DT 30028 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30028

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30028

Hints and tips by Sloop John Bee

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good Morning from North Yorkshire. Deep Threat is still on holiday but is back in the saddle next week. I am back for a final go at the Friday back pager. I am also at work until 18:30 so apart from a brief visit during my lunch break I will be unable to comment. I have enjoyed my stint at hinty blogs and hope to see some of you next on a Sunday Toughie. Play nicely. I am sure my fellow bloggers and commenters will help with any problems.

I have no real idea of gauging ratings so have left them unaltered.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the ANSWER buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.



1a Politely, knocking on yokel’s door to get housing resolved (8)
YOUNGISH:     An adjective to describe someone of advancing years, who is older than he likes to think is also an anagram (resolved) of the opening (door) letter of Yokel and housing.

5a Wellington’s content with grouse (4)
BEEF:     The tenderest cut of a bovine, wrapped in a mushroom pate and encased in a pastry shell. The main ingredient of such a dish is also a synonym of grouse or moan.

Beef Wellington - Wikipedia


9a Two dogs maybe seen by railway — those involved should be strung up (8)
PUPPETRY:     An abbreviated young dog, a generic term for animals kept for companionship and the two letter abbreviation for Railway. This entertainment usually involves toys on strings animated for our delight.

10a Place located after a drive (6)
AVENUE:     Put a place after a from the clue for a wide and handsome street with or without trees.

As Avenue Q Prepares to End Its Run, Look Back on Our Favorite Puppet Photo Ops | TheaterMania

11a Drawn to melancholy, you need closure (8)
SHUTDOWN:     This closure of operations comes from how your curtains may be when drawn, and a synonym of melancholy or depression.

12a Brad, doing backflip in gym, must be flexible (6)
PLIANT:     A brad that you may use to “fix” your colours to the mast, is reversed (doing backflip), it goes between a two letter abbreviation for gym or Physical Training.

14a Taking a new order, need import or trade-in (10)
REDEMPTION:     The first four words are your anagram indicator, the next two are your fodder. Trade-in would be the definition. To redeem coupons in exchange for goods or services. We still have a canteen of cutlery my dad collected Embassy coupons for, it is still in use long after the coffin brads that took my father a lung-busting age (literally) to collect.

18a ‘Rude butcher!’ — aggrieved customers often scream it (4,6)
BLUE MURDER:   An informal noun for a terrible din or commotion such as that made by an aggrieved customer.

22a There’s only one month this long (6)
AUGUST:      A barely cryptic clue, I mean there are only twelve to consider and only one of that twelve will fit in the six lights available.

23a Physically, one working party confronts the Queen (8)
LABOURER:     One who does physical work is made from a political party on the left and our Queen’s regnal cipher.

24a Fashionable ring from the East given decorative setting (6)
INLAID:     The ring you had to physically turn to make a telephone call and a two-letter synonym of fashionable are reversed (from the East in an across clue) a decorative surface. If made from various wood veneers it is either marquetry or parquetry depending on whether the veneers are geometric or more artistic. My favourite tearooms in Harrogate have a fine collection.

25aPrepare to be talked down to‘? (6,2)
LISTEN UP:     A nice little all-in-one, what you might say when you are about to talk down to someone is an opposite way of saying talk down.

26a English footballer’s partner’s first payment (4)
WAGE:     E for English is preceded by a term for a footballer’s partner, these wives and girlfriends usually come in the plural but a singular one is enough here.

27a Large portion of chicken or moussaka (8)
ENORMOUS: A colossal lurker (indicated by portion of) hidden in the last three words of the clue.



2d Withdraw from power pow-wow in NY, attracting publicity (6)
UNPLUG:     The abbreviation for an international peace organisation held in New York and a piece of advertising or publicity combine to take out the power lead from your electrical devices.

3d Climbing in Norway, deer graze with voracity (6)
GREEDY:     A reverse lurker, indicated by (climbing in a down clue). I have indicated the definition and that leaves very little to conduct your search.

4d Sweet thing lying in bed that may get dressed for afternoon tea (10)
STRAWBERRY:     A somewhat topical fruit currently dressed with lashings of cream at Wimbledon.

Strawberries and Cream for Wimbledon

6d Package coming from Parisian in ‘Five Run Off Together’ (8)
ENVELOPE:     How a Parisian may say “from”, the Roman Numeral for five,  and what loving couples may do when they are prevented from marrying.

7d Arty composition from admirer — it’s a refined article (8)
FANTASIA:     A ***atic admirer and an anagram of “it’s a” and the indefinite article a give this arty composition.

8d Horse and rider encounter grumbling online? (8)
EVENTING:     This equestrian sport is a prefix used to indicate that there is an online element to the businessand the grumbling or letting off of steam.

9d City with listing feature in many travel guides (4)
PISA:     Another all-in-one that isn’t hard to guess. How many cities are there that are famous for a building that lists.

Whoever Said That Posing With The Leaning Tower Of Pisa Was Boring Clearly Hasn't Seen These 46 Funny Pics | Bored Panda

13d Festivity at number one — turned up for unveiling (10)
REVELATION: A festivity, and at from the clue have an reversed abbreviation for number one, the “unveiling” of St John the Divine perhaps.

15d Rough verse being penned in ‘A Representation of Serbia’ (8)
ABRASIVE:     Partial anagram here, combine Serbia, A from the clue and V for verse. to make something rough.

16d Bribe to provide roof for a humble home (8)
BUNGALOW:     The bribe that football agents are alleged to take, a from the clue and a synonym of humble make a single-storey home.

17d Tremendous beat used in chorus (8)
SMASHING:     To beat potatoes perhaps go in a chorus. ” ********, great ,super”

19d One gets access to rifle stores (6)
LOOTER:     Another all-in-one, He who breaks into stores to steal or rifle through things he isn’t going to pay for.

20d Publicist loves to receive books directly (6)
PRONTO:     The publicist responsible for public relations, two examples of love as a tennis score around the second half of the bible.

21d Wet blanket died — brief epitaph follows (4)
DRIP:     This wet blanket comes from Resquiescat In Pace and follows D for died.

Bored silly by this as a child but now I love it;


The Quickie Pun:


Thanks for the third word Gazza


77 comments on “DT 30028
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  1. Didn’t care for this much . Some clues – 9d , 22a are not cryptic ; some don’t parse for me at all -2d , 4d , 6d ,8d and some clues just trying too hard 1a . Only 26a made me smile . Simon North

    1. Thanks for the comment Simon. I can’t say I fully agree with you though but you have outlined your concerns which is a lot more than most detractors do.

  2. Thanks to Sloop John B and StephenL for joining me to cover Deep Threat’s time away in France. It’s nice to have a chance to blog different setters from time to time. Thanks again guys. You can step down now. Deep Threat will be back next week

    1. In 6d, the Parisian is for ‘in’ which is ‘en’; ‘de’ or ‘du’ is ‘from’ in French. Otherwise, thanks for helpful clues. Last 3 to go in took me ages so needed them!

  3. Typical Zandio offering, quirky and very enjoyable indeed. A couple of the solutions arrived on an earlier bus than parsings though I did get them all sorted in good time.
    I liked lots including 5&26a plus 8,19&20d but top spot goes to the super 9a.
    Many thanks to Zandio and John.

    By the way, I had the great pleasure of spending some time with our compiler yesterday. Not only a top setter but a top bloke.

  4. Took me a while to get going on this one. It felt a bit different with some clever clues but also some quite strange ones. Thanks to SJB and today’s setter.

  5. Struggled mightily with this one from the outset and continued to do so throughout, especially in the SW. I did manage to finish but only because I availed myself of some online letters (the kind of lagniappe I’m glad to have but am loath to us). 25a my favourite, but didn’t much enjoy the solve today–mea culpa, not the compiler’s, so thanks to Xandio and to SJB for the review. 5*/2*

      1. I’ve always spelled that word “loath”,
        Robert ! Never thought of checking it, though it can be annoying when some say “I was loathe to proceed” eg !

  6. I found this the most challenging backpager for some time, broadly tackling the grid clockwise from Newcastle (or Aberdeen if one wishes to be more United) and finishing in Keswick/Fort William with my LOI, 11a. While there were a number of clues of which I thought very little indeed (22a, 4d, 9d), most of it was an enjoyable and welcome tussle. Plenty of red herrings, very few gimmies, intricate and clever clueing, and lots to like.

    Hon Mentions to 12a, 25a, 6d, and 15d (v clever anagram), with COTD to 27a – great surface, big smile, even if moussaka is a meal unfit for human consumption IMV.

    3* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter and to SJB both for this blog and with StephenL for having “personned” the barricades in DT’s absence.

  7. Not for me, I’m sorry to say, only 18a raised a slight smile.

    Thanks to Zandio and to JB for the review.

  8. This was haaaard! Could not parse 1a and spent way too long trying to make an anagram out of “ipartyer” at 23a and failing. No clue at all at 25a and 19d. The rest was a struggle but well worth it. Thank you SJB for putting me out of my misery and Zandio for causing it! Would you like to say more about your meeting, Stephen? Apart from Dada, Giovanni and Donnybrook I’ve often wanted to know what our other clever setters look like.

  9. Like some others, I found some of the clues difficult to fathom, somewhat unusual and, at times, not quite cryptic. It was certainly a challenge and I did finish without help so
    that brought a feeling of satisfaction after quite a long struggle. I find with Zandio puzzles that it helps to take a short break and, , when I come back to it some of the knotty wordplay falls into place. I liked the 27a lurker ,16d and 12a but COTD was9a. Thanks to SJB for hints on parsing a few and to Zandio for a refreshingly different puzzle.

  10. Hello, compiler here. Thank you for taking the trouble to solve, analyse and discuss. It was great to meet StephenL yesterday. In reply to Celia, we spent as much time talking about Blue Oyster Cult as about crosswords — but an hour barely scratched the surface of either topic. Thanks again for the interest in today’s puzzle. Have a good weekend.

  11. Zandio, Prolixic or Silvanus, Friday has become my favourite puzzling day. The ante is upped and the game is on. The puzzles have a more modern feel to them which doesn’t suit those crustier commenters resistant to change. Donnybrook, Robyn and Django also all fall into this category. The future looks bright. Today’s puzzle suffered from a couple of weaker clues but hey, eating strawberries in Pisa ain’t such a bad thing. The obvious shoe ins, the lurkers, anagrams and gimmies gave plenty of checkers for the more difficult remaining clues. Thanks again to SJB and to Zandio who will surely have had a good time meeting StephenL yesterday

      1. I have trouble remembering the Prolixic/ ProXimal duo. I did of course mean ProXimal. I blame being stung close to the eye whilst collecting a swarm on Wednesday evening.

          1. My own fault. I collected a swarm without my protective clothing. Stung on one finger and just below the left eye. Swarm no hived to a very happy new beekeeper

  12. A Zandio Sunday Toughie that ‘escaped’ to the Friday back page! ****/**

    But, I did like 15a, 25a, and 19d, with 25a coming out on top.

    Thanks to Zandio and thanks to SJB and the other members of the triumvirate of Friday substitutes.

  13. 5*/3*. That was as tough as it gets for a back-pager, especially the NW corner. I did enjoy most of it, but a few clues didn’t do it for me. The definition in 1d is stretched to breaking point and, unless I am missing something, isn’t “in many travel guides” surface padding in 9d?

    My top three were 22a, 25a & 16d.

    Many thanks to Zandio and SJB.

  14. Like Mustafa ,I thought that this was the most challenging backpager for a while and took a while to make any progress.
    Thanks to SJB for the curtain explanation for11a( and the pics), the NW corner in general was the last to fall.
    Difficult to pick a favourite as the cluing was top draw throughout, 18d made me smile so I’ll go for that.- liked 21d too
    Going for a ****/****

  15. Too hard for me.
    Only managed to solve 11 clues unaided.
    So gave up.

    Thanks to the setter and to SJB

  16. Challenging, quite difficult in places, a couple of clues that made we wince, but overall good fun; it must be Zandio. 26a was my favourite ahead of 15d.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned and SJB.

  17. I agree that this was as tricky a backpager as we’ve had for some time but it was very enjoyable with some neat touches – thanks to Zandio and SJB.
    I’ve selected 18a, 25a and 2d for my podium.

    [I think that there are three words in the Quickie pun]

    1. I did wonder if 10a was part of the Quickie pun – being the guy who actually performed the stunt.

  18. This was hard but got there all bar 8d. Even seeing all 39 words that matched didn’t help so had to resort to the hint in the blog, when it fell int place, so thanks.
    I did find it satisfying though so also thanks to Zandio.

  19. Extremely tricky t’up north which took me into **** time. I bunged in 1a from the wordplay but was none the wiser & fully agree with RD’s comment about stretching the definition to breaking point. Last in was 8d & it was a helluva head scratch. Not my favourite of the week but still plenty to like – 8,12,18&27a plus 2,8,16&20d my picks of a curious bunch of challenging clues
    Thanks to Zandio & John & to DT’s other deputies

  20. Thank you Zandio for this stretching challenge to which I was not equal. And many thanks to SJB for the necessary hints necessitated by my wavelength problem. 1a, 2 & 20d would not come (but like the dog), but were fair enough. COTD 15d for me.

    1. Oops sorry about the necessary/necessitated. I can hear the guy from my old English teacher.

  21. A tricky but enjoyable challenge; left three short. I don’t understand how 4D answer comes from the clue (perhaps I’m missing something?!) but my two favourites were 6D & 8D. Thanks to setter; do I try Elgar today or hope that it stops raining at Silverstone and the Test Match and have a quiet afternoon of sport?!!!

  22. I found this really tricky but managed to finish unaided. To be honest did not enjoy it much. Anyway thanks to all. Just about to see if I gave any spuds in my spud sacks! So much fun, about the only veg not attacked but the blasted muntjac.

  23. We lunched yesterday in what I imagine is your favourite Harrogate tea-room, SJB. Perfection as ever. Thank you for your review, and to Xandio for a real Friday challenge.

    1. I hope you enjoyed it. I couldn’t remember the name of the marquetry expert collected by Betty’s. But now I have had time to do some investigoogling I see he is Jean-Charles Spindler.

  24. Feeling very pleased with myself for finishing this unaided, it stretched me to my limits but unlike yesterday I managed to fall across the line.
    Needed some of my parsing to be confirmed, particularly on those that didn’t seem very cryptic (22a, 4d, 9d) as I wondered if I had missed something.
    Lots to like with favourites being 9a, 25a, 27a and 8d.
    Thanks to Zandio and SJB

  25. Can’t remember one that I failed to understand but managed to solve through the checking letters. Imho it is an awful puzzle.
    Absolutely nothing to recommend it all even after completing all but one clue.
    Thx for the hints

  26. Well Zandio nearly outfoxed me with this one! I really struggled and hadn’t a clue why 1a was what it obviously was from the anagram so thanks SJB for the hints. I did enjoy 9&10a amd 6&21d but all in all it was a bit too difficult to be very enjoyable I’m afraid. I rank this one a ****/** ending quite a tricky week. M5 north up to Bristol horrendous today. Why is everyone going north? Have Martians landed in Exeter? Now in Oxford readying myself for pre prandials and a Gaudy. Yippee it’s free.

  27. I’ve done easier toughies but having said that I did it eventually. Happiness is a completed and parsed grid. Favourite was 6d. Thanks to Zandio and SJB.

  28. Figured this was a Zandio offering as I find his clueing very bizarre most times. Agree with Senf that this was an escaped Toughie for the Friday backpager … 4*/2* for me today.
    Definitely a struggle today.
    1a, 22a & 4d as others have said not really cryptic to my way of thinking either.
    Disappointing puzzle day for me today

    Thanks to Zandio and SJB for hints … and even had trouble with those.
    Bring on Saturday’s puzzle

  29. Pretty hard going today. Got there all bar 8d, for which I needed the hint. To be fair, I don’t think I’d have got 8d without the hint.

    Thanks to setter and to blogger.


  30. I refused to be beaten.
    But nearly was with 5 to go.
    Which, alone, took 4* time.
    Deeply mined the grey matter to completion.
    Perhaps quirky well defines Zandio.
    Thought 2 and 8d very clever.
    So, 5*plus */*****
    Many thanks for the struggle and thanks to S J B

  31. Sorry but this spoilt the week for me after four solvable puzzles ones like this, as I have said before but to be fair not recently, belong in the Toughy section 😳 I thought that at least I had cracked the Quicky, only to discover that there was a third word which in the Newspaper version which was not in italics 😟 Thanks to the Sloop John B and to Zandio, at least 4d was topical, enjoy the tennis 🍓🥂 🎾 everyone

  32. Far far too difficult for a Friday night amateur like me, but will still try again next Friday ,at least a few on here seem to feel the same

  33. Well, judging by the comments its above it is probably just as well I didn’t get chance to look at it. Mrs. C. has been taken into hospital so my day has been spent with that. Just got back so had a quick look at the puzzle but I’m not really in the mood. One of the ones I did solve was 25a and that raised a smile.

    I even managed to get one clue solved in Elgar’s Toughie!

    Thanks to all.

      1. Thank you, SJB. She is in stage 4 kidney failure but I hope they can reverse things. Dialysis keeps being mentioned but I wish they would stop mentioning it and actually get it started. The good thing is her consultant is a top bloke.

  34. Not my cup of tea. Too many weird clues that don’t lead to the answers (specially 1a, 2d and 4d), at least for me. Shame, as I was looking forward to solving this over lunch after a morning out, never mind, tomorrow is another day. Thanks to Zandio, and to Sloop John Bee.

  35. Bit of a mixed bag of comments, some loved it some didn’t. I enjoyed it and also enjoyed standing in for DT.
    Nice to see the setter coming in for a chat. I would love to have been a fly on the wall at the get together with Zandio and SL.
    Hopefully we can all meet up for the birthday bash next year.
    I am glad my music choices went down well with Z and others. It was a bit of a rush to put the blog together before work, and I didn’t have time to listen to them all the way through. They are on rotation with a bit of Blue Oyster Cult now.
    I will have to wait a while before tackling another Zandio as I see that it is proXimal this Sunday.
    Apologies for missing the third part of the pun, but in my defence it isn’t italicised in the dead tree or online.
    That’s all folks, I will see the brave cruciverbalists on Sunday.

  36. This was way beyond my pay-grade. I am lost in admiration of hinters like Sloop John Bee who can not only solve the puzzle in good time but also find the time and creativity to produce interesting and amusing hints.

    1. Thanks for the thanks it is appreciated, but they are a pleasure to do.
      A typical night/morning for me is;
      Midnight crossword released,
      01:00 if crossword not solved resort to no more than a couple of Robert’s lagniappe nudges.
      01:00 – 01:30 transfer and format the clues, insert solutions and spoilers. Retire to bed where final parsings come in my dreams ( hopefully).
      07:30 – 09:20 Write the hints and research some relevant pics and tunes.
      09:20 – 30 remember the quickie pun, panic and bung in the first two answers I see.
      09:30 hit publish.
      I get a bit longer for a Sunday Toughie as we don’t publish hints until 14:00 but I probably need the extra time to conjure up the harder parsings, and the impossible ones may be left for the commentariat to help (Thanks Gazza, Spartacus et al)

      1. That’s really interesting SJB. I’ve often wondered just how much time you wondrous tipsters have to put into both solving and writing up the blog. But you don’t get much sleep! Where are you located?

        1. North Yorkshire is the home of the Beehive.
          A good six hours is all I need, as I get older I seem to need less, Sunday Toughies are a bit easier as I only hint at halfish and get until the afternoon before publishing. Also a wee dram aids cogitation and sleep, but I refrain on Thursdays as work and an elderly mother influence other hours of the day.

  37. Not a fan of some of the clues.

    I got the answers but don’t understand 1a and 4d.

    2d, 6d, 7d and 8d where beyond me and I would suggest would be more at home in the toughie.

    Thanks to all.

  38. Certainly a mixed bag, this one. A number of the clues (1a for example) would not go amiss in the Toughie section whilst 22a must go down as the “non-clue” of the year?
    A strong workout to round off the weekday back-pagers.
    Thank you Zandio for the test and SJB for the advice re parsing.

  39. 18a equals stretching the term ‘cryptic’ somewhat. Customers often scream it! Really? Not in my world.

  40. Thanks to Zanido and to SJB for the review and hints. I found this really difficult, so didn’t really enjoy it. Needed the hints for 1,11,23a and 2,4,8,19,20d. Would never have got any of these. Was 5*/2* for me.

  41. Not really my cup of tea either, I managed barely a third on my own. Just not the clues I would have set to get to those answers. But there’s always another day.

  42. I admire those who can finish this crossword. Atypically, I could not get on the setters wavelength at all. Once I read the hints, most of the answers fell into place without having to open the box. Even brought it away on holiday with me but no joy. Thanks for the mental workout Zandio and to our estimable hint writer

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