DT 30154 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30154

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30154

Hints and tips by Senf

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

A very good Friday morning from Winnipeg.

proXimal was ‘on duty’ last Friday, so if today’s setter is indeed one of the Friday triumvirate my five bob is on this being a Zandio production; if it is not him then I am clueless.

Candidates for favourite – 24a, 26a, 7d, and 23d.

In the hints below, the definitions are underlined. The answers are hidden under the Click here! buttons, so don’t click if you don’t want to see them.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Bang on and vow to support wife or daughter (4,3,4)
WORD FOR WORD: A synonym of vow (as in a promise), a three letter term equivalent to support, the single letter for Wife, OR from the clue, and the single letter for Daughter.

7a Mark to introduce the Spanish officer (7)
COLONEL: A (punctuation) mark preceding (to introduce) the in Spanish.

8a Director gets Oscar after broadcast stream (7)
MAESTRO: The letter represented by Oscar in the phonetic alphabet placed after an anagram (broadcast) of STREAM.

10a Old man seen around English court, Democrat, is one for the axe (4,4)
DEAD WOOD: A childish or informal term for one’s parental old man containing (around) the single letter for English, followed by a three letter synonym of court (as in forming a relationship) with the single letter for Democrat.

11a Earth maybe from track used in exercise (6)
PLANET: A type of track that can be travelled along inserted into (used in) one of the two letter abbreviations for programmed exercise.

13a Shops for lads with uniform for nothing (4)
BUYS: A synonym of lads with the letter that can represent nothing replaced (with . . . for) by the letter represented by uniform in the phonetic alphabet.

14a Opponents criticise items used in chess gambit’s ending as bluff (10)
ESCARPMENT: Two of the opponents, from a well known card game (you will have to decide which ones), a four letter synonym of criticise, the collective noun for items used in chess (even though at least two of them are female), and the last letter (ending) of gambiT.

16a Elvis Expo’s dished out portions of ‘jelly’? (10)
EXPLOSIVES: An anagram (dished out) of ELVIS EXPO’S.

18a Unprofitable bank (4)
LEAN: A double definition – the second might relate to an aircraft manoeuvre.

21a Snatching forty winks after getting wind up (6)
KIDNAP: A three letter term for forty winks placed after a single word term for getting wind up (as in joke?).

22a Fare taken aboard from a car on island (8)
MACARONI: A lurker (taken aboard) found in the rest of the clue.

24a Natural nursery food preparation – right to replace cold starter (7)
ROOKERY: A single word term for food preparation with its first letter (starter) of the single letter for Cold replaced by the single letter for Right.

25a Clue to make rum link with gin (7)
INKLING: An anagram (to make rum) of LINK and (with) GIN.

26a Slim cuisine? (11)
KITCHENETTE: A slimmed down space (slim?) for the art of cuisine (in a small flat, say?).


1d Spinning some googly ball, a wily Australian character (7)
WALLABY: A reverse lurker (spinning some) found in four words in the clue.

2d Celebrity should be about at this time, either side of noon (6)
RENOWN: One of the sets of two letters that we know and love that are used for about, a three letter term for at this time, and the first OR last latter (either side) of NooN.

3d Order collapsed — that hurt transport (10)
FELLOWSHIP: A four letter synonym of collapsed, a two letter interjection for that hurt, and a type of (water borne) transport.

4d City stroll announced (4)
ROME: A homophone (announced) of a synonym of stroll.

5d Bit of cricket leads to some running clashes (8)
OVERLAPS: The ‘bit’ of cricket completed in turn by each bowler followed by (leads to) a term for some running (repetitively around a track?)

6d Netted in a flurry with Spain’s improved international combination (7)
DETENTE: An anagram (in a flurry) of NETTED followed by (with) the IVR code for Spain.

7d You, for instance, getting deco? (4-7)
CODE-BREAKER: What you might be (for instance) if you can resolve DECO into another word.

9d On strike, rising up and striking (11)
OUTSTANDING: The three letter word that can mean on strike and a single word for rising up.

12d Slash quota of curtain material? (10)
LACERATION: A type of curtain material and a synonym of quota.

15d Most trustworthy US college breaks off course (8)
LOYALEST: A US Ivy League University (College) inserted into (breaks) a single word term for off course.

17d Stockade‘s security measure ten times stronger in the middle (7)
PADDOCK: A type of (key operated) security measure with the middle letter when used as a Roman numeral multiplied by ten (ten times stronger) becomes a different Roman numeral.

19d Triggering literary work upset one’s following (7)
EMOTIVE: A four letter term for a (large or weighty?) literary work reversed (upset) followed by the contracted form of a (1’2) term equivalent to one’s (in terms of indicating possession).

20d Inquire in Hungarian time one should be at funeral (6)
CASKET: A synonym of inquire inserted into (in) the three letter abbreviation of the time zone that Hungary is in gives an esp N Am answer.

23d Violet Elizabeth’s title for fairy story (4)
MYTH: A homophone, I suppose for is the indicator – first of all you have to remember that Violet Elizabeth was, or still is perhaps, a character in the Just William stories and that she had a speech impediment so that when she spoke her honorific title would sound like a term for a fairy story.

The Quick Crossword Pun:



56 comments on “DT 30154
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  1. Simply brilliant today, best puzzle in a long while. Trickier clues must have sunk to the bottom half, because that’s where I got stuck for ages. Breakthrough came when I cracked 12d and the rest followed. With so many favourites to choose from today, mentioning them all would tend to negate the whole point of favourites. Great fun, very well done to the setter!

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  2. A puzzle of two halves for me. Top half went in easily enough but a few head scratchers in the bottom half. Loved all of it, especially the superb misdirection at 14a which combined with the mention of chess threw me for a while. I also liked 24a, 26a, 3d and 19d, my LOI. Thanks to the setter for the enjoyment and Senf whose help I needed to fully parse 17d.

  3. I found this a little tricky today; my solving time was roughly twice as long as any other puzzle this week.

    I am normally pretty good at spotting a lurker, but it took me a while to parse one of them today (the ‘fare’). Although 7d was obvious, I wasn’t completely convinced by the significance of ‘you’.

    Many thanks to the setter, and to Senf.

  4. A very challenging puzzle with convolutrmed clues, which make me think, asSenf does, that it might be Zandio’s. I found it more absorbing than usual and particularly enjoyed the lego clues, 14a, my COTD, 15d and 3d. The only clue that didn’t quite come together for me was 18d. Thanks to Senf for the hints to Zandio, if he is the compiler.

  5. Great puzzle but very difficult.
    Extremely gratifying to complete albeit in 5* time.
    Too many excellent and subtle clues to single one out.
    But, perhaps, 7 and 23d just pip the field to be COTD.
    Many thanks Zandio and Senf.

  6. Perhaps brilliant is the word, certainly extraordinary, and about as tricky-stretching as a cryptic can get in places (‘slim cuisine’ = a place?), but I did enjoy the tussle and finished just short of *** time, much to my surprise, as one penny after another dropped in the bottom parts–17d, 24a, and finally 23d (which took a good bit of googling to confirm since I’d never heard of Just William). But the strain of 26a still bothers me, and it was a pure bung-in leading to my unexpected finish. I rather liked 3d, 15d, & 14a for my podium. Thanks to Senf and today’s setter. 2.5*/3*

      1. When an Americanism is used, there is quite a hue and cry that it wasn’t indicated. Wouldn’t it be fair to say likewise for French words?

  7. Quite splendid crossword, starting and finishing at a gallop but slowed down for a breather just after half-way. Excellent surfaces throughout, some wonderful twists and turns, but what a cracking, brilliant puzzle. Not a single duff clue to be found; super lurker in 22a. Hon Mentions to 14a, 24a, 3d, 15d and COTD 23d.

    2* / 4.5*

    Many thanks to the setter (I had thought Sylvanus, but could as easily be Zandio) and of course to Senf.

  8. Very enjoyable with clever misdirection throughout the grid taking me well into Toughie time to sort it out.
    As ever with this setter I liked a lot including lurkers and LOL homophone, but I’ll narrow my podium contenders down to 1,10&14a plus 17&19d
    Many thanks indeed to Zandio and Senf.

  9. 2.5*/4*. This provided a good finish to the week.

    Even accepting that “cuisine” can mean a room, I’m not entirely convinced by 26a, but other than that I enjoyed everything else. 1a, 14a & 23d were my top picks.

    Many thanks to Zandio and to Senf.

        1. Yes. What bothers me now is that I once knew that ‘cuisine’ means ‘kitchen’ in French and somehow convinced myself that it referred only to a style of cooking. Oh the cobwebs in the brain!

          1. Same here with the brain cobwebs! I only know a few French words/phrases and most of them, including this one, I have learned from solving crosswords over the past 52 years.

            1. I guess ‘cuisine’ sounds much more appealing than ‘cookery’ or ‘kitchen’, as does most French vs English culinary language. It appears that King Charles thinks so too – the menu for the state banquet for the South African President earlier this week was entirely in French.

  10. Just a quick glance at the number of times I’d written ‘hmm’ alongside clues told me exactly who compiled this one. No matter how many of his puzzles I tackle, I get no closer to appreciating his work.
    The only one that raised a smile here was 23d.

    Apologies to Zandio and many thanks to Senf for the review.

  11. I found this one fun but tricky – had to go with a lot of guesses which mostly eventually fell into place. I still can’t understand why 21a is KIDNAP – ok KIP is 40 winks but where does AND or DNA come from? I needed to check your blog to understand CET for Hungarian Time – so thanks . 24a & 25a were my favourite clues.

  12. I am in complete agreement with those earlier commenters who found this one of the most enjoyable and entertaining puzzles of recent weeks. So many clever clues, of which 7d was my favourite ahead of 24a.

    My thanks to Zandio, if it was indeed he, and to the hard-working Senf.

  13. Took a little bit of starting but once in it was superb. Mrs B had to explain a couple of my answers and I needed the hints to explain 19d fully. My favs were 5d and 7d.
    Thx to all

  14. Too many dodgy clues for me – 21a,24a,26a,19d,23d- to call this enjoyable. It was just hard, much more so than many, so called, Toughies. Sorry to bang on about this point, but this should surely be in the Toughie category.

  15. I found this a challenge and had to resort to the hints for a couple so my good run has come to a full stop. Still, it is Friday so an easy ride should not be expected. I thought the lurker at 22a was especially well hidden. The Elvis clue raised a smile but my COTD is the personal 7d.

    Grateful thanks to Zandio for the challenge and to Senf for the much needed hints.

  16. I found this a bit of a drag. North was smoother ride than bottom half. 26a and 19d are definite no nos for me. 23d raised a smile although ‘title’ had confused me as did ‘character’ in 1d. Thank you Zandio and Senf.

  17. Quite brilliant puzzle, I especially liked 17d. One point of concern for me is 26a, not the best clue I’ve ever seen, if in fact, it qualifies as one….

  18. Well solving this on my Thursday night will allow my brain to rest and be functional on Friday … good golly, this was a tough little number IMHO.
    Much head scratching, hair pulling with the odd tea tray CRASH as the penny dropped.

    2.5*/3* today

    Favourites include 1a, 11a, 21a, 1d, 7d & 15d – winner 7d
    Should have had a 25a that I should have got a G&T as I scratched my way through this one.

    Thanks to Zandio and also to Senf

  19. Like others, I sailed through the top but struggled a bit at the bottom. All fair and reasonable though and some excellent clues.
    14a CoD for me.
    Thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  20. ** difficulty for the top half **** for the bottom half. Very satisfying to complete though. Like Jane I had a few hmms – the synonym for complain in 14a, 19d one’s ? and surely snatch not snatching in 21a.
    Having said that there were many superb clues. 22a ( lurker took some finding as I kept trying to get calamari to work till the penny dropped) and 2d, 3d and 23d on my podium.
    Thanks to Zandio who always seems to make us work hard and Senf for explaining 17a

  21. A really excellent puzzle! Great clues, a toughish challenge and a very enjoyable skirmish. I’ve ticked a few, and will mention 7d. 3.5*/4.5*.

  22. Hard work again to get a DNF with 5 or 6 clues to go. Pleased to have got that far and liked the lurker at 22a. The hints were very useful as usual enabling me to reveal only one solution.

    Many thanks to both Senf and Zandio.

  23. I had a go and managed a few.
    Most Friday crosswords are usually well and truly way beyond me – today was exactly that!
    The trouble is that they become one of those self-fulfilling prophesies so Fridays turn into a bit of a battle ground – never mind it’s almost a weekend!
    Of the answers I got I liked 11 and 13a and 5 and 9d.
    Thanks to Zandio and Senf.

  24. Finished in ** time but got the dreaded incorrect message & couldn’t be bothered to trawl through it again so hit the reveal mistakes function. ‘Twas the middle letter of 17d at fault – sadly not a fat fingered typo rather one of my bung in, move on & parse it later answers that completely ignored the wordplay & was glaringly obvious when highlighted. Not sure about 19d & didn’t overly care for last in 26a but loved the puzzle. Didn’t bother to research the Hungarian time zone & parsed 23d without recalling the books in which she featured. 17d would be my pick with big ticks for 1,14,21&22a plus 3,7,12&15d.
    Thanks to Zandio & Senf

  25. I had great fun unravelling today’s knotty puzzle – I had to put it down and revisit it later when 12d and 14a finally fell into place. Hadn’t come across that meaning of ‘bluff’ before but now I know! Love the misdirections and the joy when the penny drops. Many thanks to Zandio for the challenge and to Colonel Mustard!

  26. Yes I agree quite a tricky end to the week but a host of witty and enjoyable clues 😃 ****/**** Favourites 12d, 15d and of course 23d
    Thanks to Senf and to Zandio 👍

  27. Not even close to being on the wavelength.

    Managed a few in the top half and conceded defeat. A toughie for my feeble brain.

    Thanks to all.

    1. Just gone though the answers and am incredulous that anybody could complete this.

      23d alone requires such specific knowledge it amazes me that people got this.

      1. I think you have to be of a certain age to understand 23d, bananawarp. Violet Elizabeth Bott in the Just William stories had a lisp and would threaten to “Thcream and thcream until she wath sick”.
        Sorry- Senf has already said it! Read the blog, Cowling!😳

  28. Well done Ali. I remember the name ‘DERV’ from as far back as the 1950’s, when the term was in common usage, but I never knew it’s derivation. Another little blank filled in. Many thanks.

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