DT 30491 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30491 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30491 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

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A grey but warm for December brings a Prize Puzzle full of tricks to mislead, although if you are a fan of anagrams, this may help. If your head is full of Christmas songs, you will definitely get a change (or two) of ear worm once you’ve finished the solve :D

This won’t be my last blog post before Christmas Day but it is the one that most people will read so I will take the opportunity to wish crossword setters, fellow bloggers, commenters and lurkers a very Merry Christmas

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.  I will be keeping an eye on the blog while preparing a whole crab for lunch, so let me know if you need more help than I have given so far

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


1a    Hour with Oscar in local, hammered: the cause? (7)
The abbreviation for Hour and the NATO Phonetic Alphabet letter represented by Oscar inserted into an anagram (hammered) of LOCAL

5a    Fish, net and deck (7)
A type of fish and a verb meaning to net

11a    Restriction on entry that may be lifted? (10)
A cryptic definition of something that restricts entry to a castle perhaps. There are two possibilities here, – I will admit to putting the wrong one which didn’t help much when looking at the Down clues

14a    Bridging loose to start with, cracked teeth wobble — not fair! (5,3,4)
One of two complicated anagrams in the middle of the crossword – this one is an anagram (cracked) of TEETH WOBBLE ‘bridging’ the first (start) letter of Loose

22a    Connoisseur‘s item offered at lower price first? (10)
An item offered at a lower price and the abbreviated way of writing first

26a    One might be thrown in dryer (5)
A cleverly-written clue which doesn’t, on first reading, look like it is a double definition

28a    Model soldier likely to drop — almost dead (7)
An abbreviated soldier likely to be seen dropping from the sky and almost all of a synonym for dead


1d    Area with sign about double parking in Syrian city? (6)
The abbreviation for Area and a Sign of the Zodiac go ‘about’ two lots (double) of the abbreviation for Parking

3d    This Camembert is not too bad (4,6)
Something that has the opposite consistency to Camembert gives its name to an informal way of saying ‘too bad’

7d    Adult male in jail, set up, given life (8)
The abbreviation for Adult followed by that for  Male inserted in a reversal (set up) of a verb meaning to jail

13d    Supporter using muscle to protect new player (10)
Insert (to protect) the abbreviation for New into an informal term for muscle and then add a player

15d    One-nil up, I help distraught Reds fan? (9)
A reversl  (up) of the letter representing nothing (nil) and ONE (from the clue) and an anagram  (distraught) of I HELP – these particular red fans may or may not follow Liverpool football team

17d    Parisian behind Irish tune on the radio? (8)
The French word for behind sounds like (on the radio) a well-known Irish tune

24d    Delightful day for Kitty (4)
Misleading capitals time – a synonym for delightful and the abbreviation for Day

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

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The Quick Crossword pun: SOUP + OFFICIAL = SUPERFICIAL

81 comments on “DT 30491 (Hints)
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  1. Most of this delightful puzzle went in straight away, but I was left with half a dozen spread throughout the grid that proved more troublesome, including my LOI, 20d, and my favourite, 15d. Plenty of other really good clues to keep the interest going in what was a terrific Saturday crossword challenge.

    Many thanks to our setter for the fun, and to Sue for this and all her work throughout the year.

      1. I bunged in a word … I was just about to say how I arrived at it, then remembered it is Saturday! I’m not sure mine is right.

  2. Challenging but doable puzzle on this snowy morning just north of Aberdeen with Emmy the Dog snuggled up beside me on the sofa.

    Favourites 19d, 20d and COTD being the amusing 17d.

    Thanks to the setter for the entertainment and Crypticsue.

  3. A puzzle of two halves for me. The top half went in in double-quick time and the bottom half proved to be very challenging. All good fun though with my rating being 2.5*/4*.

    My favourite was the brilliant 17d closely followed by 15d & 20d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS.

  4. Well, that surprised me.

    Having just done an intense cardio session at the gym, I wasn’t expecting another workout whilst supping my coffee.

    I almost threw in the proverbial trying to solve the 11a/2d comby but, from nowhere, the former hit me which meant the latter dropped immediately. (I always forget that word)

    It was a well-crafted crossy with some great surfaces.

    My podium is 4d (very nice) 17d (Parisian behind – superb) and the fabulous 15d.

    Many thanks to the setter and Christmas Sue


  5. A real boxing blue of a puzzle, very hard, very clever.
    Best fun in ages, one for the laterally minded.
    Best two for me were 10a and 3d. Brilliant!

  6. Tricky for a SPP but good fun, I can’t see beyond the Parisians bum for favourite today
    Thanks to CS and all the bloggers and commentariat for a fine year of crosswords

    1. Yes, I liked the Parisian’s bum clues as well and also 11a, but I had to use the hints for 14a. A very yricky middle sectiion. Thanks to CS and the compiler.

  7. Seemed a little harder than a usual Saturday? But no obscure words or obscure television series so no complaint here.
    On balance maybe just right in fact.
    Thanks to compiler and others.

  8. Well I thought this was very tricky but got there in the end. LOI was 15d – we had that fairly recently but I had forgotten it. My COTD the Frenchman’s backside – he’s proving very popular today! Should be returning today from the cancelled holiday, gulp. Apparently my xray taken last week will take 6 -8 weeks for the results! So not impressed with junior doctors striking, everyone is 35% poorer than a few years ago. Thanks to CS and the compiler for the head scratching. DG, how is the air frying going?

    1. I’d migrate, if I were you. In France your x-ray is upstairs with the consultant before you’ve got your clothes on or, if ordered by your GP, on its way to him direct. With a copy in your hand as you leave!

    2. Good question, Manders. We are not a chip family (well, George might be if I am not there) but we had mussels the other day and I thought I would be very Limburg and do accompanying chips. They were OK but a bit overcooked. I’m hoping that after Christmas I shall have more time for experimenting. I’ll keep you posted.

      1. Moules et frites sur l’avenue des Champs Elysées – superbe!

        Although the restaurant may not be there any more; it was more than 30 years ago when I was last in Paris.

        1. I used to accompany George to all the big Menswear Shows in Europe and whilst he worked I would explore. In Paris we (another wife and I ) practiced our French all the time and on one occasion in a cafe I said to Sandra Quand je m’en va a l’Angleterre je veux enlarger le jardin de legumes. A Frenchman at the next table banged his Le Monde down on the table and came and leant over me. Madame, vous agrandisez le potager! And went and resumed his reading. I never forgot the word for a vegetable plot. Belated anecdote warning and apologies for Very Rusty French.

  9. Started off very nicely with the ones, a bit of fish and a flaw, then came completely off the rails trying to put 10a into the 11a slot (starting with a P?) No end of e-cheating didn’t help at all, until I re-read the puzzle, which then helped a lot!
    Indeed lots to like but faves are 15d and the brilliant 17d.
    Very many thanks to the setter and to CS, and Merry Christmas to you both and everyone else.

  10. A curate’s egg for me – half completed at Warp Factor 10 and half completed at Warp Factor 0.5! 3*/3.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 3d, 16d, and 19d – and the winner is 3d.

    Thanks to whomsoever and CS.

    P.S. CS – no underlining of definition in 14a.

    1. I always smile at 3d, it always reminds me of Terry Thomas, he’d smile and show that space between his front teeth while saying it with his particular drawl! There will not be his like again.

  11. Bit of a curate’s egg for me but all eventually slotted in where required.
    Favourite was the chestnut at 17d.

    Thanks to our setter and to our hard-working reviewer, CS – many thanks for all your tireless help with the blog this year and I hope you finally get to switch off and enjoy your own festivities!

  12. I got there in the end but can’t say I enjoyed it much. Too many convoluted clues I thought and they needed a fair amount of brain scrambling, Nevertheless, it has given me another go at The Mythical. My COTD is the French bum.

    Thank you to the setter and I’m sorry it did not float my boat. Thank you CS for the hints.

  13. What a relief to have a patently lenient and fun challenge after yesterday’s rough ride. North was the most submissive half. 25a not necessarily director. Sorry Kath but I have a trio of Favs (26a, 13d and 17d). Thank you Mysteryone and CS.

  14. like others above I found this to be a game of two halves, with the bottom half fighting somewhat harder than the top.
    as to my favourite; 17d – fabulous, what can I say?

      1. I see the hint has now been corrected, and yes, ONE is still an anagram of itself if written backwards (up) which the clue really means.

  15. Managed to download the paper which is just as well as it’s hosing it down here at Tigh Mor so no walking today. Really enjoyed the puzzle. 15,17&20d my top 3 & also particularly liked 10&11a. Another vote for the homophone as pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to the setter & to Sue.

  16. Never have I needed the hints more for the bottom half of this puzzle. The top went in quite well but the bottom!!!
    Is it just me or are the weekend puzzles getting tougher?
    Thx for the hints

  17. Found this to be a pleasing Saturday puzzle to tackle with some clues that required some thought and getting through the surface reading of them.

    2*/4* for me today

    Favourites include 11a, 14a, 27a, 3d & 20d — with winner 3d & 14a the runner-up

    Thanks to setter & CS for hints/blog

  18. Hallelujah! George has just cracked 20d. How did I not see it? Sorry Steve, I’m now competing with you for the mythical. I loved it. A cracking guzzle with several contenders for number one but with Kath’s sensitivity in mind I will plump for one and that has to be George’s 20d. Enormous thanks to all who keep this wonderful site ticking over, I like the way you all chip in and help each other out so that we are not left in the lurch with no guzzle or, heaven forfend, no clues. Happy Christmas one and all.

  19. Tricky in places, a few unconvincing clues/answers, some superb surfaces and laugh out loud moments, and an admirable scarcity of anagrams. Very enjoyable.

    Podium places to that wonderful old chestnut 17d, the crystal ball surface accuracy of 15d (some very distraught ManUtd fans this pm…) and very clever 14a.

    2.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to the setter, and of course also to Sue, with much appreciation for all your blogging throughout the year – Merry Christmas!

  20. An absolute belter for me, this puzzle, full of lovely things. I shall have to concur with others as to the brilliance of 17D, but — once again — there were many to choose from.

    Many thanks to Ron and to Sue. a VMC and a VHNY to everyone here, you’re such a great bunch of people.

  21. Success. This is what I was trying to show you yesterday – – the start of my Christmas tree collection, I now have several more and oh, how I am tempted to wear them all at once!

        1. You start with A from the clue. Then follow with a reversal (set up) of a verb meaning to jail or keep in custody into which is inserted the abbreviation for male

  22. I needed your hints today Sue. Thankyou.
    Some clues were easy, not that many though. 1d and 25a were 2 that posed no problems but 20d proved very tricky. I’ve just watched another United defeat, it’s very hard to remain a fan!
    Happy Christmas to everyone.

  23. Needed a couple of the hints to get me over the line today but boy, that was tough. Took me ages to get 20d not helped by the wrong ending to 28a. Liked the misdirection in 15d. Thanks to the compiler and CS.

  24. I needed copious ehelp, but lots of smilers along the way. I thought Saturdays were to encourage beginners? Any beginner would throw in the sponge and give crosswords up for good. I thought 17d top of the heap, but 1d, 3d and 15d need an honourable mention, as could others. I wonder who set this?
    Thank you setter, and much appreciation to Sue for her help, today and in the past. Have a very Merry Christmas.

  25. A comfortable solve which took a bit longer than it took me to consume my coffee and a slice of birthday cake earlier this afternoon ( no, it isn’t my birthday today, but I’d frozen half the one I had for my 80th way back in July and had defrosted earlier this week, as I needed the space in our freezer – cake does freeze well, I must add ) I made 28a my favourite today, partly as it had me barking up the wrong tree at first and partly, once the penny dropped it reminded me of a railway station in East Yorkshire. 11a also appealed as did 20d, which made me chuckle. All good fun – so thanks to the setter and to CS.

  26. A tricky puzzle for me today..needed a few of crypticsue’s excellent hints, but got there in the end.
    Favourite has to be the Parisian rear.

    Thanks to the evil genius who set this and to crypticsue.

    Pouring rain here ..and jolly cold.

    A very Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes for a prosperous and healthy New Year.

  27. Top third went in quickly. The rest has so far been beyond my feeble brain.

    May have another look later over a glass of vino collapso.

    1. Taking a break seemed to work. Got a couple of clues at the bottom and the rest fell in to place. 20d was my LOI.

      Had a wry smile when I got 15d.

      A very clever and enjoyable work out!

      Thanks to all.

  28. Another one that was too clever for me, due to my lack of knowledge, thankfully I can come here to get help from the hints. I will join others in having 17d as my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to CS for your tireless work to help us all with your excellent hints. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  29. 12a reminded me of a dreadful old joke about the guy doing a crossword and asking for help;
    Q. Old MacDonald had one, what’s the answer?
    A. It’s ****
    Q. How do you spell that?
    A. E I E I O

  30. Merry Christmas and thanks as ever to everyone here. Like others I found the top hapf of this puzzle easyish but the bottom half much more of a challenge. We have snow on the ground here though this morning it was freezing rain and very slick underfoot/wheels.

  31. An update on Mrs. C. She is still in hospital. She rang me a few minutes ago to let me know they have found a growth on her liver. I know no more than that. I did say I would go in this evening but she said no as there was nothing I could do. I will visit her tomorrow morning as soon as I can and see if I can find out details.

    1. Just rung the hospital. It’s not a growth but an infection of the liver. I’m speaking to the ward sister tomorrow.

      Thank you for your good wishes. They mean a lot.

      1. Oh, Steve, better but still not good! Lots of love, be sure to tell her how much we’re all thinking of her and wishing a speedy recovery.

    2. Oh poor lady, I was so hoping that you’d have her home again in time for Christmas. You must be terribly worried, please drive carefully in the morning and do let us know if you manage to find out any information.

  32. That must be a relief for MrsC and also yourself. I hope the infection will be successfully treated and MrsC is soon back home. Best wishes to you both for Christmas and indeed the New Year.

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