DT 30531 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30531

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30,531
Hints and tips by Shabbo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A pleasant puzzle with a couple of clues which required some additional thought. 17a and 16d were my LOIs and it took me a while to work out the anagram “fodder” in 17a. I also didn’t help the cause by biffing ORNAMENTS for 15d, which one could perhaps argue are “products that soothe”, but the wordplay, of course, suggests otherwise. Quite a tricky clue to parse, I thought.

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 British crossword setter keeping green suit (6)
BECOME: abbreviation for British + how our setter might refer to himself outside (keeping) synonym of green (as in environmental).

4a Criminal more self-satisfied when pocketing pound (8)
SMUGGLER: synonym for more self-satisfied outside (pocketing) abbreviation for pound.

9a Sort of rock eaten by two lots of small children (6)
SPROGS: a genre of rock music inside (eaten by) SS (two lots of small). This tested my knowledge of popular music to the limit!

10a Small sea organisms in large quantity on board (8)
PLANKTON: a large quantity (think weight) after a synonym of board (as in strip of wood).

11a Awfully rich Republican and leading editor tweeted (9)
CHIRRUPED: anagram of RICH + abbreviation for Republican + two-letter word meaning leading + abbreviation for editor. Assemble that lot and then go for a lie-down.

13a What odds might be – or what they certainly aren’t! (5)
EVENS: a cryptic definition.

14a Rocking crib with loud claim this connects mother and child (9,4)

17a Doctor identifying ailments indicating a case of otitis needs treating (13)
DIAGNOSTICIAN: anagram (needs treating) of INDICATING + A + OS (the outside letters or case of OtitiS)

21a Captain lethargically tours strip of water (5)
INLET: a hidden word clue (tours). Our answer is concealed in the first two words of the clue.

23a Person knowing little criminal roaming America (9)
IGNORAMUS: anagram (criminal) of ROAMING + US.

24a Where drinkers are left in charge openly (2,6)
IN PUBLIC: where drinkers might be found (two words) + abbreviation for left + abbreviation for in charge.

25a Son getting Schwarzenegger lunch, perhaps (6)
SARNIE: abbreviation for son + Schwarzenegger’s given name (abbreviated) gives us a slang word for something that one might have for lunch.

26a Trying extremely efficacious maxim (8)
ESSAYING: first and last (extremely) letters of efficacious + a synonym of maxim.

27a Consumes a portion of grouse supper (4,2)
USES UP: a hidden word(s) clue indicated here by “a portion of”. The answer is hidden in words 5 & 6.


1d Keen on men and women, faction split in half (6)
BISECT: a short word meaning attracted to both sexes + a synonym of faction.

2d Unfinished Indian dish – starters of it coming up later among courses (9)
CURRICULA: popular Indian dish without the final letter (unfinished) + the initial letters (starters of) words 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10.

3d Game briefly cooked with herb in African region (7)
MAGHREB: an anagram (cooked) of GAMe + HERB produces a region in NW Africa which embraces several countries.

5d Curse the way men enunciate (11)
MALEDICTION: a slightly cryptic clue which might have warranted a question mark at the end? We need to link a meaning “masculine” and a word meaning “manner of speaking”.

6d Cultured chap, a slippery customer (7)
GENTEEL: abbreviation of a well-to-do man + a slippery type of fish.

7d Tool used to shape large articles (5)
LATHE: abbreviation for large + the indefinite and definite articles.

8d Model desiring great place to sit (8)
RINGSIDE: anagram (model) of DESIRING.

12d Least tanned, trendy Scot one encountered in the Middle East (11)
PALESTINIAN: synonym of least tanned + synonym of trendy + a common Scottish given name.

15d Oscar determined to bag M & S products that soothe (9)
OINTMENTS: NATO alphabet letter signifying Oscar + a synonym of determined outside (to bag) M + the letter S at the end. Tricky.

16d About to leave very moreish food enhancer (8)
ADDITIVE: single-letter abbreviation for “about” removed from (to leave) a word meaning “very moreish”.

18d Remarkably majestically welcoming cheers (7)
NOTABLY: synonym of majestically outside (welcoming) short word meaning “thanks”.

19d Encroachments where the Colossus stood, we hear (7)
INROADS: one needs to know the island where the Colossus statue was erected way back in 280 BC. Make a homophone of that (we hear) and you will find a synonym of encroachments.

20d Like old Tory PM Robert, turning up in a comatose state (6)
ASLEEP: synonym of “like” + the surname upside down (turning up) of an early Tory politician who founded the Met Police and who served two terms as PM.

22d Hillsides not primarily suitable for runs (5)
LOPES: synonym for hillsides without the first initial S (not primarily suitable).


87 comments on “DT 30531
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  1. Second cracker in a row, loved it. Not easy by any means, and very tough to get started, but once I had a few (clues), it just got easier towards the end.
    I’ve never been keen on the word at 9a, nor the term ‘kids’ for that matter.
    I always remember some charmer shouting at a barmaid from the door of a pub
    “Oi, you let kids in ere?”, mind you, his wife did look rather like a goat, so maybe he had a point….
    Another memory flooded back when I got 23a, a delivery driver once called me an
    ‘ignorainius’, had to smile at the irony of that one.
    Many favourites once again, but the top two have to be 1a and the seldom used 11a.
    Many thanks compiler, great fun.

  2. This was right up my strasse: an excellent workout and fairly clued.

    My geography is half-decent but 3d was a new one but it couldn’t be anything else. Duly noted. 25a has and will never pass my lips, so to speak. I wince when I hear people say it.

    11a is an interesting one because I had to think twice about putting a single or double consonant before the final e. I can’t think of another multi-syllable verb that ends with the last four letters where the first one is a short vowel. It’s that classic ‘single or double rr’ poser: when spelling ‘offered’ and ‘preferred’, it’s a double r if the emphasis is on the ‘er’.

    So many to choose from but I’ll go with 23a, 5d and 12d as my podium.

    Many thanks to the setter and Shabbs.


    1. Tom, at the risk of being considered a bit risqué (which I don’t mind) I suggest that tittuped may be a word you seek.
      Before the censor wields his/her red pen, please note that this action relates to horses.

      1. That is outstanding. What a fabulous word.

        The definition is ‘Exaggerated prancing, bouncing movement’. So, the obvious meaning isn’t far away.

        Thank you for broadening my knowledge, Pipsqueak.

    2. In my long ago days, when working in Liverpool, friends and I used to go for lunch to Anderson’s where 25a was the only choice, and the standing area was surrounded by many shelves of them. People milled around helping themselves and as they left they told the cashier how much they owed – as far as I know everyone was honest.
      And so, dear reader, I used the Liverpudlian word, despite being a ‘posh’ southerner. I still do. They were happy days. (And so are the present ones).

      1. Tom, whilst walking the dog I thought of another word to answer your query:
        The hiccough spelling is no longer in common use; hiccup is the preferred spelling for both the noun and the verb. The verb forms may be written hiccuping or hiccupping, hiccuped or hiccupped.

        1. Nice work, ‘Pip the Posh’.

          You are indeed correct. I am so glad that hiccough has been consigned to Room 101 as it should never have been spelt that way in the first place. The medical world changed it from hiccup to hiccough, thinking it was linked to coughing which it ain’t.

          I’ve just looked up its etymology and part of it says the following:

          ”An Old English word for it was ælfsogoða, so called because hiccups were thought to be caused by elves.”

          I am very, very happy with that.

          Despite them being incredibly talented cobblers, you’ve got to watch those elves.

          Talking of which….did you know that the expression ‘A load of cobblers!’ is Cockney rhyming slang?

          Cobbler’s awls.

          You can finish it off yourself or should that be yours’elves’.

          1. I was once Sheriff of Nottingham in a village panto. I was very angry that the shoemaker set up a stall with the logo ‘Cobblers to the Sheriff’.
            Infamy, infamy, they all had it in for me.

            1. Don’t get me started on the most wonderful ‘Carry on…crew’.

              The etymology of sheriff is a goodie: the reeve of the shire.

            2. Chap goes into a shop…
              “Can I have some of those red shoes like the Pope wears? If you really are Cobblers to the Pope”

              “This isn’t a shoe shop, it is The Atheist Society – if you look closely at the sign it also says Bx?&ocks to The Archbishop of Canterbury”

                1. Tom, re 3d couldn’t be anything else. I put it to you, if you didn’t know it, how did you choose between Maghreb and Mehgrab? 🤔

                    1. You are indeed correct, Gorb. Forgive me.

                      It could easily have been Mehgrab which, looking at its spelling, would make a setter lick their lips.

                      Onwards, Borg!

                  1. Oops!

                    I’ve just seen your second post.

                    Let’s hope it doesn’t come up in a crossy again though I will never forget it!

  3. A curate’s egg of a curate’s egg for me today in that I found the bottom half straight forward and in the top I found the right half straight forward – which is a painstakingly longwinded way of saying I was slowed down by the NW corner! However once I committed to the first five letters of the obvious Indian dish in 2d that clue fell into place as then did the remainder of the corner…
    I liked 11a, 15d &19d, and I loved 24a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Shaboo

  4. Thank you to today’s setter for another fun puzzle, which was pitched just right for me (i.e. easier than I find most, especially on a Thursday).

    Highlights included 4a’s self-satisfied criminal, 9a’s sort of rock, 24a’s drinkers, and 2d’s courses, with 19d being my Colossal favourite.

  5. 1d and 24a were the highlights for me both giving rise to a smile. A steady **/**** for me. Not a RayT I think but I am usually wrong! The anagrams were helpful. A good Thursday solve. Thanks Shabbo and the setter.

    1. Correct on this not being Ray T for many reasons, with the most definitive being that he’s on Toughie duty today (listed as Beam in the sidebar on the Big Dave homepage).

  6. I loved this. The SW corner was the last to fall as, like Shabbo, I took a while to sort out the anagram fodder in 17a. Speaking of anagrams ( and from one who is no real lover) I liked the apposite indicator at 14a. 2d and 12d, both my kind of clue, are joint favourites today with honourable mention for the lovely words at 11a and 5d. Thanks to our setter and Shabbo..

  7. The only one I couldn’t parse without research was 9a. The answer was obvious, but I had never heard of the genre of rock (although I regularly listen to Pink Floyd).
    Many thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle, and to Shabbo for the write-up.

    1. Agree with you about 9a. Took forever to Google the kind of rock that was needed. Everything after PF is regressive…

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this tricky little devil, with several worthy contenders for favourite from a healthy clue mix. 16 and 19d came out on top.

    My thanks to our setter and Shabbo.

  9. Definitely tricky for me but I have got there. I did not know 3d and I needed the hints to explain my parsing of a couple, I too tried ornaments in 15d after trying in vain to fit the m and s inside a word for determined. Several of the anagram indicators were well disguised or partial which made it more challenging. 4a was my favourite.

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

  10. Not sure my brain is in gear this morning as this took nearly twice my usual time to complete. Some fairly obvious pennies (rock context in particular) took far longer than they ought to have to drop. Anyway I thought it was a cracking guzzle with many excellent clues. 1,17&24a along with 8,12&16d the standouts for me of which 12d would be my pick.
    Thanks to the setter & to Shabbo whose review I’ll now read.

    1. Couldn’t figure out why my Quickie grid was incorrect – anyone else put in [redacted – we are asked not to comment on ‘other’ puzzles in case it spoils the solve for someone else] Seems a valid answer to me.

      1. Oh dear, I was going to reply (I did flirt with that too, yes) but fear redaction! But … talking of another puzzle, ie yesterday’s (I’m pretty sure that’s OK!) did anyone ever confirm the setter? I know you and Jane thought it was Robyn, whereas Gazza (his judgement, unlike mine, is certainly sound) and I didn’t/still don’t. Robyn never seems to pop in to confirm or deny. But I’d love to know. Surely, some of our top brass has the gen? PS today’s was delightful, a real crowd-pleaser.

  11. A super one today. I thought I’d “just do a couple of the easy ones” at 12am last night, and got so engrossed I ended up finishing it. Favourites were 5d for being clever and being a lovely word, and 21a for the surface. ***/****

  12. I agree with phanciful, a curate’s egg for me which needed a supper break part way through for a reboot. Not a Ray T Thursday for the usual reasons and I don’t think this is a production of his ‘more regular’ substitute. So, a Loonie on today’s setter being Twmbarlwm. ***/***

    No standout favourites, but smiles for 4a, 25a, and 22d.

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

  13. I can only think of one of our back-page setters who would be likely to use that particular rock so I’m thinking this was the work of our doorknob setter. He certainly made me realise that I lack confidence when it comes to spelling 3d!
    Rosettes are going to 1&10a plus 5&6d but there several others that also made me smile.

    Thanks to NYDK? and to Shabbo for the review.

  14. Another DNF for me, defeated by 1 &9 a. I thought 9a was a RAF term for new recruits. An enjoyable puzzle nevertheless. Thanks to all.

  15. 2.5*/3*. I normally start with 1a, but for some reason today my eyes came to rest on 1d first off which I solved instantly but then writing the answer in 1a creating havoc in the NW corner. When I was working, I was very familiar with 3d, so I can’t believe I misspelt it, which also didn’t help with the NW corner.

    Terence is 17a a candidate for The List?

    Thanks to the setter and to Shabbo.

  16. That was terrific – best for some time. Plenty of cleverly cryptic clues combined with a bit of GK. East beat West to it. Bunged in 9a as music unknown to me – I was looking for a hard rock. 13a, 14a and 7d are a trio of equal Favs from long list of candidates. TVM setter (look forward to knowing your identification ‘cos I’m hopeless at guessing) and also to Shabbo whose hints were fun to read although not a requirement today. 👏.

  17. I really enjoyed today’s guzzle. Some lovely misdirections and anagram indicators.
    Particular favourites were 9a, 16d and 19d.
    Thanks to Shabbo and the setter.

  18. A dnf for me today as I just could not get to grips with the compiler’s wordplay. Perhaps more application on my behalf is called for but in mitigation, I have other things to occupy me and now need to get on with. Thanks to compiler for the workout and Shabbo for the hints.

  19. Although it didn’t take all morning, far from it, but thank goodness for puzzles like this for one to solve on miserable wet days like it has been and still is today, Great fun and thoroughly absorbing. I hope tomorrow’s is as entertaining, as our forecast for the day gives very little improvement. Nominations for my favourite clue today are 1a, 9a, 14a, 1d & 20d – however my favourite is 19d. Thanks to our setter and Shabbo.

  20. I really enjoyed this. Thanks to the setter for a good Thursday morning challenge. I managed to finish, which is always a plus, but needed help with some of the parsing so thanks too for the hints.
    My favourites are 9a and 14a, both child related with the former being the nickname applied to our grandson before his parents decided on a name a couple of years ago.
    I had not heard of 3d which was my last in so, as I entered the final ‘e’, I breathed a sigh of relief when my iPad told me everything was correct. I thought it was the same as francophone Africa but now realise that one is a subset of the other.

  21. Firstly I must say I was most impressed by the response to my challenge yesterday – I take my hat off to you. I also enjoyed today’s guzzle- G has taken two friends who both have dementia for a pub lunch ( he does this every week) they all enjoy it although what the conversation is like I cannot imagine. Two of them talk rubbish and G cannot hear properly and makes incorrect comments. Hilarious. I think DaveG is right about the RAF connection with 9a, it was a well known word during my childhood. Don’t like 25a, had to look up 3d, wanted 15d to end MandS, liked 17,21,23a and 12d. Favourite is 23a but I dursn’t say why! But I am thinking of Merusa’s bloviating friend. Many thanks to Messrs Setter & Shabbo.

  22. On this off week from RayT, I found this puzzle not too trying after the first run through. The two mid puzzle long across answers as well as the two down clues gave some good fodder to work with.

    2*/3.5* for me

    Favourites include 11a, 25a, 5d, 12d, 15d & 20d — with winner 25a and 20d runner-up
    Smiles from lots, but top three were 11a, 13a & 25a

    Thanks to setter & Shabbo

  23. Not difficult given the solving time but some answers were only partly clear. Never heard of the music in 9a, I’m obviously far too old to be familiar with modern music trends.
    Thx to all

      1. You’re not wrong, Hoots Mon.

        How old is Brother Ian? In fact, has anybody met the legend?

        I wouldn’t dare as it’s never a good idea to meet your heroes.

    1. I suppose there are still p**g rock bands about today, but its heyday was in the period mid 60s to mid 70s. I always took if for granted that Led Zep were a PR group but some others (on the net) seem to disagree.

      1. I always think of early Genesis, ELP, Yes & King Crimson as the most indulgent examples. On the rare occasions I try to listen to any of it nowadays I can’t believe I used to love that sort of thing but then I thought a kaftan the height of fashion in those days.

          1. I well remember that smell. My afghan got its first outing at Reading 1977 where somehow I persuaded my ma to let me go to a festival age 15 – got very drunk on Newcastle Brown Ale & soaked through on day one.

    2. Chuckling @ “modern music trends”. It was somewhere in the late 1960s that it was first coined – if my memory is as good as I hope it is. I’d be 25 or 26 in those far off times 🤣 🤣 🤣

  24. A very nice Thursday puzzle which had fine clues providing a reasonable challenge and much enjoyment. No stand-out favourite, but I did rather like 9a. 3*/4*.

  25. Loved this one – lots of clever clues, and it felt satisfying to complete unaided. My faves were 2d and 9a. Thanks to the setter and Shabbo.

  26. Oh, that was fun. Most answers went in quite readily. North-west had me scratching my head so I went and cooked dinner and on returning pennies started dropping and I was sitting here chuckling at the brilliance of the clues. I’d initially spelt 3d wrongly, which didn’t help!

  27. Solved around half scattered all over the grid and probably had enough checkers to get more and so on to finish but couldn’t be arsed.

    Thanks to Shabbo and the setter.

  28. I really enjoyed this, though I had to work hard. I had 9a wrong, I don’t know anything about rock music. I was stuck in the NW and needed to go in for a hint for 3d; I thought my geography was pretty good but I’ve not heard of that. It got me going again and I was able to finish. Not sure I approve of 25a, but I do remember it from before. My fave is 4a, with honourable mention to 23a.
    Thank you setter for the fun. I certainly needed your unravelling of a few Shabbo, so many thanks for that.

  29. Found this straightforward but was left with 9a and 3d. I had to check out African regions and 2 different spellings were listed for the same region which was the answer. I do the crossword to help my poor ability to spell so to be given 2 spellings for the same place felt like a knife to the heart. With only 2 letters that could go into the 9 a word I figured that out. I take this as a DNC and feel sad. Otherwise a very rewarding crossword and many thanks to Shabbo and our setter.

  30. Where is it written that you must complete all crossword puzzles? It happens, there is always tomorrow – ooops, that’s Friday!

  31. A very good puzzle, tremendous fun and a most enjoyable challenge. Thought at first it was a Toughie masquerading as a back-pager, but started in the NE, progressed smoothly clockwise, and finished reasonably swiftly with a sense of some satisfaction. Great surfaces, lots of humour, with Podium Places to 17a, 2d and and 5d.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter and to Shabbo

  32. After a good run of solving, I guessed I was heading for a fall, and today was my comeuppance. I was so far off wavelength I was out in orbit. With just 13 answers filled in I am throwing in the towel. Not surprised, as I was awake from 1:30am – until around 5:00am, brain just would not shut down. That’s my excuse anyway. Might return later, but doubtful. Thanks to setter and to Shabbo. Oh heavens, it is Friday tomorrow…

  33. I found this one very tough. Eventually got them all except 9a…..I’m not a fan of that word or the so-called music .
    Liked the lunch at 25a and the place to sit at 8d.
    That’s four in a row this week that have not floated my boat, I’m sorry to say.
    Dreading looking at tomorrow’s now.
    Thanks to the setter and to Shabbo .

    Cold here but despite the yellow warning not a flake of snow so far.
    Michael Fish has a lot to answer for.

    1. Poor Michael Fish. Is he still around? I was in Wales that October (I think) when he said “no hurricane is coming”. I was due to return to London the next day but the roads were all blocked!

      1. On that night a downstairs door was rattling. I went barefoot to wedge it……..and trod in a juicy mess the cat had made. 🐈‍⬛ 💩

  34. Fairly whizzed through this delightful puzzle despite 3d being new to me and I thought 1d was a bit odd. Nearly as hard to pick a favourite as in the Beam toughie but I’ll go with 5d. Thanks to the setter and Shabbo.

  35. Rarely comment in the forum as I tend to do the crosswords later than the day they’re published, however I loved this and thoroughly enjoyed the clever clueing, 3 down being the only one I had to look up, though I had heard the word before, just lost to old age. Can I say how much I enjoy some of the comments and I can’t wait to tell my daughter that my grandson’s hiccups are cause by elves!

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