAID. Reckon there are a fair few of ‘em daft enough to contemplate laying out another one.

1d Local’s tense state before noon (6)
TAVERN: insert a synonym for state or assert between the single letter for Tense & for Noon.

2d Papa I caught with mainly pleasant piece of cake (6)
PICNIC: the single letters for Papa (NATO phonetic alphabet again) + I (in the clue) + caught (cricket) then append a truncated synonym (mainly) for pleasant.

3d Banner – – I boo Stalin rebelliously holding it (12)
ABOLITIONIST: an anagram (rebelliously) of I BOO STALIN + IT.

4d Trendy greeting in Cricket Club (4)
CHIC: a informal greeting in the two letter abbreviation for Cricket Club.

5d Wholesome type of word describing Sunak? Good (10)
NOURISHING: insert the first name of our embattled PM into the category of word that names something then append the single letter for Good.

7d English books retained by bosses for undergraduates (8)
STUDENTS: insert (retained by) the single letter for English + books (biblical) into a word for bosses in the context of the flattened head of the nail.

8d Put a diet off, showing cleverness (8)
APTITUDE: an anagram (off) of PUT A DIET.

11d One arranges new trousers left for upper- class Londoner (6,6)
SLOANE RANGER: another anagram (new) of ONE ARRANGES + (trousers) the single letter for Left. The term is a pun referencing the affluent Chelsea location & Tonto’s masked buddy apparently.

14d Phoney European looked over, embarrassed (10)
SHAMEFACED: a synonym for phoney + the single letter for European + a word for looked over.

16d Guardian setter perhaps under close observation (8)
WATCHDOG: nowt to do with a rival organ’s puzzles & the setter that you’re looking for & placing below a word for close observation hasn’t set them either.

17d One kills animal – – a small offence? (8)
ASSASSIN: an animal of the horse family + A from the clue + the single letter for Small + a synonym for offence of which there are seven in RC theology.

19d Wreck in American harbour (6)
MARINA: a synonym for wreck + IN from the clue + the single letter for American.

20d Pushes boats (6)

BARGES: a double definition.

23d Huge son stuck in tub (4)
VAST: insert (stuck in) the single letter for Son into a word for tub.



I had ticks against 1,12&18a along with 14&16d. Think I’ll plump for the forgetful sailor as my pick of the bunch. Please tell us which ones ticked your boxes.

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: SHH + GAR + PLUMB = SUGAR PLUM

76 comments on “DT 30481
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  1. I found this baffling in places but that is why it is called a puzzle! A lot to like, though and it became a steady solve after a number of pennies had dropped. Our Prime Minister seems to be a godsend for compilers and 5d gets my vote for COTD. I see a lot of media news now refers to Mr. Sunak as “The current Prime Minister” and not by his name. They must know something.

    Huge thanks to the setter for the wonderful guzzle. Thank you, Hintsman for the hunts.

  2. Enjoyable, gentle, a bit anagram-heavy but in general with good surface reads making up for their abundance; nothing to frighten the ‘osses, plenty of humour throughout. Podium occupied by 1a, 21a and 5d.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to Huntsman.

  3. Generally fast here but a letter wrong on 1a stalled 1d! Bit embarrassing.
    Fair score of 1 for difficulty.
    Thanks to compiler.

  4. a very enjoyable canter for me today. a bit of head scratching to work through 21a, 16d and 15a (which I would not have got had I not been made aware of this usage of the first word from Big Dave’s sub heading to this blog…).
    26a sits slightly uncomfortably, but there was lots to like. Especially 3d, 5d, 18a, 27a with my favourite today being 1a.
    Thanks to AP and huntsman for the fun.

  5. Most enjoyable.
    When solving 15a you may recall reading a strap line on this very website “Putting the words to lights.”
    Thank you to all the contributors to this site who continue to make it so useful.

  6. Like yesterday’s puzzle, I too found this one very straightforward yet good fun, despite the tonnage of anagrams and Lego. Still plenty to enjoy, though, including my favourite, 1a.

    My thanks to our Tuesday setter and The Hintsman.

  7. I parsed 15a the same re the crossword grid
    2d needs a tweak as the truncated synonym of pleasant is showing
    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman
    How long before they moan about the amount of water that golf clubs use to water greens? You can bet we will have a hosepipe ban next summer

  8. A pleasant, very straightforward puzzle but falling short of top-notch.
    I’ll go for 1a and 27a (for it’s topicality) as joint favourites.
    Many thanks to the setter and Huntsman

  9. Another solid crissy crossy from Professor Plumb. Lots of straightforward clues with plenty of excellent surfaces. Put me on the list of those who couldn’t parse the first part of 15a.

    I’m giving this a 2* for technical merit (we love a bit of ice skating lingo) which follows yesterday’s 1*.

    I have never had a week of 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*. Could this be the week?

    My podium is 1a ( a great one to kick things off), 25a and 27a

    Many thanks to AP and ‘Hints man’.


  10. Very Typically Tuesdayish – 1.5*/4*

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 6a, 10a, 12a, 2d, 14d, and 19d – and the winner is 1a.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  11. It’s time for Tom’s Tuesday teaser at 12!

    There are nine ways to pronounce ‘ough’ in a word with one of them having a great explanation.

    I need examples for at least six of them in your post.

    Let’s see ’em….

    1. Through it all, carrying a bough to the lough from the borough, though it ought to be enough, it isn’t quite! Even Loughborough doesn’t bring me my final two, but if I hiccough there’s only one left …

      1. Very good, both of you!

        Lough is particularly good.

        Hiccough is the odd one. It was originally hiccup but the medical world changed it to hiccough thinking it was linked to a cough, which it’s not! But they kept the pronunciation.

        I love that story.

        1. Brough (named after Brough Scott – jockey & racing correspondent) was the name of my setter who looked very like the one pictured in the hint at 16d.

      2. The prize has to go to MG.

        I think I have heard one person pronounce hiccough as hiccoff. So, MG gets all nine. Well played, sir!

        We love, Brough Scott, Hints man. A top man.

  12. Pleasant Tuesday puzzle causing no real problems once I’d sorted out the type of banner required!
    The plate smasher made me smile so that can have a rosette along with the forgetful sailor and the wholesome PM.

    Thanks to our name-checked setter and to Huntsman for the review – enjoy your Thai meal.

  13. As you young people say, “I ain’t gonna lie”; I found this one to be jolly challenging. This is always the way when everyone above me mentions how lemon-squeezy they found a guzzle. It is inevitable in such circumstances that I find the very same guzzle to be on a par with the Labours of Hercules.
    Sure, I carried out the slaying of the Nemean lion and the nine-headed Hydra of Lerna, the capture of the elusive stag of Arcadia and the wild boar of Mount Erymanthus (I can tell you he was very wild when I captured him).
    However it was the taking of the girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons that defeated me. She just would not give it up, despite my charming manner.

    Thus it was with this guzzle. I reached the equivalent of the girdle of Hippolyte and was very grateful for the assistance of Hintsman who provided a couple of nudges (I had long forgotten Peter York’s people at 11d) and enabled me to nip off and capture Cerberus, the triple-headed dog, guardian of the gates to the Underworld.
    So a busy day, all things considered.

    Thanks to the setter and Andy On The First Tee.

  14. One of those puzzles that there was little wrong with but not much to enjoy either. Stretched synonyms and leap of faith clues.
    Not one for me I’m afraid
    Thx for the hints

  15. A pleasant romp except for 19d, I had Manila in my head and couldn’t budge it, needed the hint to remove it. Terence you say the boar was very wild when you captured him, I bet he was bloody furious (apologies to monty python gorilla sketch). Thanks to all.

    1. I wonder whether the Not The Nine O’Clock News team would view the attribution of that sketch to MP as a compliment? I do hope so. I still find it funny some 40 years later!

      1. NTNOCN is legendary. The spoof adverts for Fiat and Made in Wales still make me laugh every time. Their cunning lingers on, for sure

    1. Good to know, I always assumed it had something to do with the background you write on – light as opposed to white because not all newspapers use white paper ( see the FT and the weekend puzzles pages of our own DT and Sunday T too)

    2. Thanks for that, Anorak. I always wondered exactly what the subtitle (Putting the words to lights … ) under the heading Big Dave’s Crossword Blog meant. I enjoyed this crossword very much – thanks to the setter and Hintsman.

  16. First of all thanks to Terence for brightening a very foggy morning here in Yorkshire. I always look forward to your fantastic ( in the true sense of the word) comments. No need for dictionaries or electronic help this morning but an enjoyable solve. I echo other’s comments in relation to 15a. It would be good to hear of the setter’s intentions but I suppose that’s unlikely. Favourite today was 1a supported by 13a and 14d. Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  17. Seemed like a normal sort of Tuesday offering to me. Nothing too way out there.


    Favourites include 9a, 13a, 21a, 5d, 11d & 16d — with winner 16d
    Smiles from 9a, 13a, 24a, 5d& 16d

    Thanks to AP and Huntsman

  18. One of Chambers definitions for Light is “In a crossword, the word (or sometimes an individual letter in a word) on the diagram that is the answer to the clue.” So, I guess that’s fair enough…

  19. Like Steve C above, I found this “a bit baffling” in parts, but there was good stuff too and I enjoyed it. I took far too long with 13a, having to get ehelp in the end. I remembered the 11d so well, do they still use that? I needed help with the anagram at 3d … oh, that banner! Hard to choose a fave, but 1a really amused so maybe I’ll pick that.
    Thank you setter for the fun and Hintsman for unravelling a few. Thai green curry, yumyum!!

    1. It’s a “reverse anagram”. APT in an anagram clue might be clued as the answer.
      Does that help? Tricky to explain without giving the answer away.

  20. I was quickly out of the blocks, but slowed down towards the bottom of this most enjoyable light puzzle.
    I loved the double definition at 24a and the banner at 3d.
    If you were to hound me, my CoD is probably the Guardian compiler at 24a.
    Thank you setter and my near neighbour, Huntsman.

  21. I quite enjoyment this one – not too difficult but more than hard enough for me these days.
    A bit of a pig’s ear in a few places but sorted out now.
    I wasn’t very happy about the second word of 18a but no-one else seemed bothered so just me. . .
    I liked 15 and 25a and 5 and 16d. My favourite was 3d, specially once I’d decided where to put the ‘H’! Oh dear! :oops:
    Thanks to today’s setter and to Huntsman.

  22. An enjoyable puzzle with lots to like, I did not understand my answer to 15a so thanks to all who have explained. 18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman for the hints.

  23. Another easy solve, I quite enjoy this level to start the week 😃 **/*** Favourites 10a, 22a and 2d 👍 Thanks to the Huntsman and to the Compiler

  24. Re 19d I do not think that “mar” is a direct synonym of “wreck”. The latter implies the causing of much more serious damage than the former, perhaps even involving total destruction.

  25. We had a lecture on Bach’s Christmas Oratorio followed by lunch for 65. I had cooked all yesterday and got it all together this morning. Got home a 3 pm and went to bed with a cup of tea and our puzzle. At that point it was a 3 star for difficulty and I fell asleep. Woke up at 6pm and sailed home but for me it was much more than a one star and I’ll stick with the 3 star difficulty rating even allowing for being exhausted.Love this site and all the contributors. Thanks to Mr. plump and Huntsman

  26. A nice gentle solve late this afternoon after a bit of a jigsaw day. Mostly solved in order as I worked through the clues. Favourite has to be 1a, closely followed by 25a, 3d and 14d. Perhaps I’m easily pleased, but on some days the more straightforwad puzzles are much appreciated without the need for too much head scratching. Hopefully my tomorrow will be less fraught. Thanks to our setter and Huntsman.

  27. A bit of a slog in parts and enjoyable in others. I don’t think I’ve found this setter’s wavelength yet. But probably short on patience as I need to get out in the garden and do some feeding and watering. Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  28. Good evening.
    Pen down after some serious brain work – a very entertaining set of clues today, with some nifty misdirection and a reverse anagram.
    Joint COTD: 1a, 12a, 11d.
    Thank you to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman

  29. Struggled to get off the starting blocks but once I had found the wavelength off I went at a steady pace with just a slight hold-up in the SW. Altogether a very pleasant enigma. 3d was Fav thanks to clever banner misdirection. Thank you Mr/Mrs Ron and Huntsman

  30. Just me then as I found this harder than the toughie, not on the right wavelength I suppose. To be fair I did finish at a bit of a canter. LOI was 13a because all the time I was trying to peel the dried fruit, oh well! Favourite was 1a. Thanks to the setter and Hintsman.

  31. Not a favourite for me I’m afraid. Got it but not much fun. I only circled 21a for the wordplay and always like the leader at 27a. Bunged 3d in and the penny had only just dropped! Thanks Mr P and wHuntsman.

  32. Bang on the money for my level of expertise and solved post theatre visit fairly rapido. Large Malbec helping.
    16d last one in -simple once the light bulb moment-but clever.

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