DT 30523 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30523

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30523
Hints and tips by Huntsman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Rain overnight and a drab looking start to the day here in Harpenden. Can’t see any more of the wet stuff in the forecast so a walk later looks on the cards.

I thought today’s AP puzzle was very enjoyable indeed & nicely clued throughout. Maybe a tad trickier than yesterday but gentle nevertheless. Congratulations to Steve & Jose (Synergy) on their debut yesterday in Rookie Corner  & I see that old blogger, Stephen, is back today in the Toughie slot.

In the following hints, definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual. Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle.


1a Short comb – tricky problem for Barber? (8)
COMPOSER: truncate (short) comb in the clue + a word that could describe a tricky problem.

5a Sterilisers and cleansers primarily- hospital department’s smells (5)
SCENTS: the first letters (primarily) of Sterilisers & Cleansers + the possessive form for our usual hospital department.

9a A bird caught by sweet European showing talent (8)
APTITUDE: A from the clue + an abbreviated word for the sweet course into which you insert (caught by) a small songbird then finish with the single letter for European.

10a Partly regrets isolating flipping relative (6)
SISTER: a reverse lurker (partly/flipping) found in the two words between the indicators.

12a Plain ugly green ties (9)
SERENGETI: an anagram (ugly) of GREEN TIES.

13a Is framing prisoner’s portraits (5)
ICONS: place an abbreviated synonym for a prisoner inside of IS in the clue.

14a Rolls cut the wrong way (4)
BUNS: reverse (the wrong way) a synonym for cut or cold-shoulder.

16a Retiring soldier (7)
PRIVATE: double definition.

19a Novel about bear almost biting Charlie twice (7)
REBECCA: a two letter preposition for about + BEAr from the clue less the final letter (almost) into which you insert twice the letter Charlie represents in the NATO phonetic alphabet. The novel is a 1938 Gothic tale filmed  two years later by Hitchcock in what was his first American film & winning the Best Picture Oscar.

21a Cud-chewing animal with no tail arrived (4)
CAME: take off the last letter (no tail) of an ungulate ideally suited to the desert habitat.

24a Wife taken in by brand’s promise (5)
SWEAR: insert the single letter for Wife into a synonym for brand as in what you may do to cattle for identification purposes.

25a One chap maintaining drink temperature’s crucial (9)
IMPORTANT: the Roman numeral for one + a synonym for chap into which you insert (maintaining drink) a fortified wine from the Douro region & finish with the single letter for Temperature.

27a Adult in party lay bare (6)
REVEAL: insert the single letter for Adult into a verb meaning to party.

28a Moving on a super sledge finally leaving South Pole? (8)
EUROPEAN : an anagram (moving) of On A sUPER (leaving South) + the last letter (finally) of sledgE. A neat surface.

29a Finish fixing motorway exits (6)
ENDING: remove the single letter for motorway from another word for fixing.

30a Studied a small river entering sea? (8)
MEASURED : insert (entering) A from the clue + the single letter for Small + a Yorkshire river that becomes the Ouse all into an abbreviation of the sea off southern Europe.


1d Vulgar programme on the radio (6)
COARSE: a homophone (on the radio) of a synonym for programme.

2d Fully developed ancient city in China (6)
MATURE: insert (in) a Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia into China (Cockney rhyming slang).

3d Cushion scratching head frequently (5)
OFTEN: remove the first letter (scratching head) from a synonym of cushion (verb).

4d Loads of boyfriend lessons? Only some (7)
ENDLESS: a lurker (only some) found between the definition & indicator.

6d Panning chapter on organised crime – it is lacking energy (9)
CRITICISM: an anagram (organised) of CRIMe IT IS (lacking Energy) & the single letter for Chapter. I’d have pegged this quicker if my bleary eyes hadn’t read the first word as planning.

7d State answer in Latin with no struggling (8)
NATIONAL: an anagram (struggling) of the single letter for Answer + LATIN & NO.

8d Draws attention to small locks (8)
STRESSES : the letter for Small + another word for locks (of hair)

11d Chicken with monkey (4)
WIMP: the single letter for With + a word for monkey in the sense of little rascal.

15d Nicer tuna at sea? Not certain (9)
UNCERTAIN: a straightforward anagram (at sea) of NICER TUNA.

17d Marmalade, perhaps, Paddington’s opening with reticence (8)
PRESERVE: the first letter of Paddington (opening) + a synonym for reticence.

18d Watched old boy work for diamonds (8)
OBSERVED: the two letter abbreviation for old boy + a synonym of a verb meaning to work for + the single letter for diamonds (card suit)

20d Writer wrong to avoid conclusion (4)
AMIS: delete the last letter (avoid conclusion) from a synonym for wrong) Take your pick from father & son

21d Seize antidote suitable to be consumed (7)
CAPTURE: insert (to be consumed) a synonym for suitable into what an antidote would effect.

22d Zoom calling (6)
CAREER: double definition.

23d High notes played by daughter (6)
STONED: an anagram (played) of NOTES + the genealogical abbreviation for Daughter.

26d Areas in buildings male wears little jumpers? (5)
ROOMS: insert the single letter for Male (wears) into a shortened form (little) of the Aussie marsupials.

My favourite clue today was 28a with podium spots for 17d & 19a. Please tell us which ones ticked your boxes.

The most famous piece by the fella at 1a is Adagio for Strings which I’m pretty sure I first heard in the soundtrack to Oliver Stone’s Platoon.

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: BAR + SOL+ OWNER =  BARCELONA 


90 comments on “DT 30523
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  1. This one fell easily at */*** and was pleasant. My favourite was 1a because of the clever misdirection. The 5 anagrams certainly oiled the wheels. Good Tuesday fare. Thanks Huntsman and the setter.

  2. Very enjoyable start to the day; thanks to setter. Slight hold up in the SE corner but, overall **/**** for me. Favourites were 2D &3D.

  3. Another solid offering from Professor Plumb who is such a consistent compiler.

    28a took me an age to solve but, as Hoots Mon has said, it is an excellent construction.

    It has always tickled me how a 1d four letter word is at the end of 1d.

    My podium is 1a, 12a that is having a good run out at the moment and 28a.

    Many thanks to AP and our own Barry Norman.


    1. I’ve never noticed that about 1d. :-)

      I need some advice on a non-crossword subject. When I empty the Inbox on my Outlook/Hotmail account I get a nice little picture of a hot air balloon and a message saying: All done for the day. Enjoy your empty inbox.

      I’m at a loss! How can I avail myself of this enjoyment they are so thoughtfully offering?

        1. Also, I emptied my Inbox at 9.30 this morning, so highly unlikely to be “All done for the day”. In fact, the entire message is a complete nonsense! You’d think a huge, hi-tech organisation like Microsoft could do better than that. If they’re listening, the message should simply be: Your Inbox is currently emply.

          As you were! :-)

          1. You have to feel better for getting that off your chest, J.

            This blog is so good for letting off steam.

            1. Oh for goodness sake boys! Behave.
              I might tell you the cautionary tale of grandson no. 2 staying with me and stretching out bedtime. Me – Come on JJ, finish cleaning your teeth and get into bed. JJ. ‘Mummy makes me clean my teeth with soap’.
              Me ‘Soap, don’t be silly, of course she doesn’t ‘
              JJ ‘well, she did when I called William a xxxx’
              Now that’s what I call parenting!

              1. Haha! My parenting would’ve been “JJ, you may have been right, but it was rude to say it” 😂

                I’m sure you’ve had your 1d moments at times though 🧐 but I’m too polite to ask about them 😇

  4. Great fun! But why did I take so long with 28a? Kicked myself when penny dropped.
    12a becoming too good an old friend I think?
    Thanks to compiler.

  5. Definitely a Tuesdayish offering from Mr Plumb which didn’t cause any problems and was very enjoyable. Lots of clever clues with good surface reads and amusing misdirection. Having been there a time or two I’m trying to think of another word to replace ‘plain’ in 12a. Serengeti is catching up with orchestra in the most popular answers competition and is always clued as a plain. I’m just after a bit of variety! It’s most unlike me to choose an anagram for favourite but 28a has to take top spot today. Lots of runners up to choose from but I’ll go for 1a and 26d. Thanks to Mr Plumb for the pleasure and Huntsman, whose help wasn’t needéd today but whose music choices I much enjoyed.

          1. Very good, and better I think than this from The Times a fortnight ago

            Plain and clear cops good with this on occasion (9)

        1. You’d have to be careful using llano (not liano) for 12a because, although it’s probably the right sort of terrain, it is from the Spanish and somewhat specific to Central and South America.

  6. 1.5*/4*. Very nice – light and great fun from start to finish with 28a needing the most head scratching and taking top place closely followed by 1a.

    Many thanks presumably to Anthony Plumb and to Hintsman.

  7. The week continues in gentle strain except for SE where 28a and 30a were slow to parse.17a hint delightfully brought to mind the late dear Queen Elizabeth’s Paddington Bear sketch. I agree with JF above re bad penny in 2d. Thank you Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  8. Very pleasant puzzle today with 28a taking the longest to solve.
    I particularly liked 1a, 14a, 28a, 11d and 26d.
    Thanks to Huntsman and setter.
    I found the Toughie ‘do-able’ today too so if you usually shy away from them do give it a go.

      1. Absolutely, Huntsman – it’s very approachable and well worth the effort, especially with it being from “one of our own”!

  9. I was fooled by 28a. I had the O and N, and saw that ‘toboggan’ would fit, even tho I could not parse it.
    Thanks to setter and Huntsman.

  10. Lovely to meet old
    Friends eg 12, 16 and
    Very clever 1a, my
    Last in following
    A 1* time completion.
    3d my COTD.
    Many thanks to the
    Setter and Huntsman.

  11. I entered a Comment today on my Iphone (usually use my Ipad) and had reply saying it was in moderation. I wonder if my changed method of transmission has caused this because Comment has now disappeared?

  12. Not quite Typically Tuesdayish with Mr Plumb being, as Huntsman said in the prologue, a tad trickier but just as enjoyable – 2.5*/4*

    Standout favourite – 2d.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and Huntsman.

  13. Quite entertaining but I did need the hints to explain my answers to 10a (well hidden reverse lurker) and 28a which was just so complicated. Unimpressed with 11d, just don’t see the synonym for monkey.
    Apart from that a pleasant solve.
    Thx for the hints text working well

  14. Took a while to accept that 1a couldn’t be comb-over and to find the relevant pole but all else proceeded smoothly. No particular favourite but smiles from the chicken monkey and the zoom calling.

    Thanks to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman for the hints and soothing adagio.

    1. I was convinced it was combover as well Jane. Didn’t know it was wrong until I saw your comment. I think it works just as well though 😊.

  15. This was really enjoyable , straightforward and a satisfying solve. So seems like we know it’s Mr Plumb but how? I think last time he left a calling card but I can’t see anything in this one or am I being slow ? Thanks to him , and Huntsman.

    1. To be honest Jenny I pretty well just assume it’s him. In the 30 + blogs I’ve done I can’t recall another Tuesday setter other than when someone subbed for me & our old Tuesday blogger gave us a Tuesday puzzle. His style of crossword doesn’t vary a great deal & usually contains a fair number of single letter insertions/deletions. Senf knows all about the grids he uses but that’s a mystery to me. I wish he’d occasionally pop in & comment like many of the others do.

      1. The clearest, perhaps least fuzzy, indication that Anthony Plumb is today’s, and most Tuesday’s, setter is the Quickie grid which we have been advised by two(?) other setters is the only one he uses. He did also use only a small number of 15 x 15 grids but that does not seem to apply any more.

        The ‘someone’ who subbed for Huntsman was me more than three months ago. This is the Quickie from that day and you can see how different it is to today’s.


  16. I found this tricky in places, and more difficult than other commentators, but probably par for the course for me with Mr P’s offerings. Took an age sorting out the four letter answers but 28a I thought was a gem and is my cotd. Thanks to Mr P and Huntsman.

  17. A Good Puzzle. Was delayed by 28a where I’d misread the instruction, removed an e and added an s, and ended up with an anagram that made no sense whatsoever; restarting the clue with the other possible interpretation made it all rather more apparent. Podium places to 1a (& thank you Huntsman for the beautiful adagio), 10a (great surface and answer) and 30a.

    1.5* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to Huntsman

  18. Last two in 11 , not impressed, and 14 , for which I put Tucs ( rolls royce of clothes) . reverse of cuts.Never mind , it was a good puzzle whilst it lasted Favourite 9a
    Thanks to all.

  19. What larks! Superb misdirection at 1a to get the ball rolling followed by a plethora of great clues making the morning coffee go down a treat. The plain at 12a is rapidly becoming a bed fellow of “orchestra” as both are clued in so many different ways. I had a laugh at the rolls being cut the wrong way at 14a and 10a was a superb lurker. My COTD is 29a.

    Many thanks, Mr. Plumb for the terrific fun. Thank you, Hintsman for the hunts and your congratulations. I just love the adagio. 👍

    Sunny and chilly in The Marches so a long walk with Hudson beckons before returning to an essay on three dimensional imaging systems. 🤪

      1. Unfortunately not good, DG. She’s been sick all night and feels dreadful. I’m hoping it’s the upheaval and stress of leaving hospital after two months lying on her back. I think I would feel ill to begin with.

  20. This seemed to be very doable until we came to 28a and it took a ridiculous amount of time to dish the South and concentrate on the Pole. Very neat misdirection. 14s was favourite by a long way, really made me smile but I also admired 1,10,19 & 35a and 3,7,11 &17d. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Hintsman. I shall certainly try the toughie tonight. We had quite a chunky hedgehog wandering around the garden midday yesterday. He really should not be out and about – I told him to go back and snuggle into his leaves.

  21. Found this Tuesday offering to be a normal sort of puzzle for the day.
    A few stinkers in the clues in that they were tricky, but with a little head scratching all came to light.


    Favourites include 5a, 14a, 29a, 17d, 22d & 26d — with winner 26d

    Thanks to setter & Huntsman for hints/blog

  22. I ended up taking a bit longer on this than I expect for a Tuesday, mostly because I took way too long on 1a and 2d and also my LOI 20d.
    I am somewhat uncomfortable with 7d and struggle to find the right part of speech to come up with a satisfactory simile, I keep wanting to add an ally…
    Never the less a good guzzle with lots to admire and amuse including my fave of the day 28a.
    Thanks to Huntsman and Mr p

        1. Oh dear, quite right of course TDS, no need for your coat.
          My stodgy grey matter having just reached the ripe old age of 65 has obviously decided it’s retiring whether I like it or not…

  23. I found this a bit trickier than normal and got stuck on 28a but got there in the end. Lots of fun clues especially 1a which was my favourite,

    Many thanks to Mr P and to Huntsman for the hints

  24. I managed this without help but I did struggle to understand the “why” of many, so thanks Hintsman for explaining so much, not least of which is 28a. Another one was 24a, couldn’t figure that one out at all. I’m surprised that all my answers are correct. I pick 19a as fave, one of the best Dumaurier offerings, loved her books.
    Thanks to Mr. Plumb for the challenge, and to Hintsman for his hints and tips.

    1. I have a soft spot for Don’t Look Now, one of her short stories. I only read it after seeing Nic Roeg’s wonderfully atmospheric film adaptation of it which would be in my top 10 of post war British films. If you’ve not seen it you really should.

  25. Well, this was very jolly. I think 28a just about takes it but I did like 20d. RIP x 2. Thanks to AP and may I just applaud Huntsman for the 23d Camberwell Carrot!

      1. Shame though and it’s probably the least sweary scene in the whole film. But you did, of course, make the right decision!

  26. A very pleasant way to start a Tuesday was with this crossword over breakfast. Favourites were 1ac, 14d and 29ac, which produced a long sigh from us! But finished before the end of breakfast so */**** from us.

  27. An enjoyable solve today, with the SW corner going in first. Had to verify my answers for a few, but my main problem was going with the wrong meaning for the definition in more than one clue, e.g. plain. Had answer for 24a despite the clue which led me absolutely nowhere. Thanks to setter for getting me in the rhythm of solving and to Huntsman.
    In the middle of a cold snap here, won’t be wearing shorts and T-shirt for Bocce this afternoon…

  28. So enjoy reading the comments. We will be watching the film Don’t Look Now from Huntsman and Daisygirl’s affirmation. So a thanks to Mr. Plumb, Huntsman and you all.

  29. An enjoyable solve for me too, today. Filled the grid in fairly consistently with a couple of minor delays but the SE corner was the last area to fall with 28a being my final solve. Many thanks to Mr Plumb and to Huntsman. Loved the Paddington illustration (how I wish I was still an innocent child when he appeared on our screens) and thank you for the Adagio.

  30. Good evening

    Reading through today’s comments, I am relieved to see (from Mustafa G, above) that I’m not the only one who misread the instructions of 28a and ended up with a meaningless bundle of letters.

    Nice to see 12a making another appearance; I almost failed yet again to spot the classic misdirection in 2d – “China”; and despite a few contenders, it has to be 1a for COTD.

    MY thanks to Mr P and to Huntsman.

  31. A pleasant puzzle today. It took me a lot longer to parse 28a than to solve it! Making the same errors as others so COTD. Most of the rest was pretty straightforward. Thanks to the setter and Huntsman.

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