DT 30486 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30486

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30486

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are experiencing a very mild lead-up to the holiday season with barely enough snow on the ground to notice. As this will be my last appearance before the big day, let me wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas.

Campbell has given us a very gentle mental workout today so solvers should be left with lots of time to tend to their Christmas shopping and other preparations for the approaching festivities.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, FODDER is capitalized, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Big hit, singer’s first record (4)
SLOG — the initial letter (… ‘s first) of SINGER and a detailed record of events

3a   Cat sheltering in cold bar, one in Ohio city (10)
CINCINNATI — start with CAT from the clue containing (sheltering) IN from the clue, the water supply symbol for cold, and a bar or pub; then append the Roman numeral for one

9a   Starts to observe radiation belts surrounding celestial bodies (4)
ORBS — the initial letters (starts) to four word in the clue

10a   I sang carol composed for English horn (3,7)
COR ANGLAIS — an anagram (composed) of the first three words of the clue

11a   Parking by passageway leading to yard in Scottish town (7)
PAISLEY — the street sign symbol for parking, a passageway between pews, and the abbreviation for yard

13a   Amaze a firm over time (7)
ASTOUND — the A from the clue and firm or solid surrounding (over) the physics symbol for time

14a   New rating’s hair in excellent condition (5,2,4)
RIGHT AS RAIN — an anagram (new) of the two words following the indicator

18a   Dismiss something brilliant? One may be let off (11)
FIRECRACKER — dismiss from employment and an informal term for something brilliant or exceptionally good

21a   Factory worker, lad favouring active involvement (5-2)
HANDS-ON — a charade of synonyms for factory worker and lad

22a   Rather high, the Parisian church tower (7)
STEEPLE — another simple charade, this time of an adjective denoting rather high and a French definite article

23a   Film‘s noble spirit (10)
BRAVEHEART — and yet another, synonyms for noble or bold and spirit or enthusiasm

24a   Charity do back in Malaga (4)
GALA — a reverse lurker hiding (back in) in the final word of the clue

25a   Attractive after a time, or trying? (10)
ATTEMPTING — another word for attractive or enticing following the A from the clue and the physics symbol for time

26a   Head of security outfit in satirical sketch (4)
SKIT — the initial letter of (head of) SECURITY and an outfit or uniform


1d   Playwright opposite plugging leading performer — daughter! (8)
STOPPARD — start with the abbreviation for opposite contained in (plugging) the leading performer in a theatrical production; then append the genealogical abbreviation for daughter

2d   Old game involving ten blues from here? (8)
OXBRIDGE — the single letter for old and a card game bookend the Roman numeral for ten

4d   Girl storing gold for American film director (5)
IVORY — the name of a girl (one who perhaps likes to climb) surrounding (storing) the heraldic symbol for gold

5d   Cleaner having a disqualification caught early bus (9)
CHARABANC — link together a cleaning lady, the A from the clue, a disqualification, and the cricket scorecard symbol for caught

6d   Northern lass ready to retire? Florence, perhaps (11)
NIGHTINGALE — the single letter for northern and an informal term for a girl contained in some sleeping attire; she may be (indicated by the ?) ready to retire because she is dressed for bed (in NIGHTIE)

7d   Old calculator that may make a graduate swear endlessly (6)
ABACUS — the A from the clue, an abbreviated arts graduate, and all but the final letter (endlessly) of another term for swear or utter a profanity

8d   Content behind bars? (6)
INSIDE — double definition

12d   Released pent-up emotions, then forgave silly mates (3,3,5)
LET OFF STEAM — a (3,3) term meaning forgave and an anagram (silly) of MATES

15d   Hospital department supporting line that’s tough (9)
STRINGENT — the most frequented department of the Crosswordland hospital follows (supporting in a down clue) a line or cord

16d   Omit sailor’s fish (8)
SKIPJACK — another word for omit and one of the usual terms for sailor

17d   Object after awful performance (8)
ARTEFACT — an anagram (awful) of AFTER and a stage performance

19d   Greek character ringing old boy over a fear (6)
PHOBIA — the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet around the abbreviation for old boy precedes (over in a down clue) A from the clue

20d   Child at home — cooler temperature required (6)
INFANT — the usual term for at home, a cooling device, and the physics symbol for temperature

22d   Alarm shown by father and son, ultimately (5)
SIREN — an equine father followed by the the final letter (ultimately) of SON

My favourite clue today is 6d which took me a very long time to parse. In fact, I set it aside and came back to it after composing the review before the clever wordplay finally dawned on me.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): WILDE + FLOUR = WILDFLOWER

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : PENNY + TENSE = PENITENCE

113 comments on “DT 30486
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  1. 2*/3.5*. The usual light Monday fun although it was a shame to find an unknown (to me) film director clued using a vague girl’s name.

    6d was my runaway favourite.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  2. Gentle start to the week, and I found the experience rather flat. I only knew 5d having visited Wookey Hole this summer. as there’s still an old road sign there mentioning the answer (which I then had to google!).

    No favourite as no clue really raised a smile, or was particularly clever – at least in my opinion.

  3. Campbell is extremely consistent: good constructions with lots of good surfaces and no curveballs which puts everyone in a good mood for what lies ahead.

    I’m not bad when it comes to film knowledge, though Hintsman is the standard bearer, but I haven’t heard of 4d.

    My podium is 10a, 6d and 17d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.


    1. For someone who is reasonably okay with words, I can’t believe I used the word ‘good’ three times in one sentence.

      Disappointing….which makes sense.

      1. I do a lot of writing one way or another, Minutes, reports, nightly diary, articles for the local magazines etc and go to great pains to avoid repetition! So I know how you feel – and I won’t hold it against you!

                1. I’m struggling to believe it because the world’s oldest person was 122.

                  If you can do it when you raise your bat in 11 years, you’ll not only get a card from the king but one from me too.

                  It really is incredible that you can do that.

                  Huge respect.

      2. On the subject of words…I received an email today with the subject “Our app has gotten an upgrade” It made me hit the delete button immediately. Yes, it was from an American company and I realise it’s in common use there, but it just doesn’t sit right with me.

        I remember the headmaster at primary school when we were in P7, telling us… “Try to avoid using get, got or gotten, it looks like I haven’t done my job”

        Of all the things to stick with me.

        1. When we first moved to the US I heard a neighbour rebuking her child for saying got instead of gotten…. I’m glad to say our girls have never used it.

      1. I was going to do it tomorrow so I can use the alliteration ”Tom’s Tuesday Teaser”. But, let’s do it now (like your choice of song, btw)…

        There are 13 ways to spell the sound ‘shn’ at the end of a word, a couple of which can be pronounced differently. So, we may get a stewards’ inquiry. There is a possible 14th though I’ve never heard anyone pronounce the one I have in mind with a shn sound.

        You need to include at least six in your answer with an example for each.

        For the last time, let’s see ’em…

          1. You certainly can!

            I probably should have specified words that are in the dictionary but we can add that to the list as it’s a belter.

            I just have to try it.

          1. A fine effort, nevertheless. They are both new on me.

            I have Persian and similarly Asian as one of the stewards because I pronounce them as ‘je’ (I in French – Je suis) but I think some may say ‘shn’.

            Four or five of the ones that are left are v straightforward.

              1. I don’t allow shun as it’s not pronounced shn. How harsh am I?

                Ashen is a goodie.

                You’re working your way through them nicely, AB.

                    1. Another tick.

                      Grecian is the only word ending -cian that is not a job, e.g magician, electrician, politician etc.

                      If I give you the endings for the remaining, you give me examples:

                      cheon (debatable)
                      chion (v tough)

                    2. A fine efforrt Mhids and love your Muttley shout, Banksie!

                      Crucifixion and Complexion and the ones I had for xion and stanchion is the tricky one.

                      All good fun.

              1. Stanchion is a goodie but falchion is outstanding.

                Some of these words more than deserve their place on Terence’s ‘List’.

  4. Absolute breeze today, just right for a Monday. Thought 6d was very clever. Off for the daily walk now through Wellington College, then back via the very steep Ambarrow Hill which always stretches the tendons!

  5. Slow off the mark but gradually got to grips with it and in fact enjoyed the challenge with heaviest going in the SW. Not sure 24a is necessarily for charity. My 3a bung-in took some parsing. Thank you Mysteryone and Falcon.

  6. A jolly crossword. I had to ponder over the proliferation of ‘n’ and ‘t’ in one clue. Those peskey Americans, eh?

    As the wonderful Daisy would say – an anecdote:
    We observed the Mighty Chelsea turn in another lukewarm performance, overcoming the United of Sheffield. As my club in central London was hosting a private function, the lovely people at Century in Shaftesbury Avenue had offered us sanctuary, so we were booked in for an early dinner at 7pm.
    The distance from Stamford Bridge to the parking place in Old Burlington Street is just under four miles. Reader, it took us over two hours to drive those four miles and we arrived at 8pm. I came to undestand how people lose their marbles and abandon their car in the middle of a traffic queue. Two hours, ladies and gentlemen.

    Our guess regarding this life-sapping delay? A combination of the massive throngs heading to and from ‘Winter Wonderland’ in Hyde Park (coaches and mini-buses everywhere, and people streaming across streets without a care for the traffic); the PIccadilly underpass has been closed for five months; and the increased traffic for Christmas shopping and people gawping at the lights.
    Additional to all of this the usual phasing of traffic lights that favour pedestrians by a ratio of about 90%, to 10% for car drivers.

    Then ninety minutes to get home for a journey that should take forty minutes.

    No! Don’t say it! Just don’t! “Why don’t you use public transport?” Only people who don’t live in or around London would suggest such a horrific solution.

    Thanks to Cambell and The Bird Of Prey.

    1. Whenever we visit London we always use public transport. If the bus is held up it’s just an extension of reading time and the same for the tube.

      1. So does anyone with sense. Down to London to St Pancras today. Then seamless journey onwards to Gatwick by Thameslink accompanied as far as London Bridge by daughter and grandson who came to see us off.

  7. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: 1.5*/3.5*

    I agree with RD on 4d although it was relatively simple to arrive at a plausible name for confirmation, in my case, using the list of directors in the Small Red Book.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 23a, 10d, and 22d – and the winner is 13a.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  8. I didn’t find this quite as gentle in parts as Falcon and others suggest. I had to Google both the American director and a list of cities in Ohio, though I did know the Scottish town, the playwright and the noble spirit film. I suppose with GK it’s a case of you either know it or you don’t! I also failed to parse 6d though the answer was obvious to this nurse. I enjoyed the whole thing, my favourite being the aforementioned 3a, joined on the podium by 2d and 5d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  9. A pleasant and fairly gentle start to the crosswording week – thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    My favourite clue was the clever 6d.

  10. I wonder how many of you would have remembered the film director if his co-director on several films, Mr Merchant, had been mentioned in the clue?

      1. You should remedy that Senf. Remains Of The Day, which I must have watched at least a dozen times, is a simply wonderful adaptation of an excellent novel with superb performances all round & arguably his best ever by Anthony Hopkins. The scene near the end when the bus departs in the rain brings a tear to my eye every time.

      1. I posted similarly too but it hasn’t appeared however I was merely saying that perhaps it dates me to be well acquainted with 4d successful association with Merchant.

    1. Yes, I did recall Merchant and *****. I’ve never watched one of their films, but I think they became something of a label for a type of film.

  11. A lovely start to the week, I did not know the producer but got there with the checkers, and had to double check my American geography. Like others 6d my favourite and pleased I remembered 5d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the hints.

  12. A little surprised that James at 4d was unknown to some of our early commenters & can only assume it’s because his films are referred to Merchant **** productions. Along with the Archers (Powell & Pressburger) his output with his partner (domestic & professional) Ismail surely ranks right up there with cinema’s greatest long term collaborations – Remains of the Day, Howards End & A Room With A View three of their finest works for which he received Best Director Oscar nominations. I knew his partner had died but had to check that he was still with us & he is at the sprightly age of 95. In 2017 he finally won an Academy award for his adapted screenplay for a tremendous coming of age movie, Call Me By Your Name – well worth a view.
    Enjoyed the puzzle (even if it did feature one of the worst best film & director Oscar awards ever) & reckon the rather neat wordplay at 3a my pick. Not for the first time I briefly wondered what my favourite genre of music had to do with 2d before the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Campbell & to Falcon.

    1. You are the king of film, HM, there’s no doubt about it.

      The dream is to do a hobby for your living. Are you in the film world, by any chance?

        1. Their loss.

          I have a huge list of films that I need to watch before I push up daisies (no, the last word shouldn’t have an apostrophe before someone says ”Daisy’s what?”).

          One of my plans is to watch all the Best Film Oscar films. I have seen about 70% with my most recent one being The Apartment.

          What a film!

          1. Agreed. Jack Lemmon was a great actor. 2 of his later films to catch that you may not have seen are The China Syndrome & Missing – I’ve just checked & he was rightly nominated for both

            1. I’ve seen The China Syndrome but not Missing.

              I also need to watch two more of his: Save the Tiger, which you know he won an long-deserved Best Actor Oscar for, and Glengarry Glen Ross, a film I’ve been meaning to watch for yonks as I was in sales for a while.

              Have you seen Mister Roberts which he won Best Supporting for? I’ve heard great things about it.

      1. And to you, Campbell.

        Time and time again you pitch the level perfectly for a Monday.

        Here’s to many more in 24!

      2. How nice of you to pop in with Christmas greetings, Campbell. A merry Christmas to you as well and many thanks for all the puzzles you’ve brought us this year.

      3. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Campbell. Thank you for providing us all with delightful cryptics. 🎄🎄🎅🏻🎅🏻☃️⛄️🍾

  13. Gosh, thought this was going to be a v hard Monday guzzle, but with a few checkers in it started to flow. All except 6d, where I got as far as the lassie having a ‘night in’, but then needed an E not an N. So many thanks to Falcon for sorting that out!
    Liked 3a (fave du jour pethaps). Reminds me of a conversation we had with a femme de manage when we first moved here to Frogland 50 years ago. She seemingly had relatives or friends in O’IO. Took us a while to get used the French pronunciation.
    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for that hint!

  14. Thoroughly enjoyable although for some unknown reason 17d eluded me and I needed Falcon’s excellent hints. It also took time over 1a. I had the answer but I have only ever associated the word with an exhausting task (“that was a hard 1a”) rather than a big hit. My COTD is 2d because the misdirection had me thinking out was an anagram of “ten blues”.

    Thank you, Campbell for the fun. Thank you, Falcon for the hints.

  15. I was anagramming (?) ten blues as well. I did this whilst travelling up to Worcester Hospital to visit DD1 before Christmas. Don’t tell DD2, she’s forbidden father to drive all this way but we must see her especially having missed her birthday on the 1st. What on earth do I give her for Christmas?! I’ve got a soft toy and half a dozen boxes of biscuits and sweets for the staff, who are angels in uniform. So a very nice guzzle to occupy me, with the odd snooze here and there – George never talks whilst he’s driving. I don’t think I have a favourite, I did know the director as I spent a couple of years in the film industry before I moved into fashion. though I don’t have Hintsman’s encyclopaedic knowledge. I had to look at Falcons hints for the whys of the nightie which I couldn’t fathom so thanks for that and thanks to Mr. Setter.

    1. Don’t you love it when your kids start telling what you can and cannot do? We learn to keep some things to ourselves and fess up later 😊.

      1. IT really started for us during covid. We had stern lectures at least once a week about staying indoors and avoiding people.
        Thank goodness the son and heir is in Norway not round the corner..we’d probably have been imprisoned.

        Needless to say, we ignored it all….. and have never fessed up

  16. I found this more difficult than the normal Monday puzzle. It was a case of bung in the answer and work out the whyfor later on most of them. Thanks to all.

  17. Another gentle easing into the non-working week by our setter, for which I was very grateful. My ticks went to 10&21a plus 6&17d, the last of those needing a penny-drop moment before falling into place. To answer the question from CS, yes – it would have saved me some guesswork had Mr Merchant popped up in the clue for 4d!

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review – thank you for your best wishes, a very merry Christmas to you as well.
    PS Watching the clip that Terence posted, prompts me to ask whether Mr K will be able to ensure that we get the usual ‘white Christmas’ on the blog – happy memories of BD setting it up some years ago.

  18. A very pleasant and fairly untaxing puzzle that was fun to solve, with 6d my clear favourite.

    My thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  19. Plenty of good clues for favourites today in this Monday Campbell offering. A little GK required but not that difficult to source out.

    1.5*/4* for me

    Favourites include 11a, 18a, 22a, 25a, 2d & 5d — with winner 2d.
    Smiles for 1a, 25a, 7d & 16d

    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon for blog/hints

  20. This crossword was easier than previous Mondays so was enjoyable. 3a my favourite remembering a Scott Walker song from long ago. The film at 23a was atrocious but very popular for some reason.

    Thanks to Falcon and Campbell for the Monday pleasure.

  21. Monday-ish fun until I got stuck at 17d, even with all the checkers. My brain would only parse the clue wrongly. (What a horrible sentence.)
    So thank you Falcon for the hints and Campbell for the smiles.

    1. Talking of horrible sentences many years ago our Younger Lamb was probably about five or so and she was being very grumpy about something. Their poor Dad had gone upstairs to read their bedtime story and had obviously picked the wrong one. She said, “Daddy, why have you brought up this book I didn’t want to be read to out of from for”!

  22. A bright start to the week, just before we set forth to find the one Christmas gift still missing from under the tree. I started slowly with this puzzle, but is came together surprisingly quickly, although I will never be a R&W claimant. I also confess that I never pay attention to who directed what, so I’m at a loss for anything director related. But 5d was pretty easy to figure out once I had eliminated May as the girl. Joint COTD (sorry Kath) 14a and 12d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  23. A nice start to the week solvable and many answers that brought a smile 😃 Favourites 13a, 2d & 15d 👍 Thanks to the Falcon and to Campbell, and I learnt what a Mexican Salamander is called 😳

  24. Thank goodness for Monday! I only had a problem in the SE, it took a long time to get 17d but I had a wrong letter at the end, sloppiness writing in 26a. I revisited it and had my epiphany, though I did doubt 24a, but I see it’s right. I never had a problem with 4d, it was one of my gimmes, having checkers for the 3rd and 5th letters. I liked lots, 10a and 7d stood out, but 5d takes the rosette, what a lovely word!
    Thanks Campbell for the fun and Falcon for his hints and tips, and explaining 6d!

  25. Out this morning looking for waxwings in Hertford. 19 were spotted there yesterday and needless to say, there were none today! Oh well – it was still nice to get out.
    A very gentle start to the week. Favourite was 6d and last one in was 17d. Both excellent clues.
    Thank you setter and Falcon.

  26. I found this quite difficult – some Mondays can be, for me anyway.
    It took some time to get going but then things picked up only to slow down right at the end.
    I can’t “do” films or directors so they were both hopeless, and fireworks aren’t much better.
    I did like 6d and also 2d. I think my favourite (and first answer) was probably 10a
    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  27. Needed a jolly and pleasant puzzle this morning as it is the second day of making good the damage of a leaking cistern into the hall cupboard. Now we have done it with aplomb, no tradesman needed and mighty pleased we are. Good to hear such affirmation of 4d. Remains of the day is heart rending and so true to its time. Needed Falcon to explain 6 d as the parsing was much harder than seeing the answer.Thanks to all involved .

  28. Either I’m getting on Campbell’s wavelength or he’s setting easier crosswords, I suspect the latter. Hadn’t heard of 4d. LOI, like others, was 17d until I spotted what should have been obvious, slaps forehead with palm of hand. No standout favourite but 15d is probably the best, there were other contenders. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  29. An enjoyable puzzle for me and I think I may finally be getting the hang of Campbell…but I have thought this before and he has come back to bite me…..
    17d did for me , but got all the rest without aid.

    Lots to like but no special favourites.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon…and Merry Christmas to you both!

  30. Good evening
    Pen down! I’m in the picturesque Wiltshire village of Bedwyn as we speak, in the sidings in fact, ready to work the 20:42 back to Paddington. That’s given me a crafty 15 minutes to get a cup of tea and finish the crozzie.
    Some nice little twists in today’s clues – just enough so you don’t get blasé, just because it’s Monday!
    2d and 6d joint COTD.
    Thank you to Campbell and Falcon

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