DT 30508 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30508

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30508

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to a Friday puzzle that I found more straightforward than recent offerings in this slot.      . 

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



7a    Study of South American country's jails oddly ignored (7)
PERUSAL:  A four-letter South American country with its ‘S from the clue and the even letters (oddly ignored) of JAILS 

8a    Metal identified from horseshoe-shaped symbol? (7)
URANIUM:  A metal whose chemical symbol is a horseshoe-shaped letter 

10a   Troubled when decree is broadcast, restricting vote (9)
EXERCISED:  An anagram (broadcast) of DECREE IS containing (restricting) a letter than might indicate a vote 

11a   Skill to separate diamonds and spades in game (5)
DARTS:  A synonym of skill placed between (to separate) the playing card abbreviations for diamonds and for spades 

16 year old 11a star Luke Littler with a kebab

12a   Tedious job that's essential, husband interrupts (5)
CHORE:  Essential or central with the genealogical abbreviation for husband inserted ( … husband interrupts

13a   Drunkard from Britain condemned across Eastern Spain (9)
INEBRIATE:  An anagram (condemned) of BRITAIN containing (across) the single letter for eastern is followed by the IVR code for Spain 

15a   A little retinol is purifying retired Greek character (7)
UPSILON:  The answer is hidden in the reversal of (a littleretired) of RETINOL IS PURIFYING 

17a   High point on New Year's Day for caretaker (7)
JANITOR:  A hill or high point following (on, in an across clue) a (3,1) letter combination that could represent New Year’s Day 

18a   Irregularity encountered probing army's new centre in Pontypool (9)
ASYMMETRY:  A synonym of encountered inserted in (encountered) an anagram (new) of ARMY’S, all followed by the centre letter in PONTYPOOL 

This cat exhibits 18a

20a   Diet historically of grub followed by seconds (5)
WORMS:  A long thin grub seen on rainy days is followed by the single letter for seconds. The definition refers to a 16th century religious gathering 

21a   Reason wearing animal skin gets discussed (5)
INFER:  A homophone (gets discussed) of a (2,3) phrase that could mean wearing animal skin 

23a   Please  consider (9)
ENTERTAIN:  A fairly straightforward double definition 

24a   Spotted cake lacking decoration? (7)
NOTICED:  The answer split (3,4) could describe a cake lacking decoration 

25a   That woman, wearing flipping shamrock regularly, goes bust! (7)
CRASHES:  A pronoun for “that woman” inserted in (wearing) the reversal (flipping) of alternate letters (regularly) of SHAMROCK 



1d    Bad loser, guy I've detailed in deplorable fashion (10)
GRIEVOUSLY:  An anagram (bad) of LOSER GUY and all but the last letter (de-tailed) of I’VE

2d    Mind film losing Oscar to remake ultimately (6)
PSYCHE:  A Hitchcock film minus (losing) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Oscar is followed by the final letter (ultimately) of REMAKE 

3d    Cross with Leo, perhaps (4,4)
PLUS SIGN:  A word that can mean “with” or “in addition to” is followed by what Leo can define by example (perhaps

3d is in here somewhere

4d    Beheld duchess rising to receive embrace (6)
CUDDLE:  The answer is hidden in the reversal (… rising to receive, in a down clue) of BEHELD DUCHESS 

5d    Bishop maybe attracting briefly audacious language (8)
MANDARIN:  What a bishop or knight define by example (maybe) is followed by all but the last letter (briefly) of bold or audacious 

6d    Sulk being removed from comparatively minor rank (4)
TIER:  Another word for sulk is removed from comparatively minor or more trivial

7d    Obsession before having career (13)
PREOCCUPATION:  Synonyms of before and of career 

9d    Disguises note with gift unmarried lady acquires (13)
MISREPRESENTS:  The form of address traditionally associated with an unmarried lady contains (acquires) a note on the sol-fa scale and another word for gift

14d   Article following period at high school initially brings sets of consequences (10)
AFTERMATHS:  Concatenate a grammatical article, the single letter for following, a period or duration, AT from the clue, and the initial letters of HIGH and of SCHOOL 

16d   Irish city of fifty thousand concealing one awful crime (8)
LIMERICK:  The Roman fifty and the metric abbreviation for thousand containing (concealing) both the Roman one and an anagram (awful) of CRIME 

A cat 16d

17d   Little woman, say, extremely upset over minute gaming accessory (8)
JOYSTICK:  Link together one of the characters in Little Women, the reversal (upset, in a down clue) of the outer letters (extremely) of SAY, and a minute or short interval of time 

19d   Latest score in rugby match securing result (6)
TRENDY:  The way to score five points in rugby containing (securing) result or conclusion 

20d   Showed inexperience going round capital city (6)
WARSAW:  The reversal (going round) of a (3,3) phrase meaning “showed inexperience” 

22d   Charity event held inside cafeteria (4)
FETE:  The answer is hidden in (held inside) CAFETERIA 


Thanks to today’s setter. My favourite clue was 17a. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  DIE + JEST + TIFF = DIGESTIVE

96 comments on “DT 30508
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  1. Seems to me that the puzzles get gradually harder up until Thursday, and then boom, a quantum leap up to the toughest of toughies level for Friday. This took about twice as long as any other puzzle this week.
    Judging by the amount of press last Friday’s offering took, this will attract about the same if not more.
    On the positive side though, loved 24a and 17a.

    1. Reading later comments, looks like it was only me that found this really difficult, and damn near gave up after only three clues, oh well, horses for courses…..

  2. That was fun, and, I agree with Mr K, more straightforward than many recent Fridays.

    17a was also probably my favourite, though I did also like 23a, 24a, 14d, and 20d. Thank you to the setter, and to Mr K for keeping this place running and providing the security blanket of knowing I could come here for hints if needed.

  3. Predictably the trickiest back-pager of the week but I’d agree with our reviewer that it was a good bit less demanding than recent Fridays. Top 3 for me in no particular order were 17a plus 2&5d even though I’ve an inkling I’ve seen them before.
    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable guzzle & to Mr K.

  4. As Simon Cowell would say……loved it.

    A nice balance of clues to keep everyone interested.

    My LOI was 2d as the ‘Pick a film’ game took me a while.

    Even though I got the parsing of 6d, I had to biff it because I couldn’t think of the right synonym for sulk. Thank you for clearing that up, Smylers.

    My podium is 17a, 16d and 19d.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.


    1. You’re welcome, though I can’t really take the credit for thinking of it — I found it by getting all the entries in my computer’s built-in word list that end in the answer, took that off them to get a bunch of potential prefixes, then listed those prefixes which also appear in the word list as entries themselves.

      That yielded this list to pick from: “bat brat cat chat dough fat grit has hear knot min mus nut pas pet pot rat scan smut snot spot war weigh wit yeas” (plus one I’ve omitted because I’m not sure whether the comment filters would allow it).

      Specifically, for anybody else who speaks Unix-style command lines, it was this what did it:
      ack ".*(?=tier$)" -o /usr/share/dict/words | sort -u | tee >(aspell list) | sort | uniq -u

      1. That is truly outstanding; it really is.

        As well as prefixes, I was trying to think of words that could be inside a four letter word beginning with t. I would never have got it.

      2. There are more of us! Unix knowledge is a rare thing these days. I was HP-UX system admin for 10 years, now in Mac world. I annoy my younger colleagues by using terminal almost exclusively.

      3. Much more enjoyable than last Friday. My LOI was also 6d which for me was a bung in. Couldnt even parse with the hint, though the comments above have explained. Sadly my unix skills are at least 25 yrs old so that route closed to me, but have to say I’m impressed.

      4. “bat brat cat chat dough fat grit has hear knot min mus nut pas pet pot rat scan smut snot spot war weigh wit yeas”

        Which coincidentally is a précis of my autobiography, out next week 😂

  5. This puzzle, what it wasn’t a Feiday brain-burner, was yricky and I found it hard to get a foothold, particularly in the top half. Hoqever, as always, things got better as a few checkers went in. COTD was the reverse lurker at 24d, with the 5d lego clue and 14d as runners up. Thanks to Mr K for the hints and cat and to rhe compiler.

  6. I too thought this was less difficult than recent Friday puzzles. NB “less difficult” .

    I was held up by having to have 3 goes at spelling 1d….which held up the NW corner for some time.
    Eventually finished unaided, though I did need help with some parsings.
    Favourites 20a and 2d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    Even more Baltic here today. Indoor games for me.

        1. I went to see the doctor this morning, am sure I need the right knee done as well now –
          -it is agony even when resting. But what are the chances of someone of my age getting a new knee?

  7. No real problems solving this entertaining puzzle which, like others, I found less intimidating than some recent Friday offerings. 16d came close to getting my gold medal, but that accolade went to 17a.

    Many thanks to our setter and Mr K.

  8. Personally, I found this puzzle far simpler to solve than I did yesterday’s and possibly the easiest of the week so far. I loved 17a and 2d. 20d I thought very clever as as I did 6d, but my favourite by a mile is 20a. So many chuckles today, but sadly the fun was soon over – now for the weekend shopping. Thanks to today’s setter and also to Mr K.

  9. A most enjoyable Friday back pager which, for me, etc, I found to be less challenging than yesterday’s. If it is a production of one of the Friday triumvirate, but who knows with the current scheduling practice of our esteemed editor, then I would have to say that it is by Silvanus, maybe. 2.5*/4.5*

    With my ancestral heritage from the other side of La Manche, I interpreted the pun with an ‘IF’ ending.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a (pleased to see it called the game that it is), 17a, 20a, 3d, 7d, and 20d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Silvanus, or whomsoever if it is not he, and to Mr K.

    1. I’m guessing not Silvanus, because I completed it without needing any hints, which I don’t think I’ve ever managed with a Silvanus puzzle before!

      My finding a puzzle straightforward and others saying it’s tricky usually indicates Zandio, but if it isn’t one of the Friday Trinity then I feel Twm is a possibility.

  10. A pleasure to solve todays Friday puzzle, a star less than usual but none the worse
    Not seen 20a for a while -is there another one?
    Favourites were the lengthy 9d charade and 13a followed by 12a 17a and 24a.
    Going for a ***/****
    Thanks to setter and Mr K.

  11. A generally light – bar the last few in the N, which just took it to 2* – and very enjoyable backpager, eminently approachable, very fairly clued, and with absolutely wonderful surfaces: I should be very surprised were this not the work of Silvanus. Some lovely red herrings, a good balance of anagrams to other clue types, no especially unusual GK required. So many ticks, but to winnow down to just three for the podium: 18a, 25a and 2d.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Silvanus / the setter and to Mr K

  12. I agree with Mr K. as this puzzle seemed a little gentler Friday puzzle than normal to me this week. I liked the two long down clues on the perimeter. Still took a while to get finished though, but managed OK in the end. Definitely easier than Thursday for me.

    2.0*/3.5* for me.

    Favourites include 11a, 18a, 24a, 7d, 14d & 17d — with winner 14d

    Thanks to setter & Mr K. for hints/blog

  13. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the work of Mr Smooth given that all the answers dove-tailed so satisfactorily. All I’m left wondering is whether he likes a tipple after his dinner or a biscuit with his morning coffee – our reviewer went for the biscuit, I’m more tempted towards the brandy!
    I well remember giggling over 20a when we first learnt about it in history lessons at school so that gets a place on the podium along with 11a plus 3&7d.

    Many thanks to our setter (Silvanus is my bet) and to Mr K and his irregular cat for the review.

    1. Here’s an interesting(?) fact. Several British grocery items, including Marmite(!), are available in Canadian supermarkets. However, the biscuits which may be the subject of the pun are not available because, within the interpretation of the process, they are considered to do nothing to aid digestion.

    2. Those biscuits are available in the stores in the Vancouver area on the west coast … a staple in our house.

  14. My goddaughter didn’t email me this one today (she must be off work), so I had to solve it by using the clues/enumerations above and drawing the grid freehand on a piece of scrap paper (I have to do this quite often).

    A very pleasing Friday puzzle with fine clues providing an enjoyable, though slightly less challening than the norm on this day, solve. No stand-out favourite but I rather liked 17a. 3*/4*.

    *I rather enjoy having to build a grid using only the clues/enumerations – it adds a bit more puzzlement to the assignment. Today’s was quite easy because you know it’s a symmetrical 15 x 15 and you can see that 7a/8a (both 7 letters) are on the second rank down with a dark square in the middle – giving a good foothold into sussing out the whole pattern.

    1. Hi Jose

      I had to do did this for the first time last month and it was great fun; a real challenge but hugely rewarding.

      1. Absolutely, Tom. It is good fun and I find it rather relaxing/therapeutic somehow (I must be weird or something). They are a bit tricky at first but do get easier and easier. Today’s grid was a doddle to work out.

        1. Yep, I can see that.

          I’m going to do it that way, more often. Doing it on a Friday is a tad suicidal because it’s a big enough challenge as it is.

          Apropos of nowt….I’ve started using the word ‘because’ again because I use ‘as’ waaaaaaaaaaaay too often.

          Right, I’m glad that one’s off my chest.

  15. Straightforward? You clearly know more about 16th history than me, you clever chap! To be fair, it was largely straightforward and very clean, with only 20a requiring an emergency Google. I thought 8a was a tad flat but 17d and 20d were excellent. Your score is spot on and the 11a pic tickled me. Thanks to the setter and Mr K, of course.

  16. Just popped to see what Mr K thought of this and realised I hadn’t done 6d. So funny as having been in France for 50 years the ‘sulk’ homophobe means ‘ break wind’, which always springs to mind first rather than tiff/sulk! My other problem was with 8a as I spent ages trying to find a metal associated with Omega! (And I’ve a degree in chemistry).
    Loved 20a as I first learned of it 60/70 years ago and it’s stuck earworm-like ever since!
    Liked 3 & 4d, took forever to see the latter. Always find rekruls hard to see.
    I’m addition to 5&20a already mentioned liked 13a and 17a, the latter winning Gold today!
    Many thanks to today’s compiler and to Mr K.

  17. I’m with those who found this less tricky than last Friday – I thought it was very enjoyable and pitched at exactly the right level for a Friday with great clues throughout. Thanks to our setter and Mr K.
    I ticked 17a, 20a, 3d, 17d and 20d.

  18. Definitely Silvanus (or ProXimal doing a very good impression?) but thankfully gentler than usual. Thought it might be a pangram until ran out of space to fit in the Q and the Z! Enjoyed 11a and 20a, needed hints for 20d but not sure why – very clever. Good challenge.

  19. For me, this was a tough but elegant puzzle. The west went in fairly swiftly, but the east was another kettle of fish. The 20a/20d combo held me up for ages and in the end I resorted to Mr K’s hints. Why oh why I didn’t think of that most famous Diet and Martin Luther, I just don’t know. Many great clues, including the pesky 20a, but my vote for cotd is 18a. Hats off to the compiler and Mr K for the hints.

  20. Almost completed unaided but 6d escaped me. I had never heard of that prefix meaning sulk. 20a was also completely new to me but it had to be that.
    I loved 17a, 21a and 24a. The hints were very helpful today, as I couldn’t parse several. Thankyou, Mr K. Thanks also to the setter whomsoever it may be (I can never tell).

  21. Many thanks to Mr K for his Hints and Tips and to everyone commenting, ’twas not me yesterday, but ’tis me today!

    I was definitely thinking more about biscuits for the Quick Pun, I’m very partial to that variety, especially the chocolate ones :-) I’m also glad to know that they can be obtained in certain parts of Canada, it seems.

    May I wish everyone a good weekend.

    1. When DD1 did her occupational nursing course she spent some months at United Biscuits and on one occasion families
      were invited to have a tour of the factory. Until you have eaten a Digestive straight off the production line, you have not lived!
      Many thanks for a challenging guzzle, 4d was my LOI as I the lurk was so well disguised.

  22. I enjoyed today’s puzzle with the last penny to drop being the 2d film.
    The ones that I liked most were 17a, 24a and 20d.

    1. Hi RD and GS.

      I saw it as slightly cryptic as ‘symbol’ has two meanings: 1) something that represents something else which, in this case, is shaped like a horseshoe and made of metal, e.g a magnet, and 2) the chemical symbol.

      Admittedly, it’s not asking much from the solver but I liked the double meaning.

    2. RD/G, 8a. Admittedly, it’s a pretty clement clue and not very “cryptic”, with no word-play to speak of. If it was a straight clue it would only need to be “Metal” (the actual clue definition). The clue is (some might argue) “cryptic” in the sense that it is a mildly puzzling/obscure/mysterious way of describing the answer and you do have to know/discover which metal has a symbol of that shape. And since it contains “Metal …….. from horseshoe……” some (gullible) people might be lured into thinking about iron. Also, what TDS65 said above. I’m afraid that’s the best I can do to defend the setter …

  23. I’m with Tipcat and ALP on this re difficulty with a couple of unparsed bung-ins and ultimately defeated by 20a as if never heard of such a thing, I’ll admit my religious knowledge is pretty sketchy, and the actual answer I’d dismissed a being too unlikely. This completes a rather dismal week for me with only yesterday’s back pager and toughie being completed in a reasonable time. Thanks to the setter anyway and Mr. K.

  24. Good afternoon

    Well, the pen has been laid down, and after a long tussle with the Brain Of Silvanus, I can honestly say I enjoyed the challenge, for challenge it most certainly was!

    I have to admit defeat on the very last clue: 3d. I could not get the word LION out of my head for the second word, and went off to Google-land searching for types of lion with – L – S as the first word; eventually I checked in with Mr K here and realised I’d been completely wrong-footed. So it’s a DNF.

    Lots of contenders for COTD, I’m handing the prize to 15a.

    My thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K.

  25. Delighted to have finished a Friday puzzle unaided, with 24a being my favourite clue. Thank you Silvanus , and MrK for once I did not need you!

  26. That was by no means a walk in the park but I made it thanks to a couple of tips from MrG in the SE. Parsing 16d was hampered by trying to use wrong thousand abbreviation. Not sure about surface of 20d. Thank you to Silvanus for revealing yourself as setter of this demanding exercise and to MrK for hinting.

  27. Another great puzzle that I found relatively straightforward but with the right level of challenge. As many I couldn’t parse 6d even with Mr K hints , and have just read with amuselement Smylers deduction with the aid of computing.I do love techies ! Thanks to the setter and to Mr K

  28. Very late as it has been a busy day, as was yesterday – that guzzle was completed in bed this morning and I
    have only just sat down to work on this one. Thanks for the hint on the Duchess, I completely missed that and
    for the extraordinarily smug looking cat. I have already thanked Mr. Sylvanus Setter (definitely could be the name
    of a Hogwarts professor). I am miffed with the editor of your august paper for not printing my letter. It was far better
    than those he printed this morning. I told the world that I learned to type in the ex-ballroom of a large mansion in
    Wimbledon with a metal guard over the keyboard and pennies balanced on the backs of our hands. This ensured good
    typing posture but all you could hear was the pennies rolling over the parquet floor. Much more interesting. I am having a 6d sulk.
    17a was my favourite

  29. Very much enjoyed this solve and so many of the answers when then were wriggled out felt rewarding. Learnt about the horseshoe-shaped symbol en route. Last in was 6 d. Those 4 letter words can be so annoying. Take issue with 20 across. Sloppy scientific definitions are so wrong. A grub is not a worm although it may look like a worm. Many thanks to Mr.K and Silvanus.

    1. Thank you, I imagine 20a got “wriggled out” particularly? ;-) Chambers gives “grub” as one of the definitions of 20a, rightly or wrongly.

      1. They’re grubby sods as far as I’m concerned & worm casts are real nuisance on the golf course. Thanks for the puzzle incidentally – if I’d had this one & yesterday’s puzzle in front of me & was forced to go all in on as to which one was by you it would have been the poor house for me.

  30. Hard work but most enjoyable, and a DNF in the NE with three, 8a, 4d and 6d unsolved. Shame on me for missing the rekrul at 4d. Three stood out for me, 17a 16d, and the tops 20a for the memories of silly schooldays. Teachers are saints.
    Thank you Silvanus for the fun, a huge surprise for a Friday, and Mr. K for helping me reach the finish tape.

  31. I had more success today. I always start with the down clues so solving 7d was a good start. 17a was my favourite with 13a coming a close second.
    I still needed the hints to get finished so thankyou Mr K. Also thankyou for the challenge Mr S.
    I had a late start today as I was watching the tennis. I hope Jack Draper continues to do well.

  32. As with last Friday I struggled with this one. However, I did answer a little under half of the clues, which is far better than last week.

    Onward and upward as they say.

  33. A great Friday challenge which kept me occupied (in several goes) until now, certainly no walk in the park for me, but then it is Friday. I needed the hints to understand my answers to 6d and 17d. The lurker at 4d was well hidden, I liked 7a which helped get rid of the wrong first word in 3d (I could not get star sign out of my head).

    Many thanks to Silvanus for another classy offering and to Mr K for the essential hints.

    On a separate note, and really a question for those who now run the blog. Do we think that there would be any merit in the hints including a brief list (which could be revealed one by one) of a few of the subtypes of clues eg Anagrams 1a,6d, 7a and lurkers 2d , 20a. Obviously not for prize puzzles.
    I know when I first started out that I stubbornly did not want to admit defeat and look at the hints. I just wondered if having another option would help someone who is stuck get going. I appreciate this may be more work and considered completely unnecessary or unhelpful so please feel free to ignore. I think the site is brilliant already and this is not in any way a criticism, thank you for all that you all do.

    1. Interesting idea. Presumably we’d have to preface the hints with a separate list of the clues with each clue type hidden under a Click here button beside it. That’s quite a lot of additional work for our volunteer bloggers, so we’d need to see significant demand for it. It might be easier to post a comment asking for somebody to reply with just the type of a particular clue and nothing more.

      1. Thanks Mr K. I certainly don’t think it should be done if it is a lot of work. I had really thought it would only help for anagrams and lurkers as other types of clue are trickier to define and just knowing what type they are would not have helped me as a novice, the hints are essential for that.

  34. I got on better with this guzzle than any other during this week. I think my MoJo might be returning! 🤣

    I didn’t manage to finish unaided but what I did manage was satisfying. Ticks go to the undecorated cake at 24a and the lady bearing gifts at 9d but my COTD is audacious bishop at 5d.

    Many thanks to the setter for bringing me halfway back on track. Thank you, Mr K for the hints.

  35. Wow. What a busy day. I solved the puzzle over breakfast and it’s been non-stop since then.

    Just briefly. This was another exceptional puzzle after yesterday’s delight, and I am going to give it the same rating: 2.5*/5*+.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K.

  36. I have loved this crossword group for years and have truly appreciated all the hints and help. Today’s crossword was a bit of a struggle and this was not 3 star difficulty – far more !! Happy days!

  37. Was a bit confused by 14d. Why not just clue it as “after maths”? Maths is a period at school. “Sets of consequences following period at school” or something.

    1. Hi Mike

      If it was a Monday crossword then your suggestion makes sense. But, as it’s a Friday – the hardest puzzle of the week – the clue needs to require more work, i.e A F term at HS

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