DT 30503 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

DT 30503 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30503 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The sun is shining and the wind is both strong and very cold but it doesn’t seem to bother the two ducks swimming around on our flooded lawn.  No need to worry as our garden slopes and the house is well away from the ‘lake’

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. Once again, if I haven’t hinted a clue you are stuck on, see if it is an anagram or possibly a lurker

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    Evil personality in London park (4)
The evil personality in a well-known Gothic novel or the name of a park in London

3a    Lawyer‘s writings edited as an alternative (10)
Some written matter, a synonym for edited and a conjunction used to link alternatives

13a    Tease US composer for organ case (7)
A slang verb meaning to tease or ridicule and the surname of an American composer

18a    Shooting star once seen across the pond? (5,6)
A cryptic definition of a famous American sharpshooter

21a    Slogan putting student in stew (3,4)
The ‘usual’ abbreviated student inserted into a type of North African stew

24a    Smell from chamberpot no good (4)
An informal name for a chamberpot and the abbreviation for no good

26a    Forecast enigmatic sea captain backed (4)
A reversal (backed) of the eponymous sea captain in a Jules Verne novel


1d    Drunken crowd in solemn service (4,4)
A synonym for drunk and a crowd or large number of people

6d    Former PM in Commons perhaps lying in the past (11)
The place where the House of Commons meets and an archaic way of saying lying

7d    Island where Brown consumes excellent whiskey (6)
A brown colour (misleading capitals time!) ‘consumes’ an adjective meaning first class or excellent and the letter represented by Whiskey in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

15d    One dealing with admissions? (9)
This person would deal with admissions of wrong doing

17d    Gas from chicken — nuts go dry inside (8)
An anagram (nuts) of GO DRY inside a chicken

19d    Phlegmatic firm accepting contract’s termination (6)
A synonym for firm ‘accepting’ the letter at the end (termination) of contracT

22d    Climb on Etna? (5)
A verb meaning to climb on or the name given to a geographical feature such as Etna

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

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!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

The Quick Crossword pun: MILL + CROWNED = MILK ROUND

116 comments on “DT 30503 (Hints)
Leave your own comment 

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle; thanks to setter. Some clever cluing, particularly 3A, 13A and 18A but my COTD was 16D. ***/***** for me

  2. I started slowly and feared we were in for a tricky SPP, but when the first few went in I picked up the pace. 18a was bunged in as a placeholder but all the checkers fitted and when I corrected the mistake over the composer it went easily thereafter
    Thanks to CS and the setter, time to take the outdoor lights down, though the Christmas Plates can stay up for a while

  3. This should be a welcome relief for those who struggled with the complexities offered in yesterday’s puzzle. Although my first pass yielded precious few answers,I eventually cracked the setter’s style and was away. 24a appealed to my schoolboyish sense of humour, and 13a, 17 and 19d were my favourites.

    Many thanks to our Saturday setter and to Sue.

  4. That was enjoyable though I can’t, for the life of me, parse 25a. (i had a problem posting yesterday. Loved the river gag, Jose)

    A nice assortment of techniques with some smooth surfaces and a couple of random ones thrown in to entertain.

    I like the use of the word kinky in 10a.

    I can see why the setter chose Enschede airport as there are hardly any well-known ones beginning with E.

    22d isn’t the most cryptic clue I’ve come across, it has to be said.

    My podium is 10a, 14a and 7d

    Many thanks to the Saturday setter and Sue.


    1. If I’m allowed to say so, take the outside letters of ‘Dispute’ and that should help you ‘produce’ the answer. Took me a while too as I couldn’t remember seeing that construction before.

    2. George used Enschede airport in a weekly basis when doing a lot of business in Limburg. It was his favourite airport.

        1. He was often the only passenger out of Cambridge airport and one day they arrived to find the place deserted. The pilot said to George, well of course, it is Carnival time. Come with me. He took G into Maastricht and introduced him to the madness which is Limburg Carnival. For years after that we went and joined our lovely Dutch friends. Even more random, and nothing to do with guzzles.

      1. Yep, that’s an option as is Entebbe.

        I guess the setter fancied an overseas one which works for me as I had never heard of it or knew where it was.

        Having looked it up, I do now!

  5. Lots to admire in another splendid Saturday special. I really like 14, self-deprecatory, but absolutely not applicable here. Evil personality and enigmatic sea captain also tickled my fancy. Lovely puzzle.

    Many thanks Sue for hints, and Ron.

  6. One thing I wanted to say about yesterday’s tough but enjoyable crissy crossy (3*/4*) was the plural of stamen is absolutely nuts. Stamens is the accepted one but having stamina not stamena as an alternative is left field and then some. I can get my head around genus becoming genera but this one is off the scale.

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    As a side note, I did chuckle when I saw embiggen in Thursday’s blog as it does conjure up all sorts of ‘Carry on…’ connotations.

    1. I’m clearly on your wavelength today Tom, as I had the same thoughts about that plural, never heard of it and seems very strange.

      1. It really is odd.

        We need to have a dickie bird in the shell-like of the ‘Queen of words’, Susie Dent.

        Shell-like has a hyphen but sylphlike doesn’t. This is because the powers that be don’t like triple letters which is really annoying as I’d love a triple letter though there are cheat ones like grrr and zzz.

        Chaffinch quite rightly had a triple letter (chaff + finch) but they binned one of the Fs. At least be consistent and hyphenate it!


        1. Talking of Susie Dent, I see that Mark Goodliffe the mutiple Times Crossword Champion made it to 8 wins in the new season of Countdown

          1. I don’t know what’s funnier: your triple p shout or your spelling of moniker.

            Either way, AB, we love it!

              1. We love Monica but not as much as pulling my joey.

                Where did that come from?

                Who cares, it’s great!

                  1. We love Friends.

                    Nothing touches it and that includes the big hitters Porridge, Dads Army, Flowery Tw*ts and Yes Minister which I loved.

                    1. Possibly excluding Slackbladder, Yes Minister is the best of the best. Might have to start calling you Sir Tomphrey in this case 😁

                    2. My hero.

                      He once said Happy Christmas in 170 words. ‘May the seasonal etc.’

                      Fantastic scriptwriting.

    2. It is in the BRB as the plural but easier to see why when you look at the origin of the “threads” that produce life
      ORIGIN: Pl of stamen warp, understood as the threads of life spun out by the Fates
      The stamina of a plant to reproduce whatever the fates throw at it

      1. Interesting. Thanks Sloops.

        As stamina derives from stamen, it should be stamena.

        Why has the letter i suddenly appeared?

        1. I am waiting for George to finish reading part of my Christmas present to him A Little Book of Language by David Crystal. He says it is fascinating.

        2. TDS, the “I” hasn’t suddenly appeared. Stamen is the Latin for thread and it is an irregular word whose plural is stamina. Some of its singular cases (the genitive, dative and ablative) and all of its plural cases have an I rather than an E as the fifth letter. You would probably need to ask Julius Caesar or one of his literary contemporaries how that came about …

          Something similar happens with omen -> ominous, although at least in this instance the plural thankfully is omens.

          1. Thanks for that, RD.

            So, the letter change remains unsolved and, unless I jump into HG’s contraption, I’m never going to find out the reason.

            When I said ‘suddenly’, I didn’t mean recently. I meant when it was formed. Not the best choice of words, I admit.

            I love the omen/ominous observation. 👏👏

          2. That reminds me of-
            Neuter nouns in al, ar, a –
            Behave in an adjectival way
            So in the ablative you see
            A letter I, and not an E

            1. Oh, the joy.

              I did Latin A Level but was truly rubbish at it.

              Being a Maths man, I liked the idea of thrown a bunch of words from a sentence in the air and hunting the verb when they landed.

              I saw it as a puzzle.

              Along with my Double Maths and Latin, I did Ancient History as I was rubbish at everything else and it was a nice fit with the language that is very much alive, in my books.

              I chose Ancient it because it was impossible not to get an A or B as the teacher was that good.

              I got a C.

              1. I did raed ocne taht it desont metatr waht you do wtih sbmarclig a scteenne as lnog as all the wdors biegn and end wtih the cecrort lrtetes the mninag is perseverd

    3. The reason that your comments yesterday kept being sent to the bin was a spam filter that we have in place. We get many spam comments every day advertising internet proxies, so for some time any message containing “proxy” or “proxies” has been automatically deleted. For that reason any comment deforming proXimal’s name into “proxy” will go straight to the bin. I suggest you just use his proper name in future.

  7. Started at a canter and finished at a trot having been delayed by a couple in the SE. Cannot parse 25a, but can’t see it being anything else. Particularly liked 10a and enjoy some 23a too. Thanks to compiler and CS.

  8. I made hard work of this and had to Google the second part of 18a as, even with all the checkers, I couldn’t get a certain comet out of my mind.
    Apart from that, I got there in the end albeit slowly. I wondered if 6d was an all in one, or do we just classify that as a very good surface read? Either way it was one of my favourites alongside 5d.
    Thanks to the setter and CS

  9. Very enjoyable and not too challenging – 1.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 3a, 21a, 8d, and 12d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to whomsoever and CS.

  10. Great fun, completed on the m25 on the way to see the relatives we missed due to our COVID Christmas present. I’m not driving! Although it initially seemed tricky once on wavelength it went fairly smoothly.

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

  11. Not one for me, too many religious, American and ancient words for my taste.
    Managed about 60% then decided I had enough and gone to do something more interesting like watching paint dry.
    Thx for the hints

  12. ‘‘Twas a bit of a struggle for me today, but got there in the end with the NE the last to crack. It all fell into place when 6d fell after I remembered dear old xxxxxxx. I thought there was a lot of clever clueing today leading to several gratifying penny drop moments. Thanks to JV for parsing 25a as that eluded me and thanks to Mr Google for the second half of 18a. My fave today (and there were plenty to choose from) was 5d. Thanks also to the setter and to CS.

  13. Reading the comments above I see I have much in common with most, especially the inability to parse 25a ( thanks JV, it seems so obvious now!).
    As an added bonus today I particularly enjoyed TDS65’s comments above as he spiralled out of control harrumphing over triple letters.
    As for the crossword I found it a mixture of easy and tough, with the down clues salvaging what was starting to look like a poor result.
    My favourites were 18a, 15d and 16d.
    Thanks to the setter and to CS
    Now back to yesterday’s toughie which I am going to have to resort to the hints to get going again. (Letting go of lost causes has never come easily to me…)

  14. Excellent puzzle. 5d my cotd.

    Yesterday was in bed recovering from covid jab, which looks like it was good scheduling based on comments on the puzzle.

  15. An enjoyable Saturday breakfast guzzle. V pleased to have cracked 25a finaly! But really enjoyed 18a ( how on earth did I remember her?) and the clever 23a. In the downs, liked 16d and another long forgotten drink at 20d.
    Can’t pick a fave, but would just like to thank our compiler du jour and of course the tireless CS!

  16. Fairly light after yesterday. I too could not parse 25a so am grateful for the explanation. 18a was my LOI though I may have got there earlier had I paid attention to the clue at 17d and not bunged in nitrogen. Since I was looking for a latin name for a shooting star it seemed perfectly reasonable that it ended with an ‘i’ ! Favourite today was the cleverly misleading 5d with podium places for 12a and 7d. Thanks to our setter and Crypticsue.

  17. I thought I would jump in early before starting the guzzle but see there are already 18 early birds. Regarding yesterday’s xword – it was hard. But why all the agonised cries of unfair? If they came from ordinary folk (ie not members of the BD club) writing to the editor to say that Fridays are too hard and classify as toughies, then I might have some sympathy with them. But we are the elite, the favoured folk who have access to hints – and disclosures of the answer – to help and guide us and these hints are given freely at that. We have no reason to complain, our hinters are constantly trying to help us improve our game. I cannot understand people getting in a stew about it. Global warming, world affairs, village politics yes. But a crossword is just a crossword. Some you can do, some you struggle with, some really dent your ego. But next day you have another chance. . Sorry – I just had to get that off my chest. I am so pleased to have a puzzle every day and beyond delighted to have found this site.

    1. A big smile for your inclusion of village politics with global warming and world affairs, but I would have thought that it ranked above them! :wink:

    2. Totally agree, those complaining that there is already a toughie should have a crack at Elgar. Improvement generally comes from being stretched.

    3. I’m with you all the way, Day Zee.

      If three or four a week were really hard then I would understand the grrrs and harrumphs *. But, one out of seven to me is fine.

      * Clearly, the word of the day

    4. Totally agree with you, Daisy.

      I just wish that all the moaners and groaners would stop moaning and groaning … maybe they would learn something if they just read through the hints?

    5. I guess I am in the moaner group, although I don’t believe I ever do so unfairly. For me the joy of solving is when it is all my own work. If that is not on the cards, then I am more than happy to look at a few hints, but if I have to look at a lot of hints to solve, then the joy has evaporated. I am probably my own worst enemy. If looking at all the hints and using outside help qualifies as completing, well good. But not for me.

      1. Forgive me I misunderstand you Biz Liz but, when you say ‘outside hellp’, are you referring to sites like Danword that give you the answer?

        If so, I would be surprised if someone says they have completed it when they have looked up the answer.

        I don’t mind somebody saying they have completed it, having looked at this blog’s hints as there’s still a bit of work to do.

          1. No ideas, General.

            They must get access to these clues weeks before us as they have them first thing in the morning.

          2. I believe that Danword doesn’t solve crosswords, it’s just a collection of computer scripts that harvest answers from puzzle sites.

            1. Thanks Mr K.

              I sometimes do the crossword early, finishing around 8 o’clock. I only use it to see if my biffed answer is correct as I don’t want to wait three hours.

              I assume the answers are posted somewhere else online for Danword to find? But aren’t a lot of these clues brand new? I appreciate that they were sent to Chris by the setters months ago but I’m guessing Chris and his team don’t upload them somewhere online before they appear in the paper.

              That’s what I don’t get.

        1. If I use Danword, which I do my very best not to, I do not claim an unaided finish. If I claim an unaided finish it is without any help from any source including the hints on this wonderful blog.

        2. Not really that much to do TDS if there is a honking great picture of the answer starring back at you as in some hints!! 🤣
          Each have their own standards but I concur with Steve, a completion is an unaided solve in my book.

          1. Yep, that’s my take, RB.

            But, I think someone, who’s new to the world of cruciverbalism, saying they completed it with the hints is perfectly acceptable.

            I see a few posts like that which are mighty fine by me.

    6. I love the challenge of the more difficult ones. I was of the opinion that I wasn’t clever enough for toughies yet , but the Fridays have given me confidence. I finished yesterday’s having dipped in and out all day at 11.30pm needing only a few hints and maintaining my streak on the app.

      1. Huge congrats, JM! That is indeed an achievement. 👏👏

        Don’t get too confident as one of the Friday fiends will soon knock the stuffing out of you.

        It’s not about getting floored but brushing yourself down and getting up ready for the next challenge.

        I psyche myself up every Friday morning, running on the spot, hitting my cheeks, splashing my face with cold water, shaking my head, saying brrrrrr followed by ‘Come on then! Let’s av yer, you absolute b*****d!!!

    7. Very well said.DG
      It is perhaps because I successfully struggle with Friday’s, that I am able to polish off today’s Prize Puzzle.

  18. Thought I’d nailed the identity of today’s setter but the further I got through the puzzle the less certain I became. Whoever it was, they brought us a good compilation with plenty to smile about. Top three for me were 25a plus 6&12D.

    Thanks to our compiler and to CS for the hints.

  19. 2*/4*. I enjoyed this a lot and a special thank you to the setter for having a tempted woman rather than a vague one in 4d.

    25a was my last one to be parsed and gets my vote as favourite. 6d also gets a special mention.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS.

  20. A little hard to get this Saturday puzzle going but eventually things fell into place. A few clues I was not a fan of, but that’s my problem.

    2.5*/3.5* today

    Favourites include 1a, 13a, 5d, 8d, 12d & 15d — with winner 8d

    Thanks to setter & CS for blog/hints

  21. I thought this was going to be too easy after filling in the top RHS. Gave up on the top LHS. I had to work my way round and come back to it. Last one in the teasing composer . I was convinced the first word was going to be Rag. All the clues in the NE quadrant were excellent. A good puzzle all in all.
    Thanks to the setter and CS for the hints

  22. Some very nice misdirection in one or two clues but I think I am in for another pen, Steve. Sorry. I also struggled to parse 25a but it has to be. I liked 10,13,18a and 7&16d. 24a is a word I would rather not use. Going to cut out a skirt now from a fabulous piece of fabric calling to me. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Sue. I do appreciate you putting so much effort into entertaining and educating me!🥰

  23. Such a relief after yesterday! Smooth sailing most of the way, but held up a little in the NE until a second cup of coffee loosened enough brain cells to finally complete it. **1/2 / **** Thanks to the setter and CS.

  24. Pretty straightforward today with no major hold-ups though some took a bit of thinking about. Hard to pick a favourite but we rather liked 20d. Thanks to the setter and CS.

  25. Very enjoyable. The parsing of 25a was a bit of a head scratch & the name for the chamberpot needed Mr G confirmation. 5d had me racking my brains as to which one in the 007 franchise featured the ski chase & the luge but I had to cheat & look it up. Last in was 18a which was my fav.
    Thanks to the setter & to Sue & for some excellent comments

  26. I only needed some minimal word search cheats to get me going again when I was stuck. I liked our shooting star, I even remembered the name.
    Thank you setter for the fun, and CS for explaining some for me.

  27. I enjoyed this crossword, not simply because I finished it but I managed to do it although it was at the limit of my ability. 13a and 5d are the only two on my podium today.

    Many thanks to CS and to the setter.

  28. So set off at a pace in the NW , thinking ‘it’s an easy one today’ and then came crashing to a halt mainly in the NE where I had to seek a couple of hints. Loved some of the misdirections. My last one in was 5D. You know when you have every other letter , and play around and pop in the missing letters not twigging what the word is , and then the penny drops, and it’s not at all what you were thinking – Such a great feeling ! Am I getting sad ? So nice to join this blog everyone. Thanks to the setter and CS for the hints.

    1. This blog has been a lifeline for many of us. We come in all sorts of shapes, sorts, colours, sexes, ages and opinions and thankfully there is room for all of us.

      1. Yes usually I’m a bit nervous of putting it out there if you know what I mean , but this feels a safe space and I’m enjoying participating now after lurking for several years.

  29. A relief after yesterday to find that this head cold has not completely fogged up my brain. Made my way through this quite happily, but did need some of CrypticSue’s help. Although it took me a while to figure it out, 16d is my favourite. Thanks to setter and CS.

  30. To be honest, I found this a bit of a struggle. I’m not sure about a couple of my answers but I sent it off for The Mythical anyway. Having been a tower captain I had no problem with 8d and I loved the shooting star. My favourite and COTD is 3a.

    Thank you to the setter for the struggle, which is down to me and nobody else. Thank you, CS for the hints. According to the weather forecast your ducks could be skating on the lawn tomorrow. 🦆

  31. Gosh! What a super way to begin the year. I actually managed this puzzle without any artificial aids and feel on top of the world. Thanks to the setter.

  32. This was a bit of a curate’s egg mixing crafty clues with some rather obtuse ones but altogether it was a pleasurable work-out. Perhaps one needed to be of a certain vintage to recall 18a which has led me to now work my way through the accompanying songs. Lurker No Longer and I agreed yesterday on our recollection of a different word for 4d scripture class. Standout Fav for me was 5d. Thank you setter and CS.

  33. Thoroughly enjoyed this one today and completed at a canter – helps return some confidence in the ‘grey matter’ after failing yesterday! What a relief!😅
    Genuine thanks to our setter (?) and PC Security for today’s blog ‘n hints 👍

  34. Sound and enjoyable fare, generally good surfaces, reasonable balance of anagrams to other clue types, a great lurker and not a little wit. Podium places to 3a, 5d & 15d.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Thank you to the setter and to CS

  35. Yesterday was a lovely day. Did the crossword on the train to Victoria and then treated myself to front row seat for The Motive and the Cue. Theatre at its best. Came home and told John I’d always remember The Motive and the Clue.
    Got all the words in the right places but couldn’t parse many of them. Botany – good Latin -not so good so was never going to parse the stamen related clue.
    Ever grateful to setter, hinter and all on Big Dave.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.