DT 30052 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30052

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30052

Hints and tips by Deep Threat

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from South Staffs on another dry day, the sun peering through some high cloud.

A slightly odd feel to today’s puzzle for me, but comfortably solved on the border of *** time.

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           Red kite maybe flew away first (4-6)
LEFT-WINGER – The definition is one of political affiliation. Another word for ‘flew away’ or ‘departed’ is followed by a word which could be a generic description of a kite or any other bird.

6a           Partners attached to street food (4)
STEW – An abbreviation for ‘street’ followed by one of the partnerships at the bridge table.

9a           Caught Pinter’s first words? They’re usually spiky (5)
CACTI – The cricket abbreviation for ‘caught’ followed by a phrase (3,1) that Pinter (or any other playwright) might put at the top of the first page of a script.

Cactus Mix (House Plant) | Thompson & Morgan

10a         Investment of time by one facing deterioration (4,5)
UNIT TRUST – Here we have another word for ‘one’, an abbreviation for Time, and the sort of deterioration which affects unpainted metal.

12a         Some fish supper with dear Parisian mistress? (13)
SCHOOLTEACHER – Put together a collective noun for fish, an alternative name for ‘supper’ ( a regional variation, I suspect), and the French for ‘dear’.

14a         Cleared first two letters then answered 24/7? (8)
ABSOLVED – The first two letters of the alphabet, followed by what you will have done if you have completed 24a 7d (or indeed this puzzle).

15a         Essentially, ‘with-it’ echoes ‘state-of-the-art’ (2-4)
HI-TECH – Hidden in the clue.

17a         Aimless commercial break (6)
ADRIFT – A short word for a commercial followed by a break or separation.

19a         Outgoing telegram about the writer, very upfront (8)
SOCIABLE – Start with a two-letter word which can be used as an intensifier, like ‘very’, then add another word for a telegram wrapped round the pronoun that the writer might use to refer to himself or herself.

21a         I spin on a cycle, balanced and moving (13)
INSPIRATIONAL – Put together I (from the clue), SPIN with its last letter moved to the front (on a cycle), and another word for ‘balanced’ or ‘sensible’.

24a         Send a wire to my employer! (9)
TELEGRAPH – Double definition, the second being the employer of the setter of this puzzle.

25a         One’s eaten by fat Scot housed in an estate? (5)
LAIRD – Some cooking fat wrapped round the Roman numeral for one, giving us a Scottish landowner.

26a         Money tree planted by Conservative (4)
CASH – An abbreviation for Conservative, followed by a forest tree.

27a         Doctor sends daily list of bad habits (6,4)
DEADLY SINS – Anagram (doctor) of SENDS DAILY.


1d           Tie in sprint with initial change of direction (4)
LACE – Start with what a sprint is, then change the direction indicated by the first letter, to get a word for ‘tie’.

2d           Resort confuses, having no new homes in (7)
FOCUSES – Anagram (resort) of CO(n)FUSES, minus the abbreviation for New.

3d           Women’s rowing team stealing contest (13)
WEIGHTLIFTING – Put together an abbreviation for Women, the number of people in one variety of rowing team, and another word for ‘stealing’.

Strength training: weight training for women (beginners welcome)

4d           Ten euros espresso will suppress one’s hang-ups (8)
NEUROSES – Hidden in the clue.

5d           Are flight bags small? (5)
EXIST – Another word for ‘flight’ or ‘departure’ wrapped round an abbreviation for Small.

7d           Something awkward to work out to — that’s horrid, that is! (7)
TOUGHIE – Put together TO (from the clue), an exclamation like ‘that’s horrid!’, and the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’.

8d           Driver that goes with the flow (5,5)
WATER WHEEL – Cryptic definition of a machine driven by running water.

Groudle Glen Water Wheel – Douglas, Isle of Man - Atlas Obscura


11d         Usually, having no IT, I hurry up to get helper’s support (13)
TRADITIONALLY – Put together NO IT I (from the clue) and another word for ‘hurry’, Reverse the result (up, in a Down clue), then add a helper or supporter.

13d         Resigned in disbelief at a list I circulated (10)
FATALISTIC – Hidden in the clue.

16d         Suave Central European journalist (8)
POLISHED – An adjective for a variety of central European, followed by the usual crossword journalist.

18d         Rustles about getting fruit (7)
RESULTS – Anagram (about) of RUSTLES, giving us the fruit of our labours, perhaps.

20d         Libel in broadcast: one gets drunk in cocktail bars (7)
BELLINI – Anagram (broadcast) of LIBEL IN.

Bellini | Cocktail Party

22d         Amazement about a Republican being enlightened … (5)
AWARE – A three-letter word for ‘amazement’ wrapped round A (from the clue) and Republican.

23d         … chances thus rising to crush Democrat twice (4)
ODDS – Reverse (rising) a word for ‘thus’ and wrap it round two instances of the abbreviation for Democrat.

The Quick Crossword pun COURT + ANNE + BOLD = CAUGHT AND BOWLED

49 comments on “DT 30052
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  1. Excellent, right up my street, fresh and vibrant, very cryptic and full of wit and inventive clueing….and not a mid 19th century French poet in sight 😉
    Where to start on a podium? The super 1a set the tone and it’s joined by the charade at 3d, the clever 5d and the LOL and very smart 7d…..but it could have been at least half of the puzzle. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Zandio and Deep Threat

  2. All of the superlative adjectives used by StephenL above could be repeated by me. No wonder I was so keen to bagsy a couple of Friday blogs when Deep Threat was away recently. Fridays rock. Each and every week. Thanks to Zandio (If StephenL says it’s a Zandio that is good enough for me) thanks to Deep Threat for the blog. It’s a long way from the weekly Giovanni you used to do

  3. Splendid. Right up my avenue too (1205 Buist Avenue: come visit!). Puzzle of the backpage week for me, with so much to admire. Took me into *** time but I felt exhilarated throughout, especially with 1a, 3d, 7d, 5d, & 8d: All of that richness happening so quickly in those early-down clues just wowed me completely. Great lurkers too. LOL’d when my LOI fell: 19d, another winner. Thanks to DT and Zandio, if SL is correct, and he usually is. *** / *****

    1. I meant 19a, of course, not 19d (I keep doing this!). MP: after you’ve visited the Dylan Museum in Tulsa, it’s just a lovely pair of flights (ha ha) eastward. We could work cryptics together!

      1. I’ve been to The States twice. Once on a rugby tour playing in Canada and America around Lake Ontario and once to visit Nurse Ninepence’s brother and wife in Michigan. Both times I suffered appalling jet lag which convinced me to never cross the Atlantic again

        1. You should try the Brooklyn Ferry from Southampton next time. Wonderful calming travel and lots to do to while away the six or seven days at sea. We enjoyed it in 2009 both there and back with a marvellous five weeks between them.

  4. Most enjoyable.
    Cryptically par excellence, eg 9a, 3 and 5d.
    Gold to the last one.
    Many thanks Zandio and DT.

  5. Super Friday puzzle, not a duff or even slightly-below-par clue to be seen (although 24/7, while raising a smile, is superfluous to 14a). Some lateral thinking required – a good thing – with clever and amusing lurkers, smooth surfaces and great wit throughout.

    MIDs to 1a, 12a, 17a, 7d & 22d with COTD to the excellent 13a.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to the setter (I had thought Silvanus, but concur it’s 23d-on Zandio), and to DT

  6. Sorry to rain onthe parade but this puzzle seemed that itshould have been a Toughie (the compiler even seemed to hint at it). I guessed a lot of the solutions and tried to work out the wordplay afterwards. The best of the clues were my COTD, the 13d lurker, 27a and 10a. I’m sure it was awfully clever but, unfortunately the level of enjoyment on my part didn’t equal the level of the compiler’s skill at obfuscation. I’m glad others enjoyed it. Thanks ro DT for the hints and to the compiler, who had obviously put a lot of effort into constructing auch a challenging puzzle. Sorry, it just wasn’t my cup of tea but I ‘m glad I eventually managed to finish it.

  7. Can’t say that I was as enthusiastic about this one as others seem to have been but I did appreciate our setter’s abilities.
    Rather partial to a 20d and my favourite was 8d.

    Thanks to Zandio and to DT for the review – I’m with you as far as ‘slightly odd’ is concerned.

  8. Definitely a Zandio production which, for me, means a steady plod to the finishing line once I have been able to get out of the starting gate – 3.5*/2.5*.

    No standout favourite, but 9a and 14a created smiles.

    Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  9. Best of the week. A superb ***/***** with 7 COTD candidates for me 1a just pipping the others. My only question mark was the 24/7 reference in 14a which I couldn’t see was necessary until I had the benefit of Deep Threat’s hint. Very clever. Thanks to him and the setter. More please.

  10. This took me ages today, got to the point of chucking it in when a mood of pure belligerence overtook me, so I just had finish it. Took me three visits interspersed with a walk and a half hour break, but got there unaided in the end. thought 14a was very clever!

  11. This was a slow start and then a fairly rapid finish once I had cracked our setter’s code. I agree with those that thoroughly enjoyed this one, with 1a my top pick from a wide selection of possible favourites.

    Thanks to Zandio for the fun and to DT.

    I have just seen that today’s Toughie is an Elgar production so I had better put the iPad on charge.

  12. A top-notch Friday offering! Great clues, a decent challenge and much enjoyment. I’ve ticked quite a few and will mention 19a. 3*/4.5*.

    *Rather than “slightly odd”, I’d say refreshingly unconventional!

  13. It’s another thumbs up from me! A most enjoyable puzzle.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to DT for the write-up.

  14. Boy, that was enjoyable! Ticks all over the page for me. For some strange reason I am getting on better with the puzzles towards the end of the week than the start. I found Monday’s quite difficult. This was a gem with pennies dropping by the score. I wonder if 5d means that today’s is? The lurker at 13d was very well hidden. Difficult to pick a COTD from such a wonderful selection but, to me, 9a just pips the rest.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun challenge. Many thanks to DT for the hints.

  15. Brain fog in the NW turned what should have been a quick completion into a *** time one. Not quite as keen as others on this one but still very enjoyable & inventively clued. A photo finish between 1a,3d&5d for COTD.
    I thought the surface read at 7d particularly apt for an Elgar Friday.
    Thanks to Zandio & DT

  16. Help! The Toughie has escaped and invaded the back pager. Although completed I understood less than half of the clues many of which were so cryptic as to impenetrable.
    For me a ghastly offering.
    Thx for the hints

    1. I felt the same Brian, you’re not alone. It would have been nice to have a greater variety in the type of clue, rather than so many depending on cryptic definitions.

  17. Superb, raising many smiles and ‘oh, clever’ moments. 14a was my favourite, particularly the 24/7 reference. This made me wonder which came first – the grid numbers and answers to fit the clue or the coincidence of the grid numbers just happening to fit the answers. Either way, genius. Thanks to Zandio and DT. ***/**** for me.

  18. A thoroughly enjoyable test, thanks to all concerned. I particularly enjoyed 27a which reminded me of an ancient school report which suggested I had started developing ‘a few bad habits’ the mind boggles. ***/****

  19. Enjoyed the challenge but thought some of the synonyms were a bit iffy. Fruit/results? are/ exist? otherwise a great puzzle.

  20. Hello, compiler here. Thanks very much for taking the trouble to solve, analyse and discuss. Have a great weekend.

  21. Struggle,bung in, is it that? and why🤷‍♂️. I had all of that today, but suddenly it was finished, a quick check of the hints confirmed all were correct, so I’m very happy as it’s the first completed unaided this week. Thanks to all 😊.

  22. I really enjoyed this and thought there were loads of clever clues. Still had about a quarter left when I had to go to a funeral and for some reason it all went in quite smoothly when I got back. Agree with fruit/result being a bit iffy – that was my LOI. Thanks to the setter and DT.

  23. I’m in the ‘best crossword of the week’ camp. How do you pick a cotd out of this? But I’ll go with 21a. Thanks to Zandio and DT.

  24. As I see this is a Zandio offering and the fact that I just cannot get his wavelength, I give up.
    Even when I see the answer, many times the parsing is so stretched or obscure or even non-existent to me I’d rather not frustrate myself when there is no satisfaction in the end result.

    This setter is not for me but others seem to manage fine.

    Thanks to all, but I will wait for Saturday puzzle

    1. I seem to have the same problem as you, Portcoquitlambc. I feel as if I’m reading clues written in a foreign language, which I’ve not studied. It’s a wave-length thing

      1. Yes, it is definitely a wavelength thing … just went through the whole puzzle and for the most part when I see the answer, I am still left scratching my head. The only two clues I solved on my own with no hints were 24a and 25a as they made sense.

    2. I agree with you, too. I suspect that some of the back page setters cannot resist gravitating towards the Toughie standard – and looking to devise very challenging and complex clues that will win plaudits from the regular posters here. Who I believe are regular and highly capable puzzlers for whom the harder the better.

  25. I was on totally the wrong wave length with 1ac and 5d and couldn’t get tidal flow out of my mind for 8d. Gave up and consulted the hints. Many thanks to Zandio and DT. Have a nice weekend everyone.

  26. Sadly I am not on Zandio’s wavelength either. It’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned that he isn’t a Monday setter or I’d feel disinclined to progress through the week ! I think 12a merited a star though. Thankyou all.

  27. Wonderful! I didn’t have time to look at this yesterday, so saved it as a pre-breakfast treat for today. A swift and fun solve, with so many clever and inventive clues. A perfect example of why Zandio is one of my favourite setters.

    I think my favourite clue was 14a’s commercial break. But it could also have been one of 2d or 26a for their surfaces; or one of the excellent lurkers, 13d, 4d, or 15a (my last in — apparently it didn’t occur to me to look for yet another lurker); or 9a, or 5d, or 8d, or 11d.

    Thank you, Zandio. After this perfect start to the weekend, I hope the rest of it goes as well …

  28. Last to the table but thank you Zandio for a terrific challenge … got there in the end! Thanks also DT

    1. Room for one more?

      For us it is the speed of the “penny drop” – the ah ha moments are enjoyable but in slow motion… so tend to be a slow realization and not the impact “like a bird set free”

      Mrs T said our brains loved it more than our hearts.

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