DT 30507 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30507

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,507
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from sunny and cold Hertfordshire. I am in a bit of a hurry this morning as we are off to Suffolk for a couple of days as soon as I finish my blogging duties. We are visiting my 90 year-old mother today and visiting RSPB Minsmere tomorrow. The big coats will definitely be required!

Whilst I was solving, I thought this was a very good puzzle, but as often happens, following further study during the blogging process, I have upgraded very good to outstanding. I loved it. Some lovely “surface reads”, humour and clever misdirection all add up to a most enjoyable solve. Bravo, setter!

A couple of anagrams in the first two clues should give a decent foothold into the puzzle.

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 Charlie composed nice note for Willy Wonka, say (12)
CONFECTIONER: letter represented by Charlie in NATO phonetic alphabet + anagram (composed) of NICE NOTE FOR.

8a Unruly mob are heading for Geoffrey Boycott (7)
EMBARGO: anagram (unruly) of MOB ARE + the first letter (heading) of Geoffrey.

9a Dog with trendy cat or dog, perhaps (7)
WHIPPET: abbreviation for with + three-letter word meaning trendy + a term for a cat or a dog (for example).

11a Number divided by eleven in France, right? It’s not nothing (3-4)
NON-ZERO: abbreviation for number outside (divided by) French for eleven + abbreviation for right.

12a Endlessly tries but fails to get praise (7)
TRIBUTE: anagram (fails) of TRIE(s) BUT.

13a Indonesian dish, for example, receiving thanks (5)
SATAY: word meaning “for example” outside (receiving) informal word meaning “thanks”.

14a People who sing popular old song’s intro (9)
INFORMERS: two-letter word meaning popular + synonym of old + first letter (intro) of song. A slightly cryptic definition – “sing” here has nothing to do with music. Nice clue.

16a Where robbers may be caught, following one without faith (9)
ATHEISTIC: two words signifying where one might find robbers + abbreviation for caught after (following) the letter represented by one.

19a Starts to ponder over stimulating Elgar – real Toughie (5)
POSER: initial letters (starts to) of words 3-7 of the clue. To suit the wordplay, Elgar here probably refers to the devious crossword compiler rather than the composer, which I suppose is an enigma in itself. Sorry – couldn’t resist it.

21a Huge profit monarch invests poorly (7)
KILLING: synonym for monarch outside (invests) synonym for poorly.

23a Entertain like Sonny Bono’s partner? (7)
CHERISH: I’m not great at pop music, but even I can remember who Sonny’s wife was in the duo popular in the 60s & 70s. Add three letters to the end of her name to signify “like” and then think laterally about the definition (as in nurture?).

24a Tiny Dickensian character welcoming time with sweet birds (7)
TITMICE: tiny character from A Christmas Carol outside (welcoming) abbreviation for time + synonym for sweet (think cream) = the formal plural name of common garden birds.

25a Romeo ignored by e.g. Auntie Joy (7)
ELATION: the NATO alphabet letter signified by Romeo is removed (ignored by) from a family member of which auntie is an example. We can ignore the capitalisation here.

26a Proper food additives for 3 and 5, say (5,7)
PRIME NUMBERS: synonym of proper + another term for those nasty food additives. 3 and 5 are an example of the answer.


1d Kitty tours place for rubbish English political leaders (7)
CABINET: synonym for kitty outside (tours) where you put your rubbish + abbreviation for English.

2d Where little Rowan and Hazel might be looked after, one way or another? (7)
NURSERY: a cryptic definition clue. Rowan and Hazel might be small people, but they could also be small trees.

3d Working CEO’s left out of Milton Keynes, perhaps (9)
ECONOMIST: anagram of CEOS + MILTON without the L (left out). Milton Keynes here is a great example of why solvers should read every word of a clue individually, even though it looks like they should be read together. Excellent clue.

4d Namely, what to do with a broken-down car (2,3)
TO WIT: take the five letters of two words describing how one might move a broken-down car, join them together to form one word and then split them in a different way.

5d Yours truly, in Dickensian musical, getting acting award (7)
OLIVIER: insert I (yours truly) into a stage musical.

6d Support husband or wife found on-line? (7)
ESPOUSE: anything on line these days has an E in front of it (email, eBook, ebygum) so we just need to find a word meaning husband or wife and stick an E on the front of it.

7d Figure wrong over illegal activity is one taken to court (6,6)
TENNIS RACKET: a figure (or a number) + a synonym of wrong reversed (over) a word meaning illegal activity. Another slightly cryptic definition. The setter wants us to think of a court of law, but some lateral thinking is again required here.

10d Exchange rate convinced Chancellor this may make people rich (8,4)
TREASURE HUNT: anagram (exchange) of RATE + synonym of convinced + the name of our current Chancellor. If you ever wanted the perfect example of a good “surface read”, this is it. Brilliant!

15d This improves appearance of loud, fab rock band (4,5)
FACE CREAM: musical abbreviation for loud + synonym for fab + a rock band from the 60s.

17d Some alcohol’s terrible for one holding your arm (7)
HOLSTER: a hidden word clue indicated by “some”. The answer is lurking within words 2 and 3.

18d Metal drum I thrice battered (7)
IRIDIUM: anagram (battered) of DRUM + III. In fairness, this is a tricky word to clue.

19d European queen gripped by part of book title (7)
PEERAGE: abbreviation for European + regnal designation of our late Queen inside (gripped by) part of a book.

20d Strong drinks? Removes clothes drinking one up (7)
SPIRITS: take a synonym of “removes clothing” outside (drinking) a letter signifying one and then turn the whole thing upside down (up).

22d About to interrupt low-down politician (5)
GREEN: a two letter abbreviation for about inside (to interrupt) a synonym for low-down (think information).



87 comments on “DT 30507
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  1. Back today after attending a funeral in a bitterly cold Hemel Hempstead yesterday in the very new crematorium there, then on to a wake at Shendish Manor golf club and hotel, very nice place.
    Anyway, on to the puzzle, spot-on for a Thursday, very tough, very entertaining.
    New term to me at 11a, but easy from the clue. Good to see the band at 15d getting a mention again this week, may listen to ‘Pressed Rat and Warthog’ later, Ginger’s finest hour.
    Many favourites today, but my top two were 6d and the clever 16a, super puzzle, Mr setter, take a bow.

  2. Shabbo has the rating bang on for this quite tricky little number. Hadn’t heard of 24a but attainable. Highlights were 14a, 25a, 7d and the clever anagram in 18d but 26a linking 3&5d gets my tick for COTD. 4d was amusing. Thanks to Shabbo and the setter.

  3. Perfect Thursday fare, teeing us up for the devil himself tomorrow.

    Lots of splendid techniques on display with my LOI being 24a. I thought where the robbers may be caught was very neat.

    My podium is 8a (love it), 3d (the Milton Keynes bit is genius) and 10d.

    Many thanks to the setter and Shabbo.


  4. This must be a dream-team Thursday with a Beam Toughie and a Silvanus back-pager.

    With its ultra-smooth surfaces and clever clueing, this was definitely a 5* plus for enjoyment and a nicely challenging 2,5* for difficulty with 24a hanging on as my final one to solve.

    Picking a favourite or even a long shortlist from such a great selection is a near impossible task, so I’ll take the easy option and piggy-back on TDS65’s choices of 8a, 3d & 10d.

    Many thanks to SIlvanus (surely?) and to Shabbo.

  5. What a great crossword today! Completely agree with Shabbo’s ratings.

    Only one that gave me trouble was 24a where, not being a birder, I had to check in the BRB that my guess was correct.
    Thanks to the setter and to Shabbo.

    Very cold here today but fortunately no rain, snow or wind….so far.

  6. Best of the week thus far in my view. ✅s aplenty with my top 2️⃣ getting an excellent & a brilliant from our reviewer- reckon Jeremy just short heads John Maynard.
    Thanks to the setter (Silvanus?) & to Shabbo for his top review.

  7. This proved much gentler than it looked at first glance, proving to be the speediest solve of the week. So this can’t possibly be an early Elgar as 19a suggests, can it? Probably just a homage, as you say. Some wonderfully elegant clues and nice misdirection (8a, 3d et al). My only query regards 12a as it’s barely an anagram. I initially thought it could have been TRIE(S) winning BUT as in if BUT fails/loses, TRIE(S) wins. Surely not! Still, it’s slightly odd as an anagram to my mind. I loved the cleverness of 16a, surface notwithstanding. 26a was wonderful too but my favourite was the toothsome 10d. Thanks to the setter (I’m sure you’re right, RD, you generally are!) and Shabbo, of course. PS – I see that it’s NOT a Silvanus!

  8. Wholeheartedly agree with Shabbo that this was terrific. Have a long “to do” list to get on with today so sought help in the SW and then of course thought d’oh. Not sure about 12a fails – indicators really are getting far-fetched. Too many goodies to single out a Fav. TVM Mrs/Mysteron and Shabbo.

  9. Loved it. Lots of clever misdirection, just the right number of anagrams and sensible surface reads. I agree with Tom with regard to both 3d and 16a. A little GK required but thats OK.11a was a new phrase for me and my only recourse to the BRB today.I liked the fact that only one of the peripherals was an anagram. So often with this grid they all are. Favourite today is 3d supported by 26a and 10d. Thanks to our setter and Shabbo.

  10. Spot on Thursday puzzle, last in was 3d and only two definitions to choose from! after some time the penny dropped and voila a brilliant favourite, second in line was 16a and third was 26a -those numbers.
    Going for a ***/*****, lets see what Friday brings.

  11. I agree with our reviewer that this was an outstanding puzzle which I had confidently ascribed to Silvanus before I read the latter’s comment above. Many thanks to our setter (whoever he or she may be) and Shabbo.
    My printout is littered with ticks. I’ll just mention 23a, 26a, 2d and 4d with top honours going to either 3d or 10d.

  12. Finished with a flourish in the SE which made me think that I had made unnecessarily heavy weather of the rest – ***/****

    Not a Ray T Thursday and his ‘regular’ substitute has confirmed that it is not his (see reply to RD at 4) so if I had five bob I would probably place it on Twmbarlwm in the ‘Guess a Setter Stakes.’

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 21a, and 6d – and the winner is 6d.

    Thanks to Twmbarlwm, or whomsoever if it is not he, and thanks to Shabbo.

    1. I can’t get on Toombarloon’s wavelength, I don’t think this was his. I’d go with Robyn, but what do I know? I’m a rubbish picker of setters.

      1. I think Robyn was alleged to have appeared already this week Merusa.

        I may be mistaken and of course double appearances may be permitted.

        No setter acknowledgement as yet I see.

  13. Difficult but doable. For me, and I stress for me (™ Senf) this was a crossword where I despaired, and then sneaked my way through it clue by clue; checking letters helping me move on each time. Many splendidly constructed clues.

    A sign of the ageing process: I have never minded winter gloom, the rain, clouds, and early darkness; what I cannot abide with an increasing aversion is the cold. When I was young I recall hearing older people saying, “It gets into your bones!” They were right.
    Turn the central heating up!

    Thanks to the setter and Shabba-dabba-doo

    15d related:

      1. So, it’s not just me that can have more than one “favourite” :-) As it happens, Badge and White Room are two of my all-time favourites from the first, and best, “supergroup”.

      2. Check out Robben Ford’s cover – it has a pretty neat solo as you would expect from such an accomplished player.

  14. Loved this puzzle with lots of smiles as pennies dropped. 4d possibly my favourite. I even managed the toughie today so expect I’ll be brought up short tomorrow.
    Thanks to the setter and also hinter.

  15. Excellent puzzle with very cleverly surfaced clues

    Just a little puzzled with the ‘one way or another’ at 2d. The definition works without those words and I can’t see what they add to the clue

    1. Hi JS

      You are right but I think the setter is spelling out the two definitions in case a solver were to miss one.

  16. Best back pager of the year for me. Very enjoyable.
    Living in Germany U am fortunately less affected by the rubbish English political leaders referred to in 1a
    Thanks to setter and Shabbo.

  17. What a cracker!

    My COTD is 10d. For the other places on the podium, perm any 2 from the other 27 clues.

    As ‘tis not Silvanus … is it possibly Robyn?

    Totally agree with Shabbo’s ratings. Bravo, indeed, to the setter!

  18. Quite an enjoyable puzzle, if tricky. After a slow start, solving got easier and I managed to complete the puzzle, finishing in the difficult NW. the best of the clues were the two lego clues 7d and 10d and the well- misdirected 14a. Thanks to Shabbo for the hints and to the compiler.

  19. A very straightforward puzzle today but a pleasure to solve. 9a my favourite , I’m a simple lad with simple tastes, aye! Thanks to all
    Saw Cream live at Leeds University circa early 70’s what a time to have been at uni there.

  20. Absolutely agree this is an excellent puzzle EXCEPT for 7d, whose solution, without the suggestion of a homonym being involved, or the possibility of an American spelling, makes no sense. “Cryptic” does not mean “nonsense”! I got it, but this sort of thing annoys me!

    1. I’m not sure why you think the wordplay requires the suggestion of a homonym. Seems a perfectly good clue to me unless I’m missing something – is the English spelling for both the bat & the dodgy activity not the same?

    2. I’m always bemoaning the spelling of the second word in 7d, but I’ve now accepted that it’s how everyone spells it now. I’ll just have to get over it and move on.

    3. Interestingly, in the entry for the ‘CQ’ word Chambers does nothing more than ‘point’ to the ‘CK’ word with a ‘same as.’

      1. Presumably, we are talking about “racket” and “racquet” – it’s not a homonym … some might say it’s a homophone?

  21. I found this harder than last Thursday’s RayT … and this is not even his week! Took a while to get going as I only had two filled out first pass through.

    3*/3* for me

    Favourites included 9a, 25a, 1d, 4d, 15d & 18d — with winner 15d.
    Smiles from 1a, 19a, 4d & 18d (the runner-up favourite)

    Thanks to setter & Shabbo for hints/blog

  22. Tricky but enjoyable puzzle. Disappeared up a blind alley looking for a “legal” answer to 7d before the proverbial dropped with a clang. Shabbo’s hints confirmed a couple of answers where I struggled with the parsing. Cotd for me is 10d. Thanks to compiler and Shabbo.

  23. I struggled to get going on this but persisted and eventually got there but needed the hints to parse several of my answers. 10d was my favourite but there were some really great clues here.

    Many thanks to the mystery setter and to Shabbo for the hints.

  24. Completed this but it took two sittings. The top was good and made sense but much of the bottom was very tricksy.
    Not really one for me although I can appreciate what the setter was trying hard to achieve.
    Thx for the hints

  25. Once again, I found the guzzle difficult. I think I should have a break from them because my brain doesn’t seem to want to engage with them. I needed hints galore – thank you, Shabbo – in order to finish. Of course, once revealed I wondered why I hadn’t been able to see it.

    Many thanks to the setter. As I have said before it is me not you.

      1. I’m not quitting the blog, Merusa! Just cryptics for a while. Mind you, now I’ve had time to ponder, I doubt I will. 😊

    1. Oh Steve you are not alone. I too found this is hard work, and even if I didn’t have visitors arriving from Lincolnshire today, I would not even look at what is in store for us tomorrow. But please come back again at the weekend. We would miss you if you gave up.

    2. I agree! I had a hard time with this one too. So I also needed the hints, thankyou Shabbo. I think we have to accept that “we can’t win em all”. !
      Tomorrow, being Friday might not help us though.

    3. It has been a very strange week with some of the puzzles others found easy seeming very tricky to me. I know when that happens to me it is often because there are other distractions and stresses interfering with my wavelength antenna, or simply not enough time. You have had an awful lot going on (and I am sure that there still is) and that is probably not helping. I do hope that Mrs C is doing better.

  26. We have visited mother and have now arrived safely in The Westleton Crown in Suffolk. We are about to embark on a short walk around the village whilst it is still light. After that, there is always the possibility of a couple of pints of the local Adnams beer before dinner!
    Thanks to you all for your kind comments about the hints. I am glad that I was able to help one or two with the parsing of some of the clues.

  27. I’m a fan of this puzzle, not easy, but very entertaining. In the end I needed ehelp for 24a, why? I don’t know, I should have been able to work that out. Never heard of 11a, but I knew French for eleven, with the checkers I could work it out. So much to like here, maybe fave is 16a as it has my Sunday Wordle seed word! I could have chosen any of this fine offering.
    Thank you whomsoever for the fun, and Shabbo for unravelling a few. I also commend you for the hint at 19a, very clever!

  28. Good afternoon

    Pen down after a successful solve, although not without several tricksy moments. Would you believe that 7d was the last to fall? I just couldn’t see the second word until right at the very end!

    14a and 18d are runners up; 26a is COTD.

    Many thanks to our compiler and to Shabbo

  29. Not one for me today, I just found it all a bit of a slog, and not very enjoyable. Mostly a wavelength thing I think, and because a list of to dos I need to get done today that is rattling around in my head. Probably won’t get a chance now for crosswords with visitors for two weeks, but perhaps I might sneak one in at bedtime 😊. Thanks to setter, and Shabbo.

  30. This was a great solve , and I found it relatively straightforward until I came to an abrupt halt with 4 clues in the SW causing a head scratch. Got 3 in the end unaided but had to get a hint on my last in 24a. I spent ages on 22d , misdirecting myself as whenever I see the word ‘low’ I think there’s got to be a moo there somewhere! 🙄

    Thanks to the setter and to Shabbo.

  31. Excellent tough challenge with 26a across being a brilliant clue, I spent ages looking at 3d and 5d trying to find something that was not there! Thank you setter and Shabbo, hope you enjoy your pint

  32. Very late in, having been summonsed for two hospital appointments today – at least they’re both now over and done with!
    Enjoyed this puzzle over breakfast and half thought I might put NYDK in the frame.
    Top three for me were 24a plus 3&4d.

    Thanks to our setter and to Shabbo for the review – enjoy your chilly walk at Minsmere!

    1. I think you might be right about our friend the Stateside ‘Knobster. That suspicious balance of humour, cleverness and downright oddity! Still working on the puzzle but popped in to parse 16a. Enjoying it so far.

  33. Having fairly raced through about two thirds of this I ground to a halt in the North, however, having decided that my initial answer for 1a was wrong and was actually an anagram I then finished in a rather unseemly rush. It was with gritted teeth that I entered the answer to 14a as the plural is mouses not mice and no-one will convince me otherwise, it is not a mouse the same as a mongoose is not a goose and the plural is definitely not mongeese. Rant over! Favourite was the deceptively straightforward, or not as the case may be, 4d. Thanks to the setter and Shabbo, my autocorrect still won’t recognise your name.

  34. Stirred the grey matter,
    Especially the SW segment.
    Got there eventually
    After three sessions.
    Enjoyable throughout.
    Many thanks to the
    Setter and Shabbo.

  35. After 2 days when I’ve been totally barking up the wrong tree on my last one in, managed to complete this one. Lots of twists an misdirection. Favourite was 14a once my mind got away from the musical theme, and the penny dropped. Thanks to Shabbo and the Setter.

  36. Loved this offering. So many answers came with the reward of a smile of appreciation. It seems churlish to moan about 2d and 11 a when 3 d and so many others were a joy. Thanks to Shabbo but do we know the teasing setter ?

  37. I could not finish this one as some of the clues were just gibberish to me until I came here.

    However, I did complete a majority of the puzzle, so I’m happy.

  38. This whole puzzle was completely beyond me. I do hope this was a wavelength problem and not that my 90 year old brain is beginning to fail me. Thanks to all.

  39. Only got to look at the puzzle this morning, so I’m probably talking to my self here( nothing new there then🤪) hard to get into but completed except for 11 and 24. Great fun ,thanks to all.

    1. You’re not alone. I never start the cryptic until about eight at night. Shopping this morning so just finished it.
      Superb puzzle

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