DT 30139 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30139

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30139
Hints and tips by Twmbarlwm

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

Good morning. A small handful of simple clues, some excellent anagrams and a few that needed a lot more thought all added up to a fun solve.
Of the 30 clues, I counted 17 of five words or fewer (and the remainder weren’t much longer), which takes a great deal of wit and skill.  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 Doctor initially absent? Let’s try here (6,6)
HARLEY STREET: Superb all-in-one to get us started – an anagram (doctor) of A and LET’S TRY HERE

9a One minute before someone in theatre, perhaps, is restless (9)
IMPATIENT: Single letter signifiers of one and minute precede someone in an operating theatre

10a Daughter in contest beginning to outdo record (5)
VIDEO: The letter that commonly represents daughter goes in a word for contest (verb), followed by a first letter as indicated

11a Reprimanding no head for flogging (6)
HIDING: A synonym for telling off loses its first letter (no head)

12a Prisoners tense after whip’s fixed (8)
CONSTANT: A diminutive term for prisoners followed by one letter representing tense that’s placed after a synonym for whip as a verb

13a Stress as adult’s missed coach (6)
STRAIN: A word for coach as a verb follows the second word of the clue minus (missed) the letter for adult

15a Grill people lining up for a haircut, we’re told? (8)
BARBECUE: A dual homophone (we’re told) that combines a hairdresser and a file of waiting customers

18a Group of actors keeping ready ahead of electronic recording (8)
CASSETTE: A collective noun for actors in any one production containing (keeping) a synonym of ready, or primed, all of which is followed by a single-letter for electronic.
You can tell you’ve been doing cryptics for a long time when your first thought for ‘ready’ is something to do with money

19a Girl nerds regularly avoided (6)
MISSED: A general term for girl as an unmarried female is followed by some alternate (regularly) letters

21a Check with pilot’s spokesperson (8)
CHAIRMAN: A two-letter shortening of check and another term for a pilot or aviator

23a Instruments, loud instruments (6)
FLUTES: The letter that represents loud, or forte, in sheet music precedes the plural of a stringed instrument that Sting is occasionally lampooned for playing

26a Come about old dog biting Charlie (5)
OCCUR: The usual letter for old and a word for dog, particularly an unlovable mongrel, containing (biting) a letter indicated here by its NATO phonetic alphabet term

27a Eager aunt’s broken promise (9)
GUARANTEE: Only the second anagram of the puzzle so far: EAGER AUNT (‘s broken)

28a Bad physician might give one this abuse (3-9)
ILL-TREATMENT: A double definition, I think, rather than a cryptic definition, but you could argue for both


1d Fantastic sight after European husband climbs summits (7)
HEIGHTS: An anagram (fantastic) of SIGHT follows a reversal of the single letters that stand for European and husband

2d Sally admitting tip of pencil’s sharp (5)
RAPID: A synonym of sally in the sense of eg a military attack containing (admitting) a first letter as indicated by ‘tip’

3d Wide river restricting swimming in vest (9)
EXTENSIVE: The anagram rate is picking up! A river in SW England containing (restricting) an anagram (swimming) of IN VEST

4d Spies going north and south (4)
SEES: A palindrome (going north and south) of a verb-form

5d Sensible to control a learner (8)
RATIONAL: A synonym of ‘to control’, as in to limit or restrict, is followed by ‘a’ from the clue and the letter that stands for learner

6d Some colonel visited the King? (5)
ELVIS: The solution lurks in the clue. This is probably also a clever reference to a notorious manager who wasn’t a genuine military colonel

7d Approaches caves and bats (8)
ADVANCES: An anagram (bats) of CAVES AND

8d Steel container (6)
BOTTLE: A double definition, one of which is a synonym of courage

14d About to burn church study (8)
RESEARCH: A charade of a two-letter word for about (or concerning), a synonym for burn, perhaps most often used about the cooking of meat, and two letters for church

16d Wicked drunk in bar still ignoring son (9)
BRILLIANT: A deceptive but common definition (it fooled me for a while) is the subject of our last anagram (drunk) of IN BAR STILL without the single-letter indicator for son

17d True sound on the radio (8)
STRAIGHT: A homophone (on the radio) of an area of water

18d Touched a bird (6)
CUCKOO: A double definition, one of which is a synonym for slightly mad

20d Lock editor up, fool? (7)
DESSERT: A complete reversal (up) that will be familiar to many solvers, but a very neat way of expressing it using a reference to hair, the usual abbreviation of editor, and a definition by example

22d King starts to underestimate ruling a large country (5)
RURAL: A letter representing the Latin word for King is followed by two initial letters, ‘a’ from the clue, and a letter for large. The solution is a well-disguised adjective.

24d Bird on lake with English name (5)
TITLE: A common British bird (a word that some squeamish Americans have amended) is followed by the single letters for lake and English

25d Chap‘s medium beer (4)
MALE: A letter for medium in clothing sizes and a synonym of beer

My particular favourites were 1a, 12a, 3d, 6d, 7d and 16d. What were yours?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: AXE + SEE + DENTS = ACCIDENTS – or ACCIDENCE or ACCEDENCE?

72 comments on “DT 30139

  1. This one flowed a treat over coffee at */**** with its 5 or so anagrams speeding the way. The best of those I thought the clever 1a my COTD although I also thought the Lego clue 20d excellent too. Nice to have an easier whilst very well crafted challenge. Thanks to Twmbarlwm and the setter.

  2. Satisfying solve to completion.
    Last in 2d, not exactly the first synonym which comes to mind!
    Some great anagrams eg 1a
    15a brought a smile.
    So, 2*/4*
    Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  3. As Twn says, a top draw 1a all in one starter, the NW corner itself was last in and excellently clued .
    Liked 18d and 21a ,checked the check in my Chambers, assume it was from chess.
    Favourite was the original 8d followed by 15a.
    Going for a ***/****.
    Quickie pun brought a smile!

  4. ‘Handful of simple clues’, well not for me chum! I found this very hard going
    indeed, took me quite a while, not helped by getting 1a nearly last.
    Thought a few clues were a bit dubious, but got a real sense of achievement
    when it was finally done. Maybe just not my wavelength today. Thought 16d
    was clever though, not immediately obvious to the older ones of us.

  5. I agree with Tipcat. For some reason I found this hard going, though I really enjoyed it. A great sense of achievement on finishing without accessing the hints. Good job I had nothing planned for this morning though I don’t challenge myself time wise. May have done better if I’d seen 1a earlier. I always feel happier if I can start there. Lots of good clues. Especially liked 1a, 28a, 3d and 14d. Thanks to the compiler and Twmbarlwm.

  6. Had a feeling that I’d made much harder work of this than I ought to have & T’s rating plus the first 3 comments confirmed it but at least Tipcat kept me company. Game of 2 halves for me – a breeze in the east but brain fog in the west & particularly so in the NW. 1a&d plus 3d embarrassingly slow to yield taking me just into *** time so I’ll stick them on my podium.
    Thanks to the setter for an enjoyable puzzle & to T
    Ps Can’t say I’m finding Serpent’s Toughie particularly Tuesdayish – come to a grinding halt with only half in.

  7. I enjoyed this whilst it lasted. 1a was my favourite.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Twmbarlwm.

  8. Plenty to like here though as usual for me the parsing of some (like 11) took some cogitation. Loved 1A, 15A made me smile, and I thought 7D was excellent. Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  9. 2*/4*. This was great fun with 1a, 15a, 6d & 17d my top picks plus a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr T.

  10. Mr Plumb’s grid? Not Typically Tuesdayish for me – 2.5*/3.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 8d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

    P.S. I’m with Huntsman on the Serpent Toughie.

  11. NW corner gave an encouraging lead but from then on it wasn’t quite such plain-sailing and I was slow in the uptake on a few. Touched in 18d didn’t occur to me so that was a bung-in as was 21a and even 20d (fool!). Abbreviated 16d is certainly an expression well used by the young these days. Thank you setter and MrT.

  12. Just popping in during a brief moment of clarity to thank everyone who’s sent their good wishes – very much appreciated.
    Decidedly battered and bruised following my two ‘black-out’ sessions and falls and the spectre of concussion hangs over me for much of the time, but I am still managing to deal with the puzzles, mostly the back-pagers, although very slowly. Often dip into the blog to see how you’re all faring and hope to be back amongst you ‘ere long.

    1. Look after yourself, Jane, and get better soon.
      It’s good to know that you’re still doing the puzzles.

    2. Oh dear. Poor you. Fingers crossed for speedy improvement & pleased that you’re still up to doing the puzzles as well as making sure we’re all behaving in your absence.

      1. Hope you feel better soon Jane. I’ve had my share of falls and it really shakes tou up both mentally and physically.

    3. Great to see you on the blog again, Jane. We will all be delighted when you are feeling well enough to post regularly again.

      Take care :rose:

    4. So glad to hear from you, Jane, and so sorry about your illness. I hope that things improve for you very soon. We’ve really missed you.

    5. Jane, your comments really are much missed. Do hope you will soon be fit enough to be back amongst us on a complete basis. In the meantime get well soon 🌈💐.

    6. Oh dear, do get well soon I hope your family are looking after you. It’s great that you can dip in and out of the crosswords. 🤕

    7. I have only just opened the blog to see your post, so I can only echo the many thoughts and comments from the regulars and wish you all the best.

    8. Very sorry to read of your axe see dents (I hope that’s not too frivolous). Best wishes for a full recovery and soon.

      1. You used a full name as your alias so the comment went into moderation. I’ve taken the liberty of changing the alias back to your usual one.

    9. How lovely to see you popping in Jane. I’m very sorry to hear of your ‘blackout’ sessions and falls. Super, though, that you can still do the puzzles, if slowly. Falls are awful. Apart from physical bruising, they seem to shake one’s confidence considerably…
      I very much hope you will soon be feeling much, much better and look forward to your comments which I always enjoy reading.

    10. Wow! So sorry to hear of your travails Jane. We do miss your comments. Hope you make a full recovery very soon.

    11. Same from me too. Best wishes. I’ve had my share of falls too. Trouble is every test you have reveals something else.

    12. If you’ve got concussion, just make sure you rest your brain properly. Cryptics might not be the best idea unless you can manage them without making the symptoms worse. Boring as it may be, the more you rest the quicker you’ll recover. Sorry, you probably didn’t expect an A&E doctor’s unsolicited advice on this blog but you may thank me later! 🙂 Hope you recover soon.

      1. Only just seen your post, Chris, and would already agree wholeheartedly. I still try some of the puzzles but give up the moment I sense any trouble looming. Peace, quiet and the comfort of my own home is proving to be the best medicine and I’m pleased to hear your advice. Would you advise me to accept a flu jab or leave it well alone – I’m getting very varied opinions on the subject.

  13. The SE corner went in swiftly but the rest took some teasing out. Unfortunately, I had to resort to the hints to get me going in the NW and I put that down to the haircut I had this morning affecting me, Samson-like. After that, things fell into place at a steady pace. Of all the words for reprimand I completely forgot the one in 11a. My COTD has to be the grill – it made me laugh after having been to the barber this morning.

    Many thanks to the setter and Mr. Welsh Anagram – sorry, Twmbarlwm.

    I wish our present incumbent at Number Ten would get a pair of trousers that fit.

  14. That was fun and quite quirky. Long time since I have seen an 18a, probably got a player somewhere in the attic!
    Best clue for me by a long way was 15a, a real smiler.
    Really enjoyable puzzle.
    Thx to all concerned

    1. 15a is a “dad joke” (or should that be bad joke?) that I do every summer, so that went straight in!
      CoD 1a – really liked that one.
      An excellent puzzle.

  15. Enjoyable puzzle, pitched just right for a Tuesday – thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.
    The clues I liked best were 1a, 17d and 20d.

  16. I usually find the Tuesday back pager heavy going and this was no exception. Felt neither 8 d or 28a were particularly cryptic.
    I’m missing the reasoning behind 15 a. To me “Barbi(e)” is a doll not “people”.

    1. I don’t think it has anything to do with Barbie, JB. It’s a line of people waiting for the barber. :grin:

  17. I am in the slightly tricky camp today. I just couldn’t see the whip and a couple of anagrams but with a nudge I got there in the end.
    Thanks to Twmbrlwm and setter. I will have a go at the toughie next but by the time I have done it I expect the blog will have gone to bed.

  18. A bit trickier than usual perhaps for a Tuesday, but once I realised where I was–not in Kansas anymore, or the States even–and decided that 1a was an enriched all-in-one, I was on my happy way (what a great clue!), with 18 & 20d drawing laughs and completing the podium for me. Very enjoyable indeed. Thanks to Twmbarlwm and the crafty setter. **/****

    A most unusual Toughie-cum-‘gimmick’ which I finished with a whoopee!

  19. A qurky set of ues, clever misdirection and some wlusive synonyms made this puzzle quite challenging, particularly the top half. I liked the double definition , 1d, the 17d homophone and the 1a anagram. Thanks to Twmbarlwm for help inparsing a few bung-ins and to the compiler.

  20. What a super little puzzle that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish, making a perfect 20d for the Serpent Toughie.
    My favourite was 17d
    Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  21. I agree with Crisscross that I completed the bottom half easily and the top took a bit longer, although I did get 1a quite early on and it is my favourite. Very clever. I also liked all the others which have been mentioned. Had a fascinating Arts Society lecture atChurchill College on Norman Rockwell. I remember going to his place many years ago and meeting people who were featured in his paintings. Mrs Morley, who lived next door, had the Saturday Evening Post sent to her every week during the war. How did that happen? She passed it on to us to look at then we handed it back and she stored them all in the lift. My mother thought it was a huge fire risk but we were the ones that kept on getting incendiary bombs through the roof. Sorry, reminiscences of an old lady. Many thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwm.

  22. Get the feeling that this was harder than ** .Didn’t particularly like 15a [ too clever by half] 18a,21a,or2d. As a result not a***/**** either. Thanks for the hints though, needed one or two !

  23. Lots to enjoy here: the very clever 1a, the simple but effective 23a, the misdirection in 3d which put a W in the first square for quite a while, 6d’s neat reference to “Colonel” TP, and last but not least 22d.

    Thanks to our setter for the fun and to Twmbarlwm for an elegant and entertaining set of hints.

  24. Another tricky Tuesday puzzle that required some head scratching and had a few PDM’s

    Favourites today include 1a, 9a, 28a, 3d & 20d with winner 1a

    Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm

  25. A really clever puzzle with some lovely surfaces, none better than the all-in-one at 1a. Highly enjoyable.

    Many thanks to our setter and Mr T.

  26. I really enjoyed this one.
    I found the left side much more difficult than the other one.
    The long answer across the top took me ages – would have been much easier had I realised it was an anagram!
    Far too many to pick out special clues so maybe I won’t try!
    This felt unfamiliar, to me anyway – do we know who set today’s crossword?
    Thank to the setter and to Twmbarlwm – hope I put all the letters in the right order!

  27. Once again I needed the checkers to help me to some of the answers. Those where I had some idea what I was looking for fell easily but for the others electronic help provided them but only after some mystifying parsing.

    Agree with a few of the others that getting down with the brothers and the last decades language does not come easily and only seeing the word in the electronic help revived a memory of the playground language.

    Thanks to Tumbarlwm and the setter.

  28. Great puzzle, quite challenging for me, 1a way out in front as COTD – also, my second to last in, though I should have seen it as my father resided and practiced there….

  29. Oh dear. Just couldn’t get the wavelength. A dnf for me in the SW corner and I would query the definition of 21a as spokesman. Some great cueing though and I enjoyed the challenge. ***/*** for me

  30. Found this quite tricky ***/*** 😬 Favourites 15a, 14d & 24d 😃 Thanks to Twmbarlwm and to the Compiler

  31. I’m in the ‘I made harder work of this than I should have’ Camp and actually finished at a Senf like gallop. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to the setter and T.

  32. I enjoyed this but not an easy run. Started last night after a very delicious meal in a restaurant in Nottingham. Favourites 10 26 and 28a and 14d. One or two giveaways but not many. HD to engage the brain. 1a and 3d were my last in. Like dear Kath I may have got there quicker had I spotted the anagram in 1a. Thank you setter and hinter.

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