DT 30131 (hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 30131 (hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30131 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Good morning from an unseasonably warm autumn day here in East Kent.

Before I provide some hints for what a Prize Puzzle which I originally wrongly attributed to Chalicea when it turned out to be the work of X-Type, I have some news about Tilsit


After giving the matter serious consideration, Tilsit has announced that he will be standing down from the Blog with immediate effect.

A combination of some new health problems added to his long-standing existing ones, increased challenges in both his daily employment and his Open University studies and overseeing the blog while Big Dave was in hospital, have left him exhausted and quite low, with very little time for crossword solving. He therefore feels it is time to take a complete break from crosswords to concentrate on the other things in his life

Big Dave especially, and the rest of the blogging team, would like to thank Tilsit very much for the time and devotion he has dedicated to the blog, both ‘behind the scenes’ and with his blogs, since his first blog appeared 23 March 2009.  We sincerely hope that once his health improves, he will feel able to pick up one of his many pens (his collection has to be seen to be believed!), take down the BRB from the bookshelf and return to both crossword solving and, perhaps, setting a few crosswords for the NTSPP slot.


As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.



1a    Group of swimmers, where 2 might be required? (6)
A group of swimmers or somewhere where the solution to 2d is usually required

4a    Face university contest (4,4)
My last one in, not least because it took me a long time to realise that ‘face’ was an example of Cockney Rhyming Slang

13a    Fruit to hang limply, it’s said (5)
A name given to types of fleshy stoned fruit sounds like a homophone (it’s said) of part of a verb meaning to hang limply

24a    Finely slice first of rhubarb in storehouse (5)
The first letter of rhubarb inserted into a storehouse

28a    A flight, maybe? Abroad, with spring? (8)
Abroad in the sense of not in with a spring or leap

31a    Publicity for dance and song? (6)
This type of song, if split 4,2, might be an informal way of referring to publicity for a dance


1d    Appropriate, your being old and secretive (8)
Appropriate as a verb and an old way of saying your

8d    Type of cake made by old gormless character (6)
A type of cake or the name of a gormless character in The Goon Show

16d    All the offspring made beer, we hear (5)
This synonym for offspring sounds like (we hear) a way of saying made beer

18d    Ride with important person in the organisation? (3,5)
A fairground ride or an important person

22d    Glaswegian, perhaps — one with a classical feature? (6)
The nationality of a Glaswegian perhaps, the letter representing one and A (from the clue)

27d    Letter from American the BBC occasionally sent up (4)
This Greek letter can be found in reverse in alternate letters (occasionally) in AmericAn ThE bBc

Could new readers please read the Welcome post and the FAQ before posting comments or asking questions about the site.

As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

The Quick Crossword pun: OAR + INN + SPIRE + WRING = AWE-INSPIRING

82 comments on “DT 30131 (hints)

  1. The SW corner took me twice as long as the rest due to reading 21d wrongly and putting an incorrect answer to 11d . Silly me . Ratings ***/*** .
    29a made me smile so is my favourite.
    Some dyslexics may be worried as clocks go back tonight !
    Thanks Sue for hints and well done Setter .
    Thanks to Tilsit & all the best for the future .

  2. 2*/3*. A pleasant SPP which provided much needed relief after yesterday’s super-tough backpager.

    I can’t see anything at all cryptic about 10a.

    4a was my favourite with a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS; and good wishes to Tilsit with thanks for all his blog contributions over the years.

    1. I’ve just seen a scribble in my margin regarding 26d,which I meant to comment on to say that it is a weak clue which seems barely cryptic.

  3. Tilsit, I will miss your helping hand on a Saturday. During lockdown you invited me to join your online bridge which was so kind. But like my crossword solving I did not feel good enough.
    All the very best to you in Warrington.

  4. Grim and joyless is the kindest thing I can say about this, total antithesis of yesterday’s puzzle.

  5. Firstly, best wishes to Tilsit and thanks for your sterling efforts on the blog.

    On completion of the puzzle, I decided that my five bob would stay in my pocket. As we have found out on recent Saturdays, not a pangram does not mean not a Cephas. So, with each passing SPP, I have become more and more confused. Today’s challenge, however, was as enjoyable as ever.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 31a, 11d, and 16d – and the winner is 11d (we have a lot of them over here, and not just in La Belle Province).

    Thanks to the setter, who might be the Floughie Lady, and thanks to CS.

  6. A very pleasant Saturday puzzle that was most enjoyable, apart from sitting and looking at 10a for too long and searching for something that wasn’t there. That aside, some lovely clues, from which I chose 16d as my favourite.

    Many thanks to our setter and CS. My sincere best wishes to Tilsit and thanks for all his work on this site over the years.

  7. Best wishes to tilsit. I do hope you feel well enough soon to start contributing again. I have missed your Saturday hints.

    An enjoyable puzzle for me today. Some headscratchers , particularly in the SW .

    Thanks to the setter and to crypticsue.

    Dull, dreary day today but at least it is not raining ….at the moment. Mr Meringue is off to see the rugby at Murrayfield this evening, so no doubt it will rain then.

  8. A welcome relief after yesterday’s brain-burner, this puzzle had a few challenges of its own, with some unusual clues. I chose 4d as my clue of the day as it was clever and made me laugh, reminding me of my dad, who used the term quite often. I also liked1d, 17a and 13a (a lovely word, which I remembered this time). Thanks to CS for the hints and to the compiler. Good Health to Tilsit and thanks for all you have done over the years.

  9. Couple of bung ins that required some google assistance to parse but otherwise straightforward. Thanks to today’s setter and CS and a big up to Tilsit.

  10. Another really tricky Saturday offering with for me two new words in 13a and 22d and 15d is completely beyond my understanding.
    Agree about 10a but I liked it as one of the few I could answer and understand.
    Not much fun, just a slog. One of those you are just glad to finish.
    Thx for the hints

  11. A welcome relief after yesterday. Plenty of smiles and just the right combination of gentle and more taxing clues. Liked lots, especially 4a, 20a,1d 2d and 11d. Needed my better half to supply me with the answer to 8d and thought I must be missing something with 10a, but apparently not. Many thanks to the compiler and Cripticsue.

  12. So sorry to hear that Tilsit is leaving us. Thanks for all that work and best wishes for improved health. Senf, you can, indeed, keep your five bob. My five bob goes on Cephas even if it is not an anagram-full pangram. There’s a Chalicea Toughie coming up very soon but this one was not mine.

      1. 5 bob is only 25p… can we use the balance for a couple of slices of lemon drizzle cake please.

        1. No lemon drizzle today – I’m just trying to find my favourite apple cake recipe but without success so far so I may not be baking until tomorrow

    1. Thank you for ‘popping in.’

      I see from the (excellent old) puzzles web site that ‘coming up very soon’ means the first Toughie of next week.

  13. Jane has been conspicuous by her absence from the blog recently. She was in hospital for a short while but happily has now been able to return home. She hopes to be back commenting again in a few days’ time.

    1. Sorry to hear that. Thanks for the update RD, and best wishes to Jane for a speedy return to better health.

    2. I thought I might find an emoji bunch of flowers to wish you wellJane, but you’ll have to make do with one bloom!🌺

    3. Thanks RD, I had been wondering as I love to read her comments. Get well Jane, hoping for your good health.

    4. So sorry to hear that Jane has been in hospital but glad to hear that she is now home and doing better. All the best, Jane!–from Jimmy and me.

  14. I haven’t accessed this puzzle, but just popped in to say a big thank you to Tilsit for all his many contributions to this blog over the years. So, so long (hopefully for only a while), good health and good luck with everything.

  15. Many thanks to Tilsit for his contributions over the years and my very best wishes for improved health before too long. Also–get well soon, Jane!

    SW corner gave me the most trouble today, and it took a while for the penny to drop on parsing 15D. I also see nothing cryptic about 10A. I ticked 10A, 31A and 1D. Thanks to the setter and CS.

  16. Not about today’s puzzle but has anyone else had trouble getting into the new puzzles format? I’m up to date with my subscriptions but i can see the crossword has opened but shielded by the free trial page????!!!!

    1. Welcome to the blog

      There have been loads of comments about the problems with the new site. Someone posted a link to the ‘old’ site yesterday which I can’t find at the moment but as soon as I do, I’ll copy the link here

        1. An enjoyable Saturday Crossword,
          1- The old site was better I feel.
          2-For at least 2 years I have not received my Crossword Newsletter and I feel like I am getting the runaround, I have tried unsubscribing for three days and then subscribing again, I did not know about the new site because it was in the crossword newsletter which I do not receive. Could some kind soul in Big Dave land forward me a copy?
          Stay safe and travel safely

    2. I had the same issue with the new site. I spoke to the customer service desk who very kindly cancelled my subscription to the old site and credited the balance due back to my account and I resubscribed to the new site without any problems. I think that the issue was that my old subscription was through WorldPay that the Daily Telegraph no longer uses so it was not possible to transfer my subscription over.

      I know that there have been grumbles about the new site but personally for on-line solving I think for crosswords it is a vast improvement on the old site, particularly for use with an iPad or iPhone where, with the old site, you had to double tap each letter in order to enter it! People who print off puzzles to solve say that the print size is too small, but I have not tried this yet. Sudoku is a lot more fiddly on the new site.

  17. Tilsit – you will be sorely missed. Here’s to a rapid improvement so we can see you back here again.

  18. Nice enjoyable puzzle that went fairly smoothly except for 11d and 13a.
    Took us ages to work out 11d – but when we did it became our favourite clue.
    Never heard of 13a which was our last one in.
    Thanks for the hints Sue

  19. Thank you Tilsit for past and maybe future endeavours.
    Thank you also to C’sue for the hints.
    I assumed that I had the right answer for 13a. However your picture seemed to show mainly another fruit. Clearly it wasn’t that so I googled a word which I thought might be the answer. It wasn’t that either but helpfully Google had also listed a word new to me which was correct and completed the parsing. The definition of this type of fruit amounts to about 150 words. Still it’s nice(?) to learn something new.
    A pleasant crosswords solve.

    1. I did check that the fruit in the picture was an example of a 13a as I wasn’t sure whether Google Images was correct, but apparently it is

    2. Hopefully staying away from the naughty step, as there is no lemon drizzle cake today, in my experience 13a is more of a generic term than a specific fruit.

  20. Firstly how sorry we all are to see Tilsit retire, it is sad to see anyone leave the “family”. Many thanks for all the sterling work you have done and take care of yourself. We didn’t have too many problems with this one, I got 1 and 4a straight away and put in 17a before I realised it was an anagram. I liked 20a although I think we may have had this before but I am still stumped by 13d. Many thanks to the setter and CS and greetings to anyone who is feeling low or depressed. I went into the church this morning to check my stand of recycled cards and take the money from the pouch. A young woman came in with a small boy and I called out a greeting. They went down to the Lady Chapel and lit a candle. I went over and asked the little boy if he would light another candle for my daughter who was in hospital. He was delighted to have the opportunity for a little more playing with fire and said “I’ll put her next to my grandad”. I have never seen them in church before but I thought how nice it was that they felt comfort from coming into our lovely old parish church to light a candle for grandad.

  21. My last few answers have take quite a while but I’m not in a rush!
    I often can’t do answers but I don’t very often get ones wrong but I did today and it really completed scuppered several others – oh dear!
    I know that BD’s logic about if you can’t explain your answer then it’s probably wrong is fine but I could, well, sort of . . .
    It all went terribly wrong with 24a and down hill after that.
    I think my favourite was 20a but lots of good clues too.
    Thanks to whoever set this one and to CS for the hints.

  22. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I admit that the SW corner took me a long time after I’d written “MISTRESS” for 30A… ;-)

  23. Best wishes to Tilsit and hope when things improve he will return.

    Found this puzzle not too bad until I hit the SW corner and that sent me from 2* time to 3* …. very tricky and parsing hard to fathom. So today is 3*/3*

    Favourites today include 4a,17a, 29a, 2d & 19d with winner 17a
    Unknown word in 13a & 25a … learnt something anyway.

    Thanks to Cephas (?) and CS

  24. That was just nicely challenging with only the SW causing a bit of a hold-up mainly due to my having put the wrong second half for 11d. 13a didn’t occur to me whilst I struggled not to bung in a single fruit which accommodated the crossers. 30a made me grin. Ditto to RD and CS re 10a. Thank you Cephas and CS.
    Tilsit, it is so sad to know that you are hanging up your cruciverbal hat and forsaking us. Your contributions to the BD site for which I do warmly thank you have been outstanding and I for one will particularly miss your eclectic selection of musical interludes. Do hope you will soon be better and able to regain your fully active life. 🎼💐🌈. Best get well wishes to you also Jane – your comments are always spot-on and have been missed recently. 🥀.🌈

  25. Firstly best wishes to Tilsit & profound thanks for all of your insights. You will be much missed by all. Sorry to hear Jane has had a spell in hospital, glad to hear that she’s back home & on the mend & hopefully back to commenting again soon.
    Thought the puzzle pretty straightforward & reasonably enjoyable with only 13a requiring confirmation as new to me & a head scratch at 10a as to what was cryptic about the clue. 30a my fav
    Thanks to the setter & CS

  26. I found this rather more tricky than others seem to have done. Also never heard of 13a. 11d last one in despite having all the checkers in place, obvious when it finally fell into place. Thanks to CS (google the apple recipe – you may find it that way). Get well soon Jane and where is Terence?

  27. Well, it wasn’t Chalicea – but neither was it Cephas…this is my second SPP (thanks Ed!) and it was mostly well received – with comments like “amusing” and “enjoyable”; and quite a few favourite clues noted – so I was quite surprised to see “grim and joyless” as an early comment; since my aim is always to amuse and entertain… The criticism of 10Ac is accepted: although in my defence, it was a late editorial amendment, as my original definition was queried as being technically inaccurate. It is (weakly) cryptic – but I wasn’t sure of it, really: and I will hope to do better next time. See you soon!

    1. I didn’t get the “grim and joyless” either and felt he must be reading the wrong paper.

      1. Thanks for the kind words, WW – maybe he was on a different page, or in a different paper? The rest of you have been much kinder – thank you.

        1. I’d say the “grim and joyless” comment was tongue in cheek, as the Friday offering was a real stinker, almost universally panned. I can’t remember a more difficult backpager in my experience, which started in 1984. This SPP is pitched about right, I’d say.

          Keep it up X-Type.

    2. We really enjoyed your crossword. It had sufficiently head scratching, misleading, stretching, funny and satisfying clues in good measure. We don’t all have the same senses of humour or perspective, so there will always be folk who just don’t ‘get it’. Setting crosswords appears to me far more difficult than solving them, so kudos and thanks to all who do.

      Best wishes and thanks to Tilsit, having studied with the OU, I know how absorbing it can be. May you soon feel the benefit of cutting back on your commitments.

      Good health to all and many thanks to CS and X-Type – onwards and upwards x

  28. I was surprised to read that CS very clearly ‘knew’ that the setter was Chalicea, and my first thought was that it just couldn’t be! My reasoning? Our Lovely Lady Setter would never offer a clue so fuzzy and ill-supported as 8d! Of course, I had never heard either of the cake or of the character in The Goon Show, and so maybe I’m just perturbed about my ignorance, eh? Still, Chalicea would never do that to us! My DNF notwithstanding, I did enjoy the rest of the puzzle though I found it considerably less well focused than the usual SPP. Thanks to CS anyway and to today’s setter.

    Regards to Tilsit and best wishes for improving health, and my very best wishes too to Jane!

  29. Reasonably straightforward until 21d had me cycling through the alphabet and guessing a few wrong ‘uns before the penny dropped. I guess some crosswords are more ‘enjoyable’ than others; that surfaces can be slicker and humour can be found in some if not others, but I just really enjoy solving crosswords of all types, appreciating the setters’ various skills and ways of working. This was no exception, so thanks to X-type and CS for the hints.
    Also thanks to Tilsit for his unstinting work over the years and best wishes to Jane and Big Dave. I look forward to seeing all three of you soon.

  30. I enjoyed this puzzle today, and like some others, 13a and 22d were new words. I could tell a funny tale about 10a, but it would land me on the naughty step, so I’ll keep it for another time. Thank you to the setter, and CS for the hints and pictures. And a BIG thank you to Tilsit for all he has contributed to this site; may your health soon improve.

  31. Please send Tilsit our best and thanks. We hope he feels better soon.

  32. Best wishes to Tilsit and thanks for all the Saturday blogs. Hope you’re soon on the mend.
    Thanks to X-Type for an enjoyable and nicely challenging crossword! Thanks too to Cryptic Sue for the hints which were not needed today!

  33. I found yesterday easier than today, where I have got about half of the crossword done and doubt I will solve any more clues.

    Not a fan of clues that refer to other clues. Today has 3 clues linked.

    Thanks to all.

  34. Best wishes to Tilsit ..I hope all goes well for him ..
    I am still struggling with a few of this Saturday puzzle..hoping I have a light bulb moment very soon

  35. Quite difficult, progress ground to a halt at 13a and 11d.
    After a break, came back and after excavating the grey matter constructed correctly these two.
    Pure fluke as both were new words for me
    Ah well, we live and learn.
    Thanks to the setter and CS, nicely illustrated.

  36. Best Wishes and many thanks to Tilsit. Hoping you get back to good health soon and come back fully refreshed. Also, get well wishes to Jane. Pleased to hear that you are back home from hospital and may you soon be back commenting.
    Thanks also to X-type for today’s puzzle which I have almost finished except for 13a I know what I want to put in but can’t parse it and my reference books haven’t come up with an alternative! Thanks also to CS and for the update about Tilsit. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone.

  37. Thanks to CS for the extra clues and news about Tilsit. I’m sending best wishes to Tilsit and hope that you feel better soon. It’s horrible to feel overwhelmed and so I hope you start to feel lighter soon. Thanks to RD for news about Jane and best wishes also to Jane whose comments I always look forward to reading. Hopefully you’ll have more time to be reading. I look forward to hearing how much better you feel soon. As for the crossword- well I’m still a long way off from my usual level of solving but I’m ever the optimist so maybe next week will see a return to normal. Have had weird experience of reading and not remembering what I’ve read so will give that a rest too. Onwards and upwards!

  38. Dear me – apologies X-Type, I completely forgot to thank you! I really appreciate how wonderful it must be to create a crossword and how much work must go into it. Solving- or attempting to solve in my case- is an essential part of my day and night and I feel bereft if I don’t have a newspaper to have a go at completing it. Looking forward to your next crosswords.

  39. Thanks X Type and CS. I’ve been away in Llandudno and barely done any X Words. Those I had time to look at during the week seemed rather hard. This one I only did this morning and found it just the right level for a Saturday. LOI was 13a. I didn’t know the fruit but Googled the word once I had the checkers. There was a more obvious fruit but, as it didn’t mean hang limply however I spelt it, I persevered. Favourites 4 20 23 29 and 31a and 1 21 and 26d.

  40. A late arrival at the Saturday Puzzlers Ball, and sad to see the announcement of Tilsit’s (hopefully temporary and brief) retirement – thank you for all your blogs and behind the scenes work in making this wonderful site what it is, and I hope your recovery is swift and full.

    Thank you X-type for a most enjoyable and gentle challenge, all fairly clued and generally familiar. Thanks also to Cryptic Sue for the blog.

  41. I really enjoyed this crossword, especially 2d and 11d. Excellent!
    I encountered few problems until I hit the SW corner. For some unknown reason, I completely lost the wavelength that was serving me so well. I am indeed most grateful to crypticsue for the hints, beautifully illustrated.
    Thank you very much X-Type and crypticsue.
    I am very sorry that Tilsit is leaving the blog and wish him everything of the very best in all he does. He has been so much part of the blog for so long it is difficult to think of it without him. My warmest thanks and appreciation.

  42. Not one of my better Saturday puzzles, which I usually finish eventually (sometimes with help from Tilsit or whoever has deputised up to now).

    I don’t often comment here but I just wanted to add my very best wishes to Tilsit and my gratitude for all the hints and inputs. Good luck for the future.

  43. I don’t usually comment but have been trying to resolve a problem with the Telegraph and wondered if anyone else had the solution. Usually we print two copies from my iPad or iPhone and do the puzzle over a morning cuppa. However, a couple of months ago, the Tel decided to ‘improve’ the iPhone version. Now, if you want to print the whole of the bottom of the A4 sheet is blank with the patronising heading ‘Notes’ at the top. The top left of the page is a much reduced print of the crossword and the top right is tiny indecipherable clues. Thus it is impossible to print a decipherable version from the phone. I have emailed the help desk and just get a bland response about taking comments into account. Have I missed something and is there a way to print this properly. I don’t need half a page of A4 for notes – but I do need to be able to read the clues!

    1. Hi Jennifer – the new site really is appalling, and the utter lack of response to feedback, given as requested, suggests an arrogant “we can do no wrong” attitude from Mr Lancaster and the puzzles department that one usually associates with the BBC.

      Anyway, easiest option is to stick with the old Telegraph puzzles site for so long as it remains live. Failing that, in his blog a couple of days ago for DT30129 Mr K published an incredibly helpful workaround for printing legible puzzles from the new site.

      Good luck!

      1. I must come to Chris’s defence here – he is not arrogant; just frantically busy, trying to juggle the new site and introduce new puzzle types for more entertainment. I shouldn’t say this, but he sometimes emails setters in the early hours of the morning, as he’s worked a 15-hour day…

  44. This is very late as I’ve only just completed this crossword but I would like join you all in sending my thanks and good wishes to Tilsit. For years I’ve stalked mostly and have greatly appreciated your many erudite contributions!

  45. 3*/4*…..
    liked 25A “Mawkish message not finished (4)”…
    Best Wishes to Jane and Tilsit.

Comments are closed.