DT 30147 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

DT 30147

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30147

Hints and tips by Mr K

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

BD Rating  -  Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Thursday. I thought this puzzle got off to a great start with 1a and then maintained that standard all the way to the Quickie pun. Not a lot to hyperlink this week, indicating that our setter is not requiring a lot of general knowledge. 

I have been wondering how new solvers learn the conventions and traditions of cryptic crosswords these days. This blog provides clue-by-clue hints of course, but it does assume some prior knowledge. When I was starting out, I learned a lot of that stuff from Big Dave’s original site. I also can’t say enough good things about Prolixic’s wonderful guide to cryptic crosswords that’s available for free on BD’s site here. So, a question for our relatively new solvers:  which books, websites, or other resources did you find most helpful when starting out with cryptic crosswords?

In the hints below most indicators are italicized, and underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions. Clicking on the answer buttons will reveal the answers. In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background. Clicking on a picture will enlarge it or display a bonus illustration and a hover (computer) or long press (mobile) might explain more about the picture. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Model or tarted-up woman making brunch for one? (11,4)
PORTMANTEAU WORD:  An anagram (model) of OR TARTED-UP WOMAN. For one indicates that the definition is by example 

9a    Angry at university reluctant to spend money (7)
UPTIGHT:  A short word meaning “at university” with an adjective meaning “reluctant to spend money” 

10a   Visible embarrassment as second transmitter goes west (7)
REDNESS:  The single letter for second and another word for transmitter are joined and reversed (… goes west, in an across clue) 

11a   Projectile writer describes fully opening (9)
BALLISTIC:  An informal name for a writing instrument contains (describes) both fully or completely and an abbreviation for opening or first 

12a   Crack constabulary is inspiring (4)
STAB:  The second word of the clue is hiding (inspiring) the answer 

13a   Vulgar Republican adopts daughter, one manipulated by sailor? (6)
RUDDER:  The fusion of vulgar or impolite and the single letter for Republican contains (adopts) the genealogical abbreviation for daughter 

15a   Tree regularly spreads in garden close to fence (8)
PEDIGREE:  Alternate letters (regularly) of SPREADS IN GARDEN with the final letter of (close to) FENCE 

18a   Person gambling gets team playing having lost one time, right? (8)
GAMESTER:  An anagram (playing) of GETS TEAM minus one copy of the physics abbreviation for time (having lost one time) is followed by the single letter for right 

19a   Professed a love to embrace Victor and get married (6)
AVOWED:  A from the clue and the letter representing a love score in tennis sandwiching (to embrace) the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by victor, all followed by a word meaning “get married” 

22a   Region united behind leader of Zulus (4)
ZONE:  United or like-minded following (behind) the first letter of (leader of) ZULUS 

23a   Add-on for individual office telephone (9)
EXTENSION:  A double definition that’s straightforward once the definitions are identified 

26a   Large doubt mostly that Bill puts on hairspray (7)
LACQUER:  The clothing abbreviation for large and all but the last letter (almost) of doubt or challenge have an abbreviation for bill or account inserted (that Bill puts on). The capitalisation of Bill is just for misdirection 

27a   Food items, some sacred, I blessed (7)
EDIBLES:  The answer is hidden as some of the remainder of the clue 

28a   Writer from Germany seen with criminal (6,9)
ERNEST HEMINGWAY:  An anagram (criminal) of GERMANY SEEN WITH 



1d    One whose work can be draining? (7)
PLUMBER:  A cryptic definition of somebody who works with drains 

2d    Mammal consumed food, tucking into game (5)
RATEL:  A verb meaning “consumed food” inserted in (tucking into) an abbreviation for an oval ball game. Read about the answer here 

3d    Meteorologist initially guessing about humidity (9)
MUGGINESS:  The initial letter of METEOROLOGIST with an anagram (about) of GUESSING 

4d    Write music, say, and outlast men oddly ignored (6)
NOTATE:  The even letters in (oddly ignored) AND OUTLAST MEN 

5d    Poor children leaving school at last after English improved (8)
ENRICHED:  After the single letter for English comes an anagram (poor) of CHILDREN minus the final letter of SCHOOL (leaving SCHOOL at last)

6d    Posh medic beginning to use revolting language (4)
URDU:  The concatenation of the single letter indicating posh or upper class, an abbreviated medic, and the beginning letter to USE is all reversed (revolting

7d    Upset husband interrupting public spat (9)
OVERTHROW:  The genealogical abbreviation for husband inserted between (interrupting) public or open and a spat or argument 

8d    Island's papers turned up to see wreck (7)
DISABLE:  A small Italian island with its ‘S from the clue and the abbreviation for identification papers are joined and then reversed (turned up, in a down clue) 

14d   Car about to be acquired by fellow Caribbean islander (9)
DOMINICAN:  A smallish car and the Latin abbreviation for about or approximately are together inserted in (acquired by) a fellow at an Oxbridge university 

16d   Supposedly offspring of necessity is porky? (9)
INVENTION:  A porky, lie, or fabrication is also something proverbially born of necessity 

17d   Investigation concerning school that's capturing attention (8)
RESEARCH:  A short word meaning concerning or about is followed by the abbreviation for school containing (that’s capturing) another word for attention 

18d   Look towards student feeding extremely large creature (7)
GAZELLE:  Look towards or stare is followed by the singe letter for a student or learner driver inserted in (feeding) the outer letters (extremely … ) of LARGE 

20d   House in decay, gutted and filthy (7)
DYNASTY:  The outer letters (gutted) of DECAY with filthy or unpleasant 

21d   Current energy requirement essentially must stop (6)
STREAM:  An informal word for energy containing the middle letter of REQUIREMENT (… requirement essentially must stop

24d   Wife's sister perhaps through with teaching, some said (2-3)
IN-LAW:  Through or during with a homophone (some said) of  teaching or wisdom 

25d   Appearances of disheartened Poet Laureate (4)
HUES:  Ted the Poet Laureate minus his central letters (disheartened


Thanks to today’s setter. My favourites today came from opposite ends of the hints, namely 1a and the Quickie pun. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  ROLLED + ARLES = ROALD DAHL

83 comments on “DT 30147

  1. I loved this, one of those puzzles where following the wordplay carefully led to the solutions rather than the solution jumping out and then justifying.
    Nice to see the great game of Rugby League getting a mention in 2d and I thought 16d “inventive” but my podium is the clever 11a (I’ll forgive the generic pen) plus 3d with top spot going to 1a one of the best clues of its type I’ve seen for quite a while.
    Many thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    Enjoyable Beam too in the other place.

    1. SL, 11a. Just to engage in a little light-hearted reciprocal nitpicking, I propose that the said implement is a specific make/name of pen. The generic term would be ballpoint or Biro (who created them).

  2. Yesterday, my post here was heavily censored. This upset me. There is no point engaging here if someone is sitting with their finger hovering over the delete button, waiting to censor a post that simply expressed support for another cruciverbalist. I suppose I am but one step from being blocked altogether.

    1. I saw your comment yesterday Terence and then saw it had been removed. I then put a reply underneath yours asking why your comment had disappeared. Guess what? My comment was deleted as well!

      1. Possibly the powers-that-. be are keen to put the debacle behind us and restore the normal friendly atmosphere but they may have underestimated the strength of feeling of some of our contributors. As I’ve said before holding onto grudges is a waste of time, effort and energy. In itself it acts like a slow poison. If you want to forget perhaps you also need to forgive?

    2. Sorry to hear that Terence. Just when I was thinking of commenting again… very disappointing.

    3. It is a little disappointing that apparently none of the contributors to these threads have considered the possibility that they might not have all the facts, or that those of us volunteering our time to keep the blog running might know what we are doing.

      The five blog caretakers and Big Dave himself, who do know everything that happened and the damage that was caused, decided unanimously that a permanent block was the appropriate response. We understand that many readers will be disappointed by that outcome, but it will not change in response to reader boycotts or campaigning comments. We very much hope that those who have stepped away will be able to put this incident in the past and return to the BD community.

      Discussion of this incident should stop here. New comments referring to it will probably be redacted or deleted. Let’s please get back to talking about crosswords and all the off-topic stuff that enriches this blog.

      Mr K, crypticsue, Gazza, and Prolixic

      1. Agree 100%, Mr K. Most of us don’t know all the facts, don’t need to know and it’s all history now. I’m assuming that the fifth blog caretaker would be Tilsit, who’s recently left (hopefully just for the time being)?

      2. I understand where you’re coming from but yesterday’s deleted comment contained nothing contentious, just a welcome back to Terrence, a mention that I’d commented the last time he popped in but I must have said something wrong. Censoring a post is one thing but deleting it makes it seem like I don’t care.

        1. I don’t see any reply from you to Terence in the bin of deleted comments, in the spam folder, or in the list of comments awaiting moderation. Perhaps it simply didn’t send. When it didn’t appear did you try posting it again?

          1. It was there after the normal time and when I looked again later to see if anyone had commented, this involved going out of the site, but not there when I looked tonight. Who know’s where it went. I decided posting again was an exercise in futility.

              1. Just one of those things I suppose. I can’t say I wasn’t a bit miffed at the time. 😀 I doubt that will get through moderation. 🤔

      3. I didn’t see this post before I commented. I recognise that there is still hurt felt by members of the blog but I agree with the caretakers that we should all move on.
        Onwards and Upwards, my friends.

    4. I just replied to you post, Terence and it too has been deleted. I cannot abide censorship and I do not understand why a blog such as Big Dave should be. Ok, none of us know the full facts regarding the previous debacle but it remains a fact that it was the cause of my leaving the blog along with many others, many of whom will not return.

      Having said that, perhaps it is time to move on? Scratching at wounds prevents their healing.

      It is was it is, my friends. Let it be.

      As for the crossword, after a horrific drive across the M62 to Yorkshire all I wanted was a pint in our favourite pub. I will comment tomorrow if allowed? 😌

      1. Hello, Steve. I cannot find any trace of your comment in any of the places it would have ended up if it was deleted or trapped by the spam filter. Perhaps it didn’t post properly?

        Commenting tomorrow is always allowed. It will never go unnoticed because the author of a set of hints gets an email whenever a new comment on their blog is published.

        1. Thanks, Mr. K. I think it highly possible that I didn’t press the send button given that I was very tired after a long exhausting drive. In fact, it is most probable so please ignore my comment regarding my post being deleted.

  3. 2.5*/4.5*. I really enjoyed this puzzle which had a bit of a different feel to it than normal on a non-RayT Thursday. I’m probably a million miles wide of the mark but I’m going to stick my neck out and guess that this was Shamus’ handiwork.

    With a great selection of clues to choose from, my top two were 1a & 16d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

  4. Very difficult for me today. Sadly most of my answers were bung ins , so many thanks to Mr K for the parsings.
    Only needed the actual hints for 10a and 25d…..couldn’t think of a poet laureate and even if I had, doubt I would have thought of hues as the solution.
    24d does not work as a homophone for me or I suspect for anyone else north of the Tweed ….sigh….
    Thanks to the setter and to Mr K.

    Chucking it down here today and our Christmas Lights turn on has been cancelled because of high winds forecast for later. As if there wasn’t enough gloom around today already.😢

  5. It took ages to beeak into this puzzle but, once a few checkers, unlike Stephen L, I found the answers leapt out at me without necessarily any idea of the rationale. I found a lot of the clues labyrinthine in logic and was grateful for the hints. I enjoyed the lego clue at 9d, the anagrams for the author at 29a and my COTD at 1a15a was a clever piece of misdirection too. Overall a stiff challenge but success was rewarding. Thanks to Mr K and the compiler.

  6. Much, much harder today, serves me right for saying my cat could have done one of the puzzles earlier in the week!
    Took me ages, but stuck with it, hampered by initially trying to put a word beginning with F into 1a, penny finally dropped though. Best for me were 11 and 15a. Well done setter, fantastic fun!

  7. Puzzle of the week for me & wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Silvanus production. Fell at the last hurdle with 25d & no excuses there though like Ora the answer wasn’t the first synonym of the definition that sprang to mind – well mine anyway. Convinced myself I was looking for a 5 letter poet laureate less the 3rd letter & Duffy of no use there. Eventually looked up a list of them & Ted, who I have met & was one of the few I had remembered, provided the solution. The parsing of 24d also escaped me. Loads of ticks for me – 1,9,11,15&23a plus 3,5,7,16&20d. Fav was 1a. Off into London today to see Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at the Apollo in Hammersmith – a gig I’ve been really looking forward to so hope it lives up to expectations.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K

  8. DNF as a result of 25d, I couldn’t be bothered to look up the Poet Laureates. Some cunning clues today. Thanks to today’s setter and Mr K.

  9. Like others it is hard to look beyond the truly excellent 1a for a favourite clue; a genuine COTW contender. I thought the whole puzzle was a little trickier in places, but it will please those that prefer their cryptics devoid of too much GK. Just follow the instructions and all will become clear. Great stuff.

    My thanks to the setter for a mini masterclass in compilation, and to Mr K.

  10. Agree with Mr K and the great start of 1a, had to concentrate deeply to parse the clues and really enjoyed this top draw puzzle
    Difficult to pick favourites maybe 20d.
    28a was an excellent anagram and 16d was very clever-reminded me of the pop group!
    Going for a 3.5*/4.5%*

  11. Getting the long upper and lower anagrams early on enabled a steady progress to completion in 3* time.
    The brilliant surface of the former made it my COTD In a very strong field eg 19a and 5 and 24d.
    Thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and thanks to Mr K.

  12. A very pleasing Thursday puzzle. Great clues, slightly above average difficulty and an enjoyable solve. I have ticked quite a few clues and can’t isolate a favourite. 3*/4*.

    1. PS, Mr K. I don’t use the H&Ts to help me solve, but I always read them later for general interest and to make sure I got the parsings correct. So, well done for another really well-written/comprehensive set of H&Ts. I like the extra little bits of info, such as explaining the “for one” in 1a. I’m sure that additional stuff is very useful for less experienced solvers (my goddaughter, for one).

      *19d. I’m guessing that the “butter stick” picture is a joke/spoof? But you never know these days – maybe some company would try to market such a thing?

  13. Not sure why, but a curate’s egg for me probably not helped by the onset of fatigue while solving at the end of a busy day – ***/***.

    For example – 24d was a bung-in and, after a decent night’s sleep, I still don’t get it.

    Candidates for favourite – 7d, 8d, 16d, and 18d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

      1. You are absolutely correct, Elaine. IN LORE pronounced in a southern English accent (some said) but this doesn’t work in either Scotland or Canada.

        1. … before I hear from those in southwestern England, I probably should add them to the list of exceptions and specify a “southeastern English accent”.

        2. I’m sure there are some areas in the UK where the R in loRe is predominantly audibly pronounced. But in most areas in the UK (and the DT is a UK paper) law and lore are pronounced the same, with no R sound (and that’s how I would say it). I have just checked the pronunciation of law and lore online and can perceive no difference.

            1. Thanks, G. That Rhoticity in English Wiki article has featured on here before when this subject has cropped up. Since the DT is a UK paper and I assume that most of the DT setters are from the UK and the vast majority of DT cryptic solvers are from or reside in the UK, I’m sure it is reasonable to only consider the UK statistics when discussing this topic. The article states that in the UK the rhotic varieties of English include the dialects of SW England, Scotland and Ireland only (and declining). These are relatively sparsely populated areas and represent about 1/5 of the total UK poulation. Therefore, the homonym in 24d (and most others containing an R) will work for a large majority of solvers in the UK. But, of course, it won’t work for a minority. That is the only point I ever make on this subject. Does that make such homnyms generally fair/valid? I’d have to say: yes!

              1. *If there’s a homonym involving an R sound, then maybe the setters should always include “some said”, or similar, to acknowledge it won’t be universally acceptable.

  14. Today was a bit of a learning process. Even with Google I am still unsure what on Earth 1a is, a totally unknown word for me as is the animal in 2d. Def one of those puzzles to find the definition and ignore the often misleading and complex wordplay.
    However even with all that it was quite fun.
    Thx to all

    1. B, 1a. The answer is an invented contraction of (usually) two words:

      Britain/exit: Brexit.
      Breakfast/lunch: Brunch.
      Situation/comedy: Sitcom.

  15. I think Huntsman is on the money with today’s puzzle – my Thursday dream team of setters and bloggers rides again!
    Loved the long scrabble clues at 1&28a and big ticks also went to 9&26a plus 3&16d.

    Many thanks to our illustrious setter and to Mr K & felines for the picture-purrfect review.

  16. I missed the obvious in 15 so if was a DNF for me today. Loved 1A and 7D also earned a tick. Thanks to the setter and Mr. K.

  17. I bunged in mugs for 25d as I also couldn’t be bothered to go through the poets. Some dodgy/obscure synonyms in this but on the whole a very clever puzzle.

  18. I found this very tricky today but still enjoyable. One or two bung ins so after finishing had to read Mr Ks hints to see how I got there so thanks to him and the setter.

  19. I enjoyed this a lot – thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    I appreciate the use of ‘some’ in 24d for what’s a complete non-homophone for me (it’s not just those north of the Tweed for whom this doesn’t work, Ora Meringue).
    I liked 10a, 16d and 20d but my favourite was the excellent 1a.

    1. I think we have agreed about homophones before, Gazza .
      I try not to go on about them but sometimes the irritation overwhelms me.😀

    2. G, 24d. Some people don’t just pronounce their Rs, they exaggerate them! Yes, exaggerating your Rs – or in modern parlance: “twerking”.

      I’ve been waiting months to unleash that one :-)

      Probably wasn’t worth it …

  20. Huntsman is right again! Many thanks to Mr K for his comprehensive Hints and Tips, and thanks to everyone taking the trouble to comment.

    Yes, I made 24d read “some said” rather than “it’s said” for precisely the point Ora Meringue made, i.e. that the homophone does not work for many people. Gazza, more than anyone else, has made me more conscious of such differences in regional pronunciation.

    Hope to see you all again soon.

    1. I’d have risked a couple of bob that it was you as early as 1a. Cracking puzzle. Thanks for confirming

    2. Thank you for explaining that, Silvanus. It passed me by completely…..but then many things pass me by. I can see that it makes my grumble about it unfair.
      Thanks for the puzzle too and for dropping in.

    3. Hi, Silvanus. Thanks for a fine puzzle to solve and to blog. I also hope that we see you here again soon.

  21. Mostly enjoyable with a few clues that I didn’t initially understand or like. ‘Poor’ as an anagram indicator in 5d and the use of ‘bic’ in 11a offended my pedantic brain! On the other hand there was plenty to like. Solving 1d and 6d straight away led me to the only eleven letter word I know (possibly the only one there is) that begins and ends with those letters and I was quickly away. I also liked the long anagram at 28a and 16d made me smile. My favourite today was 15a. Thank you to the setter and Mr K for the humerus illustrations and his help in parsing 5d.

    1. Oh dear! What did I say about being pedantic. I’ll blame the predictive text for my misspelling of humorous, or many years as an orthopaedic nurse.

    2. Hello, Mhids. I think “poor” in the sense of “imperfect” or “in sorry condition” implies enough rearrangement to work as an anagram indicator.

  22. To answer your query about learning the conventions of the cryptic crossword Mr K I give the following.

    My late sister and husband used to do The Times cryptic so every time I visited I was thrown a clue they thought was easy. By hearing the solution, it was never easy, I gained some idea of what you had to do. Later I bought the Chambers Crossword Manual and more recently Stuart Lancaster’s DT offering. I could solve all the examples in both books for the cryptic but neither prepare you for the real thing which demands a wide vocabulary, some basic GK, and an ability to think of all the ways a word has and can be used. The BRB which I already had is useful but if someone is learning the mysteries of cryptics any deficiency in any of the demands made on you then it is very difficult to progress. Having said that there are weeks when I manage five of the puzzles myself with no help at all. Homonyms are another case in point and I am sure that in 20d the BRB gives nasty as a synonym of filthy but it is not one in common use as I have commented before. Again in 8d although most would know Elba is an island it doesn’t spring immediately to mind which means trawling through Chambers Crossword Dictionary and reversing the names.

    As the weather is now making gardening more difficult I will have more time inside but I am certain Mrs Corky will have plenty for me to do to prevent me spending hours consulting the BRB and the crossword dictionary.

    Hope that helps and thanks for your blog which is always helpful.

    1. A slow but steady and altogether satisfying finish of this terrific puzzle last night, with 1a, 15a, & 25d (that one took a bit of digging in the ranks!) taking the podium. I agree with Huntsman, and others perhaps, that this is the puzzle of the week (for me anyway), Hard to imagine its being topped! Many thanks to Mr K and to Silvanus. 3.5* / 5*

      1. Sorry, Corky…I meant this as a separate comment. I seem to be doing this kind of thing too much lately!

        1. Robert – some days I ask ‘Alexa’ to confirm which day of the week it is. I suspect I am way ahead of you in the League Of Forgetfulness.

    1. Hello Blair, and welcome to the blog.

      The wordplay tells us to build the answer as L[arge] + AC (account or bill) + QUER[y] (doubt, mostly). Does that help?

  23. Sorry but I did not like this crossword but did learn a new word at 1a, but there were too many that to me were unintelligible, thank goodness for the blog and it’s explanations *****/** 😟 Good grief even Brian liked it 😳 Thanks to Mr K for his unravelling of lots of the clues and also to the unknown Compiler even though at times I was floundering like a League 1 player in a Championship match 😬

  24. Ooh, I had to think a bit today! I like 1as, but because I am slow at anagrams (and also sometimes, as here, surprisingly slow to spot them) 1a was close to my last in.

    Lots of good stuff – many thanks to Silvanus and Mr K.

  25. I couldn’t do this at all – in desperation I went to the “other side” (the Toughie) in hope that I might manage to get a few answers otherwise I wouldn’t have had a crossword all day and then I wouldn’t have known what to do at all! :cry:

  26. Can’t say I enjoyed this one at all. Very convoluted clues IMHO with parsing in many almost impossible to fathom.
    5*/1* for me today. Felt like a tough Toughie.
    Not my cuppa.

    24d doesn’t work for me, but there are at least eight others that don’t either.

    Made for a puzzle that was a slog and no fun

    Thanks to Mr K for trying to make some sense of it.

  27. I only managed about three quarters of this puzzle before having to admit defeat, although there were a few I could have bunged in but couldn’t see the parsing.

    To answer your question Mr K, I bought Chris Lancaster’s excellent ‘How to Solve a Cryptic Crossword’ book last year which gives a thorough grounding. And the hints and tips on this site have been of immense help – every day is a school day!

  28. Got 2 or 3 clues and lost interest. Is it me or are Thursday backpage crosswords now an extra toughie? I don’t think this is a wavelength issue either.

    Pretty demoralising when you do so badly on a backpager. Will stop even bothering on Thursday from now on.

    1. Please don’t do that, Bananawarp. I thought the same a couple of years ago. Today’s Thursday- forget it!
      However, I decided to persevere and I soon found that Ray T was not as incomprehensible as I first thought. Not that today was Ray T but my point is, if you keep beavering away, it will start to make sense.
      I solve more puzzles now because I persisted with the ones I found difficult.
      Anyway, it’s only a crossword.

  29. Thanks to Silvanus and to Mr K for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle that I found very tricky. Was beaten by 8&25d, but couldn’t parse 1,11,25a & 4,5,21,24d. Favourite was 26a. Was 4* / 3* for me.

  30. 4*/4*….
    liked 13A “Vulgar Republican adopts daughter, one manipulated by sailor? (6)”

Comments are closed.