DT 30499 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30499

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,499
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Filthy weather here in Harpenden but it makes precious little difference to me as I’m still laid up with the lurgy so it’ll be a 4th day running of guzzles & TV.

Today’s AP production is a repeat of the grid he used for my final blog of last year. I thought it well clued & pretty straightforward & with some nice touches of humour but wouldn’t put it up there with his best.

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 A second amount of money editor accepted  (7)
ASSUMED: A from the clue + the single letter for Second + a word for an amount of money + the usual abbreviation for the newspaper boss.

5a Shy small bird ignoring last shellfish (7)
LOBSTER: a synonym for shy or throw + the single letter for Small + a seabird less its last letter.

9a Check around river for homeless animal  (5)
STRAY: insert the single letter for River into a synonym for check in the sense of prevent or obstruct.

10a What happens on some autumnal trees  without large earwig (9)
EAVESDROP: remove the single letter for Large from what happens to deciduous trees in autumn. Nowt to do with the critter pictured below though

11a Mariners might leave this tense after fighting snake (6,4)
ROWING BOAT: a synonym for fighting or arguing + a constrictor snake + the single letter for Tense.

12a Trouble returning with Republican fabulist  (4)
LIAR: reverse (returning) a synonym for trouble as a verb then append the single letter for Republican. Here’s a pic of a young Sir Tom Courtenay in 1963 as Billy.

14a Fashion article – group cut it (4,3,5)

MAKE THE GRADE: a synonym for fashion or build + an article/determiner + another word for group or categorise. Definition is in the context of to pass muster.

18a Turkey perhaps following mongrel – run! (5,7)
CROSS COUNTRY: a word for mongrel or hybrid + (following) what Turkey is.

21a One cleans fish (4)
CHAR: double definition.

22a Insult cousin’s new rabbit (10)
DISCUSSION: an abbreviation of disrespect used as informal synonym for insult or criticise + an anagram (new) of COUSIN’S. The definition context is chat or debate.

25a Being sixteen, converted by church (9)
EXISTENCE: an anagram (converted) of SIXTEEN + two letters for church.

26a Country bumpkin dialect’s grasped (5)
INDIA: a lurker (grasped)

27a Remain agitated with large copper  (7)

MINERAL: an anagram (agitated) of REMAIN + the single letter for Large.

28a Ship’s crew in sea cut and run (7)
STEAMER: insert a word for crew into SEa (cut) + the letter for Run (cricket).


1d Sailor almost certain daughter’s bonkers (6)
ABSURD: a merchant seaman + a truncated (almost) synonym for certain + the single letter for Daughter.

2d Sharp-witted little mammal departs (6)
SHREWD: a small insectivorous mammal + the single letter for Departs.

3d Mixed my one Asian sauce (10)
MAYONNAISE: an anagram (mixed) of MY ONE ASIAN.

4d You and I tucked in debutante’s American anorak (5)
DWEEB: insert the pronoun for you and I into an abbreviation for debutante. Nowt to do with an article of clothing.

5d Valiant he wrestles sea-monster (9)
LEVIATHAN: an anagram (wrestles) of VALIANT HE.

6d Lick cream (4)
BEST: double definition: the first as in beat the latter elite.

7d Final spell in a lake (8)
TERMINAL : a synonym for spell + IN &A (both in the wordplay) + the single letter for Lake.

8d Telegraph writer maybe regularly rues beer (8)
REPORTER: the alternate letters of RuEs + a dark beer.

13d Belligerent cook varies eggs (10)
AGGRESSIVE : an anagram (cook) of VARIES EGGS.

15d Elgar’s first movement and a student’s sentimental (9)
EMOTIONAL: the initial (first) letter of Elgar + a synonym for movement + A from the clue + the usual letter for student.

16d Perhaps 99 rodents, not first choice (3,5)

ICE CREAM : delete the first letter (not first) from some rodents + a synonym of choice or finest.

17d People supporting party gift (8)
DONATION: a word for a party or get together followed by (supporting in a down clue) people in the context of from a country.

19d Insight from wife is initially devoid of meaning (6)
WISDOM: the single letter for Wife + IS & the first letter (initially) from the last three words of the clue.

20d United Nations on average is prejudiced (6)
UNFAIR: the United Nations initials + a synonym for average or middling.

23d Revolutionary’s capturing female cooks (5)
CHEFS: insert the single letter for Female between crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary & the possessive S.

24d Raise hell to find celebrity (4)

STAR: reverse (raise) a synonym for hell in the sense of an exclamation of anger or disappointment. My inner mutterings when I dunk my ball into places on the course where it ought not to be hit tend to be a tad more profane.

18a was my clear fav for the surface. It also reminded me of the film Sideways (a must see for any that haven’t) where Thomas Hayden Church crosses a turkey farm naked. 10&22a + 16d  were other particular likes. Which ones did you like?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: GIN + JAB + HEARS = GINGER BEERS


68 comments on “DT 30499
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  1. Off like a longdog on this one, only to become slower and slower as I reached the SE
    corner where the last three took almost as long as the rest put together.
    Having said that, this was one of the best puzzles for ages, thoroughly entertaining
    from start to finish with many great clues. Always loath to cite more than two favourites as people tend to ignore a long list, but today I must break the rule and name 5a, 10a, 22a, and the possible foxer of anyone not of these shores, 16d.
    Interested to see who set this beauty, well done.

  2. The SE was the slowest for me too. Was also delayed by misspelling 3d despite it being named after the island capital where we learned to sail.

    Favourites 10a and my COTD, 16d.

    Weather foul in NE Scotland as well. I suspect that it is like this over most of the UK?

    Thanks to the setter for this enjoyable puzzle and to Huntsman.

    1. Hi DP

      I remember its spelling by the two Irish connections: the county at the start followed by the repeated letter that sounds like Dublin (Double *).

          1. Glad you both like it.

            Whenever I hear this word, I always think of ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’.

            What a film….and what a song!

            Joe Cocker – such a cool singer with a very cool name.

  3. First pass left me worried but a second look started the ball rolling.
    Favourite 10a unless it’s an old chestnut?
    Just right difficulty for me this morning. Is the weather going to be so bad?
    Thanks to compiler.

    1. I enjoyed this too except 4d which, even though I got all the parsing, I wouldn’t have got in a million years. What a weird word! Probably liked 10a the best.

        1. The good thing about it is I can add it to the extremely short list of words beginning dw that I sometimes use as a quiz question.

        2. I agree, dreadful word! Just having the word “anorak” in the clue was a guarantee that I would hate it! How’s George?

  4. I, too, had 16d as my definite favourite from this largely straightforward romp through crosswordland, for which many thanks to Mr P and The Hintsman.

    Good luck to everyone further south of us as yet another low pressure area batters the country.

  5. Not overly challenging, as we tend to expect on a Tuesday, enjoyable and humorous as Huntsman says, but I agree it is not one of AP’s best. Some rum surface reads, one or two anagrams too many, and the briefest of pauses as I wondered firstly about old and new nomenclature in 18a, and secondly whether in this puritanical day and age many Telegraph writers consumer enough beer regularly to rue doing so! However some cracking clues, with the podium topped by 16d, the other steps going to 8d and 19d – very dangerous ground there, setter!

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to the setter and Huntsman

  6. Morning all, fairly straightforward for me today.
    I can’t decide if I like or loathe 4d but either way I’m surprised to find that it’s a real word.
    My likes were 10a,16a & 28a and my favourite was 16d (if only because I was happily misdirected down an IC / 99 rabbit hole before the penny dropped).
    Thanks to Huntsman and the setter.

  7. Campbell and Mr P are a great comby to start the week. Chris ‘Crossy’ Lancaster has chosen wisely.

    Anthony’s surfaces are always top notch which makes his crosswords a joy to solve. I didn’t know the alternative spelling of one s for the synonym of insult of 22a.

    My podium is 5a, 10a and 1d.

    Many thanks to AP and Hintsman.


  8. Thoroughly enjoyable and very Tuesdayish. I was fortunate to be on wavelength from the beginning, there were not too many anagrams and I liked the multi word answers, so a good morning for me. Favourite today was 10a, with podium places for 18a and 16d. Many thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman. I hope you feel a bit better very soon.

  9. Still on with this and it looks like the trickier bottom half is yet to come, Thanks to Setter and Huntsman, whose hints I will no doubt need.
    If you are still laid up can I recommend Chalicea’s EV 1623 – it is tricky and requires a big dive into the BRB and Mr Google but the earworms that may come are worth it

  10. Once again this plumbed the depths of my crosswording skills and found them quickly in the shallows so needing the help of Huntsman to whom I am most grateful.

    Very pleased that I solved 1and 11a together with 1 and 17d, as for the more tricky ones the hints were all that was needed. Looking at them made me realise lateral thinking was what I need but at 76 probably too late to make significant progress before darkness falls.

    My thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

  11. Fairly straightforward and enjoyable – thanks to the setter and Huntsman (hope you can shake the lurgy off soon).
    My ticks went to 10a, 14a and 16d (all with cleverly disguised definitions).

  12. Thanks Huntsman.
    If you like the film Sideways, then check out The Holdovers by the same director and also starring Paul Giamatti.

    1. It opens here Jan 19 & having read great reviews I’m really looking forward to it. Sideways is one of those films I never tire of rewatching & for me Alexander Payne has never come close to matching but I’ve high hopes for this one.

  13. A very enjoyable puzzle for me today.
    Struggled a bit with seeing the definitions of 14a and 16d but all became clear when I read the hints.

    Thanks to the setter and to Huntsman.

    After a night of rain (again) it is quite bright here at the moment….possibly not for long as there are clouds about, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

  14. I didn’t think I was going to make headway with today’s guzzle but it came together gradually to end up as a very satisfying solve. I didn’t understand the parsing of 28a (despite it staring me in the face) and needed the hints to prove I was correct. One heck of a “doh!’ moment followed. I loved the large earwig at 10a and the sea monster at 5d but my COTD is the the turkey chasing the mongrel 18a.

    Thank you to the setter for a most enjoyable challenge. Thank you, Hintsman for the hunts.

    The rain continues………

  15. Thought this was a very good offering from our regular Tuesday setter which looked a little alarming at first but yielded quite gently in the event. Tops for me were 10,18&22a with a nod to the 99 rodents.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Huntsman for the review – hope you’re soon rid of the lurgy.

  16. Very enjoyably Typically Tuesdayish, no doubts that it is an Anthony Plumb production – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 10, 18a, 7d, and 23d – and the winner is 23d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  17. A few stumbling blocks on what was **/** for me: I needed Huntsman to understand the answer to 16d which I then thought rather good. Other high spots included 10,14 and 16a. All clever. Thanks to H and the setter for our Tuesday production

  18. I enjoyed today’s puzzle and particularly liked 5a, 10a and 16d.
    4d is a word that I dislike and can’t imagine myself ever using – I’d probably use nerd instead.

  19. So new to blog yesterday with post NYE brain fog and have to comment today too as I achieved my fastest completion ever so feeling very pleased with myself. I was on the setters wavelength and all fell into place with no holdups. Very enjoyable too thanks. Maybe I’ll try the toughie to bring me back down to earth 🤔

  20. An enjoyable diversion from a miserable day. It was the NW that delayed completion, specifically 11a, though once that penny dropped the rest fell reasonably swiftly. Particularly liked 22a, 23d but my COTD is 16d. Thanks to AP and Huntsman

  21. This was light and fun. My rating is 1.5*/3.5* with 16d my favourite.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Hintsman.

  22. Can somebody please tell me why, in the electronic version of the cryptic (and maybe others), when I click on the first letter of a word it often highlights the intersecting word? For example, in today’s offering, when I click on the first letter of 9a it highlights 1d, so if I’m not paying attention (which I often am not, as I look at the keyboard when I type) I start entering letters in the wrong direction. I like to enter words starting with the first letter (I’m funny that way!) but this drives me nuts. And, it’s not consistent, which is even more annoying. This happens both on the PC and the iPad. Sorry for the rant, but it’s driving me crazy.

    1. After completing an answer, it also jumps back to a word already inserted while there are still more words to be put in.

      I used to be a computer programmer and we would have been crucified if we had come up with something as random and illogical as this.

  23. First up – all empathy with Andy On The First Tee as we had ‘flu right through Christmas. I’m nearly over it; H still has it in full swing; The Youngster was spared. It is a particularly dastardly variant of ‘flu that leaves yer throat/glands swollen like footballs and swallowing is like downing shards of glass down yer gob. I believe that is the correct medical terminology.

    Jolly crossword – worked for me as one would hope – the gimme clues bringing enough checking letters to enable the realisation, like Moses and his tablets, of the solutions to the tougher clues. Always seemed odd to me that such important messages were inscribed on tablets (paracetamol?). Awkward to write on, I imagine.

    Thanks to the setter and Hintsman.

    1. Sorry to hear about the flu Terence. I had that one Christmas and I just had to sit in the kitchen and give Peter directions on how and what to cook. Suffering from a raging throat myself the last few days, but hoping it is just a cold, as I have had flu and pneumonia shots.

  24. Lots to like. I’m voting for 14&18a as joint faves.
    Seem to have had 4d a couple of days ago, though I assume not here.
    Fell into the IC trap in 16d, but needed the checkers to get the answer and finally working out the stunted rodents. Have never heard of the 99 in question despite having spent 4 years up at uni next to where it was apparently invented. Probably more interested in McEwan’s amber nectar than the chilly stuff!I
    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  25. Have checked the comments and no-one else seems to have been foxed by 11 across, so could one of you kind souls help please?
    Why might a mariner leave the 6/4 answer?

    1. I too was surprised by the choice of verbs, Livvete.

      I suppose they do leave it when they are finished for the day.

    2. I’d like to think that they’ve alighted after wending their way merrily down the stream to partake of a few ales in a riverside hostelry.

    3. I thought maybe it was the fact that seamen use rowing boats to get to their ‘large boat’ in the harbour and leave the rowing boat moored there ready for their return from sea.

  26. Apart from the awful 4d which I refuse to find space for in my overcrowded tired old brain, I enjoyed this. 16d and 10a, both employing the same trick of removing the first letter, made me smile and 25a had me trying to convert 16d. I just fancy a nice 5a. I’m sorry so many seem to be unwell at the moment, I hope people perk up pretty promptly. . Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Hintsman.

  27. A very pleasant and enjoyable solve with this Tuesday puzzle. First read through I got three only, then with the crosscheck letters it fell into place. Some good clues causing smiles and a couple of PDM’s too!

    1*/4* for me

    Favourites included 10a, 11a, 18a, 25a, 1d & 16d — with winner 16d that also made me smile when the penny, thudded to the ground!
    Other smilers include 10a, 11a & 12a … how appropriate these days.

    Thanks to setter (AP?) & Huntsman for hints/blog

  28. Good fun with lots to like as already mentioned by others. My favourite was 10a with 16d close second, I love those types of clues, such a feeling of satisfaction when you finally see the answer.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Huntsman for battling through the lurgy to provide the explanations. I hope you feel better soon.

  29. Started well enough in the NW sector, even remembered the horrid 4d for the anorak.
    Enjoyable and nicely clued.
    Favourite was 10a.
    Thanks to Huntsmans 12a pic of Billy, also strelnikov in Dr givago-excuse the spellings!
    Going for a ***/***

  30. What a lovely puzzle to start 2024 😃 ***/**** My Favourites: 10a, 2d & 16d 👍 I know I am a day late after two horrendous train journeys over the Christmas Holiday 😳 but dare I wish everyone a Peaceful New Year. Big thank you to the Huntsman hoping you are soon lurgy free and teeing it up on the first and to Mr AP for a most enjoyable crossword 🤗

  31. At first I couldn’t get on wavelength, but when I did I thought this was very enjoyable. The NE held me up, I had to go in for a hint of 10a to try getting going again, but even with that I still had nothing in that corner. My epiphany came with 5a and I was off and running again. I’ve already made my thoughts known about 4d, the “anorak” was worse than the answer. Lots of good stuff here, I think fave is 14a, with 18a runner up, and the Republican fabulist warmed my heart at 12a.
    Thank you setter for the fun, and Huntsman for his hints, get well soon.

  32. Started off slowly and finished in a rush. Good crossword without being outstanding but maybe I’m being a bit picky. COTD 10a by a country mile, well it made me laugh. Thanks to the setter and Hints man.

  33. 2024 continues with another reasonable and enjoyable puzzle which for me got off to good start in North. Needed help with 4d rankler. 11a somewhat far-fetched. Wonder how many non-Brits were familiar with 16d although I do gather most of them are made in Egypt. My Fav was 10a surface. Thank you AP and Huntsman (hope all will soon be well for you and you can begin a Happy New Year).

  34. Pleasurable solving,
    Virtually R and W.
    Only doubt, should we
    Have obscure Americanisms,
    eg 4d?
    Thanks setter and Huntsman

  35. Finished but it took a while, and I am going to use my head cold as an excuse. Just took a COVID test and thankfully negative. I had 4d at first pass, but thought surely that can’t be right…. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone actually use that word. And then to have the dreadful anorak in 4d. 10a COTD for me, a lovely cryptic clue. Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  36. Nothing cruciverbal but I know there are members on this blog who love reading. I just want to say whoever recommended Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel you have my thanks. I am loving it.

    1. Oh I do so agree. I read it a couple of years ago. Delicious. We used to live fairly close to Hampton Court and I drew on those memories as I read it.

    2. Thanks Steve, I will put it on my list. Like Daisy, I too lived near Hampton Court (during childhood) and it was a favourite Sunday outing for us with our parents, particularly the maze.

  37. On first read through got none of the across clues, and thought it would be a no-go today, but something clicked with the down clues and brain got in gear, finishing unaided in an average time for me. Top 3 16d, 10a and 18a with 10a the favourite. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman, and get well soon!

  38. An enjoyable crossword although I found the NW a bit of a tussle and the last to fall, especially with American anoraks.

    Get well soon Huntsman, both from the lurgy and your shoulder injury. Luckily my golf course was closed today being waterlogged in places, as at least 2 trees came down due to the gale blowing through the South East.

    Thanks to AP for the puzzle and Huntsman for the hints.

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