DT 30133 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30133

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30133
Hints and tips by Twmbarlwm

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

Good morning. A puzzle that was a joy to solve – a few complexities but not quite *** difficulty, and several delightful examples of wit and originality in the wordplay.

Many thanks to the setter.

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 and which aspects you liked etc.


1a Absolutely lucid, recall stay abroad with monarch (7,5)
CRYSTAL CLEAR: An anagram (abroad) of RECALL STAY goes alongside (with) the cypher for our new monarch

8a Arterial route in Australia or Tasmania (5)
AORTA: The solution lurks in the clue

9a Sporty student to initiate classy descent? (4,5)
BLUE BLOOD: A word that was originally used for a Cambridge or Oxford student who represents his or her uni in a sport (actor Hugh Laurie was one at Cambridge, for rowing), and a verb meaning to initiate that’s derived from hunting, but can also be used figuratively

11a See feline is circling old and new sites (9)
LOCATIONS: The archaic but handy-for-crossword-setters word for see, or look, plus the common word for a feline, preceding ‘is’ from the clue, which contains (circling) the usual letters for old and new respectively

12a Old letters in English among works (5)
RUNES: One letter that stands for English is contained by (among) a verb-form meaning works, or ‘is in operation’

13a Moor’s father taken round large resort (6,3)
HEALTH SPA: My first thought was ‘who the heck is Othello’s dad?’, but it’s a different sort of moor with an apostrophe-s, plus a word for father, ’round’ a letter for large

16a Either way this is unacceptable (3,2)
NOT ON: A palindrome (either way)

18a Curse from Cornish listener? (5)
SWEAR: A bodily organ goes after a compass direction that could refer to Cornwall (among other counties, hence the question mark)

19a Abhorrent to Holmes, criminally hiding answer (9)
LOATHSOME: An anagram (criminally) of TO HOLMES containing (hiding) a letter representing answer

20a Best supplied with ball on both United wings? (5)
OUTDO: The letter that most resembles a ball is placed each side (wings) of an abbreviation for United. Most people will think of the genius George Best at Manchester United, but the brilliant Clyde Best (now living in Bermuda) was a striker for West Ham United in the same era. Apologies to any other players named Best who played for Uniteds!

22a Hotel in woods given one rating or another? (5-4)
THREE-STAR: The NATO phonetic alphabet representation of hotel goes ‘in’ what collectively make woods or forests, which is followed by a word for rating in the sense of sailor, giving a different example of a rating

25a Our booze brought into SCG brings punishment (9)
SCOURGING: The first word from the clue plus an alcoholic drink are ‘brought into’ an initialism of a famous Australian cricket ground. The venue in question is licensed – you’re not allowed to bring your own booze in – so a very apposite clue

26a Sinking vessel, but buoyant at regular intervals (1-4)
U-BOAT: A very neat alternate letter clue

27a Cooked alternative to ploughman’s lunch? (9,3)
SHEPHERDS PIE: A cryptic definition and another meal for a farmworker


1d Rook stops fighting cock near grassland bird (9)
CORNCRAKE: The single-letter definition of rook that’s used in chess notation goes inside (stops – i.e. plugs or blocks) an anagram (fighting) of COCK NEAR

2d Brewing agent truly virtuous person (5)
YEAST: An archaic word for truly, or yes, that appears a few hundred times in The King James Bible is followed by the two-letter abbreviation of a word for a good person

3d Two rounds added to bill? That’s ruled out (5)
TABOO: A word for a bar bill, more common in America perhaps, has a ’round’ letter added twice

4d Oil in USA revived a southern state (9)
LOUISIANA: An anagram (revived) of OIL IN USA, which is followed by ‘a’ from the clue

5d LA Times runs cryptic hint: misleading passages here? (9)
LABYRINTH: The US city is followed by a synonym of times (as in arithmetic), the one-letter abbreviation of runs (from cricket scoring), and an anagram (cryptic) of HINT

6d A party with sailors below deck (5)
ADORN: A combination of ‘A’ and the two-letter party we often see in puzzles, plus an initialised British armed force

7d Have control over photography session? (4,3,5)
CALL THE SHOTS: A cryptic definition involving a synonym of photos. (The phrase’s origin is in the use of firearms.)

10d Smash dish in the fireplace — not hard at all? (12)
DISINTEGRATE: A synonym of fireplace is preceded by three consecutive words from the clue with each instance of the letter aitch removed (not hard at all)

14d Aircraft brings fish endlessly to shore (9)
TURBOPROP: An edible flat fish without its last letter (endlessly) is followed by a synonym of shore as a verb, often followed by ‘up’

15d Patience very drunk with Yorkshire banker (9)
SOLITAIRE: Synonyms of very and drunk are followed by a river (banker) in Yorkshire

17d Set to work reassembling engine (3-6)
TWO-STROKE: An anagram (reassembling) of SET TO WORK

21d Grinder perhaps also extremely tough (5)
TOOTH: A word meaning also, followed by the outer letters (extremely) of tough

23d Austere American soldier getting in free (5)
RIGID: A two-letter-abbreviated US soldier ‘in’ a synonym of free, or clear

24d Last from Monkhouse joke stock (5)
EQUIP: A final letter as indicated and a word for a joke, or one-liner. The setter is perhaps referring to Bob Monkhouse’s joke books (see photo), two of which were famously stolen about 25 years ago. They were recovered in a police sting operation a year or two later.


My particular favourites of many were 20a, 22a, 25a, 26a, 5d, 6d and 10d. What were yours?


70 comments on “DT 30133
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  1. Brilliant puzzle today, aircraft, engines, and not an obscure card game or literary character is sight, straight out of the Boys Own magazine. My two favourites today
    were 22a and 14d. Hats off to the setter, great fun!

  2. In total agreement that this was straight out of the top drawer, with some great misdirection and concise clueing. If pushed to nominate a favourite I would pick 5d from a long list of contenders.

    Many thanks to our Setter and Mr T.

  3. *Thank you to all those who kindly mentioned me last week in relation to the splendid Chelsea ‘themed’ crossword.*

    I hope I’m not being impertinent but…
    May I propose that it is time to let the past stay in the past and invite Mark/Miff back into the fold? He may refuse to return and he may not (I have not asked him) but I would hope he would be pleased to be readmitted. Nobody needs to apologise and nobody needs to feel slighted. Just ‘let it all go’.
    I miss his witty comments and the insights into his life with Saint Sharon. His analysis and his hints were a highlight of the crossword week. I suspect that if he is allowed to return and contribute, then some of us may also feel that we too can contribute again.

      1. Iv agree everybody has had their say and I’ve never seen any point in holding grudges. It’s a waste of time effort and energy.

        1. Not so keen – I frequently felt his comments to others were borderline offensive and came close to bullying and while I admired him as a solver otherwise found him smug and conceited…

    1. Good to hear from you T – thought you may still be in a darkened room after the drubbing at the weekend (thought Potter’s reception from some of their fans a joke).
      Would love to think MP may come back but sadly fear that ship has sailed. I’d like to think he still reads the comments & knows how much many of us miss his contributions

    2. Great to hear from you Terence 👍
      I fully agree with your sentiments.
      PS As an old school Leeds fan, I still haven’t got over 1970😱

    3. Thank you Terence. All you’ve said with knobs on. I’ve started solving again and use the blog to help with the unsolvable offerings of late, but I won’t come back unless the bridges with M’pops are mended. I agree with Huntsman that I doubt he will come back, however, he should be invited and let it be his decision. Are you reading this Deep Threat and Steve C ? We miss you too. We lost too many people over a silly spat, grow up everyone!

      1. It takes time for wounds to heal, some never do. I would dearly love to see our erstwhile friends return and I’m hoping against hope that they will.

    4. YES Fully agree with all that has been said above…..

      Re the crossword – flowed nicely with good clues. Favourite 26a.

      Thanks to T and NYDK

    5. The bloke was rude, patronising and unpleasant and the main reason I left this site a few months back.
      I can’t believe people really want him back.

  4. Loved it. Took me a minute or two to sort out 10d but no other real hold ups. No favourite today. Liked them all. Thanks to all involved.

  5. A really top-notch puzzle with excellent clues throughout (though I didn’t think that 27a matched up to the standard of the rest of clues).
    From a long shortlist I’ve selected 9a, 5d and 10d for my podium.
    Many thanks to our setter and to Twmbarlwm.

  6. So much to like here that it’s hard to pick podium places, but I’ll go with 5D, 14D and 17D. Thanks to Twmbarlwm and the setter.

  7. Sort of Typically Tuesdayish but not ‘Mr Plumb’s grid’ so a real guess the setter. Of course it might be him trying to confuse us. **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 16a, 5d, 6d, and 15d and the winner is 16a.

    Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

    P.S. The Chalicea Toughie could ‘double’ as a second back pager!

  8. Super puzzle, which at first glance had me checking that the tile on my print-out wasn’t “Tough”, however the first clue fell swiftly and the rest followed as dominoes: what a fun and light-hearted challenge, with some lovely constructions and clue types. COTD by a hair’s breadth to 22a, with 10d close on its rear; other Hon Mentions to 9a, 19a (great surface), 5d and 7d.

    1.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to the Setter and to Twmbarlwm

  9. Thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm for the review and hints. What a super puzzle, so witty, some great clues. Just needed the hints to parse the last 3 letters of 22a. LOI was 14d. I liked 6d, but my Favourite was 20a, so clever. Was 2* / 4* for me.

  10. Very entertaining indeed – surely no complaints today. Ticks aplenty – 9,11&22a plus 3,5,10,14,15&17d & the winner is 5d.
    Thanks to the setter & T
    Ps As Senf says a second enjoyable cryptic in the Toughie slot – no more difficult than this.

  11. Absolutely wonderful, every single clue, and a total joy to solve. I have three contenders for the first podium and can’t decide between them– 25a, 5d, & 10d–and beyond that, 15d, 17d, & 22a occupy a parallel podium. Loved this puzzle. Thanks to Twmbarlwm and today’s inspired setter. 1.5* / 5*

    And three cheers for Chalicea’s Toughie!

  12. Excellent puzzle with some super clues. However I cannot see how Austere relates to the answer in 23d. It is not one of the definitions in my copy of the BRB.
    Thx to all

    1. B, 23d. The latest BRB doesn’t give austere as a definition of the answer, but I think it is OK. The answer is listed under Austere in the Chambers Thesaurus. Which also has listed, for the answer (R***D): Austere, as in a r***d/austere political system. The BRB gives the definition of synonym as: “a word having the same meaning as another in the same laguage (usually very nearly the same the same meaning)”. So, if a chosen synoymn has “the same meaning” as another word (in this case, the answer word), then that’s good enough to be called a “definition” in a cryptic clue. Does that help?

  13. Have to own up to a DNF today, thought it was all wrapped up until I checked the hints. Having entered the style rather than the actual letters in 12a (dead tree version) my 10d ended up as trouble in the church world…..no wonder it didn’t parse!
    Thanks to the setter for a first-class puzzle and T for showing the (correct) light at the end of the tunnel.

  14. Pleasant solve.
    15d, though, took an age, putting me into 2.5* time.
    Great clue as was 5d, my COTD.
    Thanks to the setter and T.

  15. Good fun with several crafty clues including 13a, 18a, 6d, 15d and 21d. East was least challenging half. Re 1a only just beginning to think of the new monarch’s initials rather than his mother’s. Surface of 20d might be cleverly constructed but I’m obviously being thick (to borrow a DG expression!) again as I can’t see how the solution word relates to anything – better yes but best? Thank you Mysteron and MrT.

    1. Angelov, “better” and “best” provide a great example of English at its most idiosyncratic.

      As adjectives, better and best are the comparative and superlative of good (i.e. “better” means “more good” and “best” means “most good”).

      As verbs, “better”, “best”, and (quirkily) “worst” all mean to “defeat” making them each a synonym of the answer to 20a.

      So, although “best” as an adjective means the exact opposite of “worst”, the two words are synonymous when used as verbs.

      1. Thanks RD. Of course I am well aware of best as an adjective, adverb and noun but hadn’t thought of it in terms of a verb as per better but one lives and learns!

  16. The eastern half of the puzzle went in well but the western half had some tricky ‘guess what the compiler’s thinking of’ style clues and without looking up 11a and 7dvon Danword Ivwould have been unable to finish this puzzle 1d, 5d and 10d weren’t bad clues but the rest were a bit of a curate’s egg as far as I was concerned. Thanks to Twmbarlwm for the hints, and to the compiler for his efforts.

  17. Quite a few misdirections today, but I enjoyed them all. I saw the word “Absolutely” in 1a and refrained from putting in “without doubt” (7,5), scribbling it in the margin. I didn’t want to make yesterday’s mistake. I didn’t revisit 1a until the end, when I had more checking letters. The answer became obvious. I was right to leave my original thoughts scribbled in the margin. I agree with Gaza’s. 27a not up to usual standard, but the answer did make me smile. Farmers would enjoy that clue. Thank you setter and reviewer.

  18. In line with other comments, I thought this was excellent and a cut-above the usual Tuesday back-pager – and proof that a crossword doesn’t have to be tricky to be enjoyable. Very precise cluing throughout with some great surfaces, the 3 sporting clues (9a, 20a and 25a) being particular favourites. Many thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm for the blog.

  19. Agree with all comments. Excellent back pager, tricky but by no means impossible. Compares very favourably with Toughie today which was, in my view at least, easier and far less witty. 27a my favourite.

  20. Excellent puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks to setter for something I could complete without help, though not without thought. And to Mr T for clearing up the ‘why’ on a couple of clues.

    All the bloggers do a great job, thank you for your efforts. Can I add my plea for MP to return – miss his wonderful comments.

  21. A relatively straightforward puzzle … or it should have been. Ended up as 3*/3.5* for me.
    I made this puzzle more difficult for myself by putting the wrong letter at the end of 22a … my mistake as I had the answer correct in my head. Probably because I was answering the door incessantly for the ‘trick or treaters’ as i did this on Monday night.
    Took me forever to get 10d with that error. I eventually saw the mistake I had made … Oh well …

    Favourites include 1a, 8a, 16a, 5d & 14d with winner 16a
    New word for me in 12a

    Thanks to setter and Twmbarlwm for hints

  22. An excellent “Tuesday” Crossword 😃**/*** FavourItes are 16a and 1 & 14d 🤗 Thanks to Twmbarlwm and to the friendly Setter👍

  23. This was wonderful, and I agree with Robert and others that every clue deserves applause. I mean, ‘easy but good’ is one thing, but ‘easy yet superb’, well. Whoever set this was on form and having lots of fun, and that connected with me, among others as we have seen. Bravo!

    On the subject of comings and goings, I also feel it’s time to bury any outstanding hatchets, and bring us back together once again. We are stronger that way I am sure.

    Thanks super setter and twmbarlwm.

  24. I thought this was top-notch with excellent clueing and misdirection throughout. I hope (if he/she hasn’t already) the setter claims it.
    My favourite was 5d (so clever) followed closely by 13, 20&22a. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

    1. I also enjoyed this today, especially the right hand side. 7d came to me quickly but it didn’t help me with 25a which was my last one in. Thankyou both.

  25. I really enjoyed today’s crossword. Great clues and misdirection throughout. My only delay was in fully parsing ‘drunk’ in 15d? Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.
    Lovely to hear from you Terence and I hope that you and your family are keeping well.

  26. If I’m honest I made harder work of this than the toughie and that I should have. Got there in the end though and enjoyed the challenge. Favourite was 27a. Thanks to the setter and T. Nice to see Terence comment at 4 above, albeit not about about the crossword, I put in my two penn’orth, I would encourage others to do the same.

  27. This was a Doorknob production for those interested.

    Thank you for all your comments, including the many lovely ones. Thanks too to twm etc for a great blog. And yes — of course — to reunification!


    1. I wondered if it might be you, NYDK. Thanks for a really great puzzle, filled with elegance and wit. Made my day!

  28. Reasonably straightforward solve.

    Lit for drunk sounds like the sort of word used by a US rapper…

    Thanks to all.

  29. A great puzzle with do many good clues I will not choose one or more for highlighting.

    Thanks to Twmbarlwm for hos blog and to Doorknob Productions for another excellent production.

  30. Nearly finished but no complaints as a good work out for the grey matter. Many clever clues and my favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to all.

  31. Re 10d, not sure whether “smash” and “disintegrate” are synonymous. “Smash” implies a positive action while “disintegrate” happens either spontaneously or as a result of someone smashing something.

  32. Splendid production by NYDK. Got it all with no real problems or recourse to hints or aids. Did not get the lit = drunk though. The brewing agent at 2d was obvious but the parsing less so. A lot of the answers jumped out with a few checkers in eg 14d. As ever thanks to setter and hinter. I agree with Terence and followers in support. What led to the loss of some of our group was a storm in a teacup. There was a great over-reaction and interference. I suspect the matter would not have been allowed to escalate if BD had been fit and well at the time.

  33. for various reasons I have at last had time to read today’s comments and I just want to add my twopemmyworth. Please can we see all these lovely people back again, restoring to this blog all the fun pleasure – and help information and advice – that we all used to enjoy. Thank you everybody who has expressed their views, and especially to Terence for raising the subject.

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