DT 30501 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30501

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,501
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

The Christmas lights and decorations are all down and safely stored away until next year and life is returning to normal in Shabbo Towers.

It’s Thursday and no prizes for guessing the compiler, who has left his usual calling card in 13a. Three of the four long clues are anagrams, which should give a nice foothold into the puzzle. One or two clues required a bit of extra thought, but nothing to frighten the horses if one follows the wordplay carefully. I am not convinced about the Quickie Pun – what do you think?

In the blog below, the definition element of each clue has been underlined and anagrams are CAPITALISED. The answers are concealed under the “Click Here” buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.


1a Pass cost United a thrashing (11)
OUTDISTANCE: anagram (thrashing) of COST UNITED A.

10a Nearly time for evening (5)
NIGHT: four-letter synonym of nearly + abbreviation for time.

11a A party, lot making love (9)
ADORATION: A + two-letter synonym of party + synonym of lot (as in that’s your lot?)

12a Travelling theatre is most vulgar (9)
EARTHIEST: anagram (travelling) of THEATRE IS.

13a Exclude nothing embracing sweetheart for party (5)
BEANO: synonym of exclude + the letter signifying nothing or zero outside (embracing) the heart of swEet.

14a Rate head of state after goofs (6)
ASSESS: first letter (head) of state follows (after) synonym of goofs.

16a Heroic nobleman imprisoned in iron ship (8)
FEARLESS: four letter title of a nobleman inside (imprisoned in) chemical symbol for iron + abbreviation for steamship.

18a Declaration of marriage following admirer (8)
IDOLATER: the two short words confirming one’s willingness to be married + synonym of following.

20a Located around nightclub’s centre getting thwarted (6)
SPITED: synonym of located (as in spotted) outside (around) the middle letter (centre) of nighTclub. Hands up if you thought located was going to be “sited”!

23a Principal character from Aesop? (5)
ALPHA: no need to trawl through a load of fables here – this is a cryptic definition clue. All we need is the first letter (principal character) of the phonetic (or Greek) alphabet.

24a Butchers laugh terribly about butchery (9)
SLAUGHTER: a hidden word clue indicated by “about” (?). The answer is hiding in plain sight within the first three words of the clue.

26a New lord and almost turned squire (9)
LANDOWNER: anagram (turned) of NEW LORD AN(d).

27a Alter, doing another possible tinkering initially (5)
ADAPT: initial letters of the first five words of the clue.

28a Flooding a lot? Wear these! (11)
WELLINGTONS: synonyms of “flooding” + “a lot”.


2d One incites outrage occasionally covering Queen (5)
URGER: even letters (occasionally) of oUtRaGe on top of (covering – this is a down clue) + the regnal abbreviation for our beloved late Queen.

3d Abandons Democrat over irritations (7)
DITCHES: abbreviation for Democrat on top of (over – this is also a down clue!) a synonym of irritations.

4d Young man and mum swear (6)
SHAVER: word signifying “be quiet” (mum) + synonym of swear = a rather dated term for a young man.

5d Supporters support drowning in drinks (8)
APOSTLES: synonym of support (think fences) inside (drowning in) synonym of drinks (think beers).

6d Yellowish light underneath church hall (7)
CHAMBER: the middle light on a set of traffic lights underneath (another down clue!) abbreviation for church.

7d Tireless debating if ale is drunk (13)
INDEFATIGABLE: anagram (is drunk) of DEBATING IF ALE.

8d Wound dressing around injured fibrous tissue (8)
LIGAMENT: a synonym for a type of cloth used for dressing wounds outside (around) a synonym for injured. The resulting fibrous tissue holds things together in one’s body.

9d Selfish fan reined in a cost (13)

15d Possibly purchases gifts, finally limping (8)
SHOPPING: last letter (finally) of giftS + synonym for limping (on one leg). The definition looks like it should be a verb, but it is a noun.

17d Coppers on alert arresting individual (8)
PERSONAL: another hidden word clue (arresting). The answer is lurking within the first three words of the clue.

19d Shellfish from sailor with a sole (7)
ABALONE: two-letter abbreviation for sailor + A + synonym of sole.

21d Show decline in gasp for breath (7)
PAGEANT: synonym of “decline” (as in grow old) inside (in) synonym of “gasp for breath”. The definition is a noun masquerading as a verb.

22d Empty pub about now’s opening (6)
BARREN: synonym of pub + abbreviation signifying about + first letter (opening) of Now.

25d Fellow absorbing adult writer (5)
TWAIN: synonym for fellow (as in associate?) outside (absorbing) abbreviation for adult.



100 comments on “DT 30501
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  1. Certainly need 28a here north of Aberdeen today.

    Favourites in this tricky puzzle for me were 28a, 15d and my COTD, 10a.

    Thanks to the setter and Shabbo.

  2. RayT in fine form.

    So little to work with which can be a good or a bad thing.

    My LOI was 20a as I couldn’t get ‘sitted’ out of my brain. It’s probably a word that is used by people who say ‘I was sat’.

    My podium is the splendid 1a, 7d and 17d.

    Many thanks to RT and Shabbo.


  3. On the easier side of Ray T today with lots of lovely anagrams to help.
    My only gripe is the synonym for fellow in 25d, very tenuous I thought.
    Thx to all

        1. ah, I didn’t know that definition, although gammy did come to mind. I wonder what the derivation of this usage is, time for a bit research methinks…

          1. I’ve just had a look as I didn’t know and it looks like it derives from the old French for leg, gambe (now jambe), i.e a gammy one.

  4. Tougher than a normal Ray T (the sweetheart and the Queen presumably give away the setter’s identity?). Surprised Brian found it easier than usual! Needed some help from the blog with the final two or three stubborn clues. Definitely a two-porridge offering. Thanks to setter and to Shabbo for the hints.

  5. Definitely a game of two halves for me today. I rattled through the top half in no time and then paused to clean teeth and take my morning shower. Returning to the puzzle over breakfast I found this a whole different kettle of fish – probably not helped by my inability to spot the two interlocking lurkers in 17D and 24A, not usually one of my blind spots.
    I did like the use of fan as an anagram indicator in 9D but I somehow totally failed to understand why my answer in 23A was correct until I read Shabbo’s hints (I was too focused on dredging the murky depths of my memory for Aesop’s characters).
    on my list today were 1A, 12A and 16A, but it was 4D that made me laugh.
    Thanks to Ray T and to Shabbo.

  6. A good cranial workout from the master of brevity probably at the more challenging end of his difficulty spectrum – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 18a, 3d, 5d, and 19d – and the winner is 19d.

    Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  7. Very fair score at 3 and 3. Fairly difficult but oddly unsatisfying?
    Some luck with picking off the long anagrams and thus many checkers.
    No favourites.
    Thanks to compiler.

  8. 2*/4*. Very enjoyable. It was all good but no one clue was better than the rest so no podium for me today.

    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo.

  9. Nice puzzle! Great lurker at 17d, which I didn’t spot, but what else could it be….? I can’t fathom the synonym at 8d – can someone please explain?! Again, it had to be the answer, so I just bunged it in.

  10. Never a sub-standard puzzle from this setter, just degrees of excellence. This one was right up there with the best, I thought, with the usual humour and concise clues that we come to expect. The lurker at 17d was very neat, but my favourite was the excellent 1a.

    Many thanks to Mr T and Shabbo.

  11. You can tell when a puzzle is harder than usual by the general lack of comments, and especially from those that found it rather difficult!

    1. Hi Johnny Hotten (love it).

      I think solvers are more than happy to say if they found a puzzle hard; I certainly am. So, I don’t think a lack of comments reflects that.

      No one has given it a 4* for difficulty so far and RayT’s are not often 2* and rarely 1* which is right for a Thursday. So, I don’t think people have found it harder than his usual ones.

      This, of course, may change throughout the day.

      Let’s see…

  12. Another masterclass in brevity. Yes, there were some rather mean synonyms but, as ever, they were pretty much covered by Chambers. I had more of an issue with limping, to be honest. But it all flowed very nicely. 23a was quirky and 28a, lovely. Many thanks to the 7d RayT, and Shabbo, of course.

  13. Another top notch puzzle from the master of brevity. As others have commented, the synonym at 8d had me reaching for the BRB where it is certainly to be found, but with little in the way of explanation. Looking forward to the results of phanciful’s research! Favourite today was 23a. I didn’t get led down the hare and tortoise path but it did take longer than it should for the Grecian penny to drop. Podium places for 5d, where I was stuck with ‘adopters’ before the final checker proved me wrong, and 4d which was cleverly misleading. I’m not sure about the quickie pun. In fact I found the quickie quite difficult today altogether. Thanks to Ray T for the enjoyment and Shabbo for his explanations.

    1. TomDisappointingSturgess65 (and yes I am intrigued to know how your moniker came about too) pretty much nailed the derivation in his comment in 3 above, though I also note from my electronic sources that it first seen in 1787 in North Midlands dialect.
      And this ladies and gentlemen must truly be the very epitome of useless information..!

      1. Hi Phancy

        TomSturges65 is a nod to my favourite golfer Tom Sturges Watson who shot a 65 to beat Jack in the epic ‘Duel in the Sun’ at Turnberry in ’77.

        65 was also the year of my birth.

        A few months ago, I said that RayT never fails to disappoint when I meant ‘never disappoints’.


        1. And he gets to have the longest monicker of all. Oops no, we have Carolyninthegeodesic home etc. Forget I said anything.

        2. I’m just having lunch with my best buddy who was there in a reserved seat by the 18th when it reached its epic conclusion

          1. Oh, how jealous am I????

            Jack’s outrageous putt to get up and down from the gorse was incredible. Tom’s gimme must have looked like 10 feet to him.

            How wonderful to have been there.

            I assume he slapped the lotion on as it was a scorcher!

            1. He said that Jack’s sportsmanship in defeat was unmatched & then I reminded him of Tom’s class on the same green 32years later when that par put slipped by. An all round class act.

              1. Absolutely.

                When Tom’s approach was in the air in 2009, he thought it was perfect but it took a huge bounce, ending up on the fringe at the back. His par putt was so bad, going by the cup on the low side. He didn’t give it a chance. Jack called him afterwards, saying in his squeaky voice…’What on earth was that???’

                Being two months short of his 60th birthday, it would, arguably, have been the greatest sporting achievement of all time.


      2. Useless it may be but I find this sort of thing fascinating. I’ve been interested in the origin of words for as long as I can remember. Thanks to yourself and Tom for undertaking the investigation!

  14. Enjoyable puzzle of average breakfast difficulty spoiled by having to go to the ‘new’ site, the old being down, and finding the print offering v ugly or not as nice as the ‘old’ one. Likewise had trouble with 8 and 25d, as have had others, but otherwise most enjoyable with 28a and 15d as joint winners.
    Many thanks to RayT and to Shabbo the blog and for researching 8d!

    1. I know what you mean about the new site. I fedback some comments to the devs a month or so ago and they suggested I download the app which I did and use it on my iPad. It’s much better than the web version , so I’ve finally made the switch.

      1. I much prefer doing the proper puzzles on paper, which gives me somewhere to write on for anagrams and ideas. I do do the quickie on line though. (My phone is fairly dim, but just managed that!)

  15. Yes the master of brevity triumphs again and leaves me with half a crossword to look at the blog from the excellent Shabbo. Unlike the reason John Hotten gives above I am content to submit when use of vocabulary by Ray T outmanoeuvres my brain and come here for help.

    I enjoyed the anagrams at 1a and 7 and 9d but thought waders would be more use if it was flooding a lot. Thwarted by giving help to deep cleaning our bedroom.

    Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo

  16. A veritable feast as always from this succinct setter and I struggled to limit the podium places. Eventually settled for 1&28a plus 3,4&7d which is still something of a crowd. Tooth-sucking Quickie pun!

    Devotions as ever to Mr T and many thanks to Shabbo for the review.

  17. I loved it and think it is my first unaided Ray T solve. This brings me to four unaided in a row – a personal best. Tomorrow, being Friday, will no doubt end the run.

    4d and 5d were my last in and didn’t go in until about two hours after the rest of the grid had been filled. The little grey cells kept working on them and they eventually yielded. It also took me an inordinate length of time to solve the anagram at 1a but the one at 9d went in straight away. Sometimes, I “see” anagram answers and sometimes they remain a mystery. My COTD is the embracing sweetheart at 13a.

    Thank you, Ray T for a most enjoyable challenge. Thank you, Shabbo for the hints

    There has been some sunshine in The Marches today and the wind has died down but 28a are still needed.

  18. Thoroughly doable
    And enjoyable.
    Perhaps rather mild in
    Difficulty for RayT.
    13a and 4d vie for
    COTD in a strong field.
    The winner 4d.
    Many thanks to RayT and Shabbo.

  19. Very good puzzle from the maestro, as ever. All very straightforward until with a half-dozen to go it wasn’t – returning some time later I was soon left with one final brain mangler, completion of which nearly pushed me to 3* time. COTD for me 18a.

    2.5* / 3*

    Many thank to MrT and to Shabbo

  20. The quickie pun seems perfectly cromulent to me — written down it didn’t look like anything, but as soon as I said it out loud, it instantly sounded like the famous name.

    In fact, the fact that it’s both so well hidden and also so clear and unambiguous makes me rate it as one of the best quickie puns we’ve had — thank you, Ray T for that. I’m now struggling to understand what anybody finds hmmmish about it …

    1. Cromulent? I’d never heard of that word, Smylers, and it’s not in the BRB. However, Collins says it was submitted to them in 2021 as a word meaning “adequate” and they are monitoring for evidence of its usage. Presumably that evidence is still not forthcoming as the word has not yet formally made it into the dictionary proper.

      1. It’s in The OED (I checked the spelling before using it) as “Acceptable, adequate, satisfactory”. It’s from a 1996 episode of The Simpsons, in which the town’s motto is mentioned as being “A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.” One of the teachers comments that they hadn’t encountered the term “embiggen” till moving there, to which another responds: “I don’t know why; it’s a perfectly cromulent word.”

        Both words were confected for the episode, so it’s a relatively rare situation where we know the precise first usage of a word.

        1. I love it. How wonderful is language.
          I’m not so sure about cromulent but embiggen sounds perfectly

          1. I’m loving this conversation after the one at 17 above. Words and their origins are indeed lovely. I’ve just learnt three new ones here today. Thanks.

  21. I always like a RayT puzzle even if they leave me struggling at times. 8d was the last one in for me as I was convinced it was filament but also knew it wasn’t – I got fixated on it having lame in the middle. Got there eventually though.
    I liked 24a and the quickie pun.
    Thanks go to RayT and Shabbo.

  22. Today is the day for our fortnightly RayT puzzle that this week was very approachable, and pleasingly, very much at the easier end of his spectrum. I found this almost a R&W. Once the four perimeter answers were in, I had lots of foothold to build on. Average of 5.3 words per clue today.

    1.5*/5* for me

    Favourites included 12a, 18a, 24a, 28a, 3d & 6d — with winner 18a

    Thanks to RayT & Shabbo for the hints/blog

  23. Most enjoyable. I wrestled with 1a despite my love of anagrams, I was not thinking of the right sort of pass. 25d was last one in and like someone else I struggled with twin as fellow. 13a was favourite I think. The Rodent doctor came this morning – charming man, very interesting character. Went all round the outside of the house, took the skirting boards off the cabinets, pulled out the huge fridge easily
    and declared I did not have a rat problem. He has put some digestive biscuit bait down (calling me a Puritan as I didn’t have anything more exotic) and I have to look in 7 days time and ring him if it has been taken. He said he didn’t want any money but I gave him £20, George thinks I should have given him more? I never know about these things, he should have been here instead of swanning off to Music Group and leaving me to deal with it. Anyway, a relief that I am not rat infested. Many thanks to RayT (I resisted the temptation to say Ratty) and to Shabbo. I bet some of you wish this dotty old woman would stop rabbiting on about the minutiae of her boring life. 🫢 I have to talk to someone.

    1. A few years ago David sat on a rat in our living room! I was so horrified I kept the door shut until the rat man arrived and shot it. It had come up a vent under our wood burner, since secured. My neighbour and I saw a huge rat last summer and got another rat man in who laid traps – ugh, I find them disgusting. We had to pay well over £100 for the 3 visits.

  24. An excellent Thursday puzzle from Ray T. As usual in his puzzles, I found elements challenging, but when the penny finally dropped, I was left wondering why I made such a difficulty of it. I managed to complete it without resort to the hints (so that’s good for me) albeit it took two returns to the grid before the final clues the SE capitulated. Too many good clues to pick a winner. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo.

  25. I found this one to be very difficult. I could not have completed it without BD help.

    I wasn’t very happy with 4d – a bit too archaic I feel.

    I have just started these puzzles. Monday I managed to complete it without any help. Tuesday and Wednesday I was only able to complete with, albeit a little, help from BD. Today, however, I needed a lot of help.

    Let’s see what Friday brings.

    1. That’s Ray T for you, 3B. He was a total enigma for me when I first came across him but you eventually get into his ways.

  26. Another excellent puzzle from Ray T. Great clues, a decent challenge and very enjoyable to solve. Out of a fine group I’ll pick 17d as my favourite. 3*/4*.

  27. On the late side this morning, well worth the solve,thanks Ray.T
    Favourite was 28a which took a while to parse,as did the last in 17d, no wonder the clues did not quite make sense.
    Anyway a spot on puzzle ,special mention for 18a.
    Going for a ***/****

  28. I struggled with the SE, but am amazed that I did complete this with only ehelp. I liked a lot, 5d so clever, but the rather dated 13a is fave. I think that’s the sort of word Arthur Askey might have used, I don’t suppose anyone remembers him!
    Thank you breviloquent RayT for the fun, and Shabbo for his unravelling!

  29. Late on parade after a soggy Dartmoor run.
    Crumpets and a RayT top notch puzzle eased my recovery. Too many COTD’s today but all have been mentioned by others. Being anagram man I thought not too bad and a tad under *** but **** for quality. Thanks Shabbo and the Boss.

  30. I only managed a couple on the first read through but slowly, slowly catchy monkey it all fell into place. No particular favourites as they were all good. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo. Went to fetch my doctor’s letter telling me to cancel holiday on 7 December – cost me £24 for a signature, still hopefully will get my money back now.

      1. That’s nothing. I was charged £50 for a letter saying I didn’t have any mental health issues for my shotgun certificate renewal which was £1 more than the renewal fee.

    1. Would you expect your lawyer to work for free and sign a form for nothing? You are paying now just for the doctor’s time (this is not an NHS service) but for the fact that any affirmation like that may have future consequences for the signer – having to justify the probity and veracity of the statement.
      It’s like any private work in General Practice. You ask for a service, a price is quoted and you can accept or not.
      (DOI – retired GP)

  31. What an enjoyable puzzle! A perfect accompaniment to my lunch.
    I have ticks all over my page, including 13a, 18a, 20a, 23a, 28a, 4d, 5d and 25d. My hand is up re 20a, Shabbo! Clever clue!4
    Much appreciation to RayT for 4* entertainment. Much appreciation to Shabbo for the review which I enjoyed but didn’t need on this occasion.

  32. I enjoyed this puzzle – reasonably challenging with a few head scratchers. Needed hints for 8D and 20A . My favourite was 4D . I am interested that a lot of people spot it was Ray T. Now I’m blogging , the next stage for me is to spot the setters, so I’ll note down the clues that’s it’s him. I’m guessing he tends to appear on a Thursday ? Thanks RayT for the fun and Shabbo for the hints.

    1. HI JM

      His gems are always ion a Thursday, more often than not, every other one.

      I think the following are correct:

      He has no multi-word answers
      The word ‘sweetheart’ for the letter e will appear in a clue as it’s at the ‘heart’ of the word ‘swEet’
      He always gives a nod to Queen Lilibet (ER)
      His clues are usually no more than six or seven words
      There is always an acrostic, i.e the initial letters of some words like 27a today
      There’s always a lurker or rekrul (a reverse lurker)

      There maybe some other giveaways but they are the ones that come to mind.

        1. And he only ever uses single word clues in the quickie. And it wasn’t that quick for us today but still good fun and the pun was brilliant!

    2. Another clue to a setter for you, JM is Campbell who usually sets the Monday cryptic. He always has a top and bottom pun in the Quickie. Sometimes, there is a pun on the middle row as well.

  33. Like Daisy I struggled with last in 1a despite correctly pegging the likely final 6 letters of the fodder significantly extending the solve beyond 2.5* time. Can’t say I bothered to research the game synonym (assumed gammy must have had something to do with it) but otherwise problem free. Top 3 for me in no particular order: 16&24d plus 17d.
    Many thanks to Ray T for yet another very enjoyable guzzle & to Shabbo for another polished review.

  34. Harder than the Toughie, but also a puzzle of quality.

    I wonder whether Antony Sher might have been deployed for SURE in the pun: maybe. He was a very fine actor for… sure.

    Thanks Ray and Shabbo

  35. That was definitely more challenging than rest of the week so far but I have enjoyed dipping in and out of it for most of the day. SW slowest section. Could only think of 9 letter solution for 4d rather than the razor and tried to justify a word with one different letter for 8d. 9d indicator somewhat stretched. Agree with Shabbo re verb/noun confusion in 15d. Altogether I did enjoy the ride. Thank you RayT and Shabbo

  36. Good evening

    I’m pleased with myself! Why is that, I hear you cry – well, my last three cruciverbal tussles with The Mighty Mr T have ended in defeat, but today, I got ’em all. Not without some serious head scratching though. I had to look up 19d; and the SW quadrant in general proved trickier than the others, with 26a being the last to fall.

    Some serious stretched synonyms today. Amongst many strong contenders, it’s 1a which takes COTD.

    Many thanks to Mr T and to Shabbo.

    1. Congrats, SJ. It is, indeed, an achievement completing a RayT teaser.

      It’s almost worth getting drunk as it feels that good.

  37. I got there in the end, I never find Ray T easy and today was no different. I did need the hints to explain a couple of my answers. As ever this was a lesson in managing to confuse despite only having a few words. I even nearly missed the well disguised lurkers. 20a took ages as I could not get sited out of my head. My favourite was 26a.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to Shabbo for the essential explanations.

  38. Disappointed with myself for needed hints for 3 clues. I should have finished this.

    Nevertheless, an enjoyable challenge.

    Thanks to all.

  39. The blog gives the answer to 7d as “INDEFAGITABLE”. This is a lovely word which conjures up all sorts of interesting ideas. However, I think that it should be “INDEFATIGABLE”. Perhaps a Shabbo/Typo?

    1. My guess is that it was deliberate & there’s a star prize for the first person who spotted it – a guided tour of Welwyn Garden City with a banquet at Shabbo Towers maybe….

      1. Well spotted! There was me thinking that I had managed an entire post without a single typo! Oh well. There’s always next week.
        Now changed.
        Grammarian – please let me know when you would like your guided tour of the delights of Welwyn Garden City and banquet at Shabbo Towers. Given your pseudonym, I would have been very disappointed if you had not spotted my deliberate error!

        1. Thanks Shabbo I am very happy to acknowledge the leg-pull and (hopefully) to have provided a bit of fun for people. I will be in touch the next time I find myself in Welwyn Garden City.

  40. It’s a shame we will have to wait two weeks for the next Ray T delight! A very fine puzzle indeed, many good clues but 18a made me chuckle. Thanks to Ray T and Shabbo

  41. I struggled in the SE but when I eventually spotted the two lurkers I could have kicked myself. It all ended quickly after that. I make no secret that Rayt is my favourite setter and today’s offering is a perfect example of why. Favourite is either of the two lurkers in the SE. Flat of hand on the forehead again. Thanks to Rayt and Shabbo.

  42. Tough for me, especially the top half, but I always struggle a bit with Ray T productions….like others I found game and twin a bit of a stretch…..

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