DT 30156 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30156

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30156

Hints and tips by Falcon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from Ottawa, where we are enjoying a couple of balmy days (at least by Ottawa standards for late-November). I seized on the opportunity put up my Christmas lights – it was a pleasure to do it in +5°C weather rather than the more typical -5°C (or colder) weather.

I think Campbell has given us a more difficult challenge today than we typically expect from him. However, I found the solve to be very enjoyable nonetheless.

In the hints below, underlining identifies precise definitions and cryptic definitions, and indicators are italicized. The answers will be revealed by clicking on the ANSWER buttons.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought of the puzzle.


1a   Best part of maiden flight (6)
MARROW — the cricket abbreviation for maiden and a flight that is shot from a weapon (at least it was in Shakepeare’s time)

5a   Losing team’s stumbling-block (8)
DOWNSIDE — an adjective denoting losing and another name for team

9a   Oregon pine in capital city, securely fixed, shortened (7,3)
DOUGLAS FIR — the capital of an island in the Irish Sea and a word meaning securely fixed or solid with its final letter discarded

10a   Cunning tramp, heading off (4)
ARCH — remove the initial letter from a military stroll or tramp

11a   Horse in stable — I love name (8)
STALLION — start with a very small stable (or a compartment in a larger one) and append the I from the clue, love as understood by a tennis player, and the single letter for name

12a   Cured meat and tripe (6)
GAMMON — double definition in which the second is not edible

13a   Leave political group, not happy, ultimately (4)
PART — a political organization from which the final letter has been dumped

15a   Cruise missile test backed by a person favouring war (8)
TOMAHAWK — link together the reversal of an annual vehicle inspection, the A from the clue, and the feathered creature emblematic of those favouring force and aggression

18a   View of country acquiring gold (8)
PANORAMA — a Central American country divided by heraldic gold

19a   Fell over in snug, perhaps (4)
ROOM — a reversal (over) of a fell or upland; the answer may come easily to those solving in their local pub

21a   Cake Alice baked — last piece for Hatter? (6)
ECLAIR — an anagram (baked) of ALICE followed by the final letter of Hatter

23a   First-class score against spinner (3-5)
TOP-NOTCH — a score or cut following a spinning toy

25a   Boast of British newspaper (4)
BRAG — the single letter for British and a derogatory name for a newspaper held in low regard

26a   Fruit in nine crates, rotting (10)
NECTARINES — an anagram (rotting) of NINE CRATES

27a   Jack, an A.A. Milne character losing nothing in classic (4,4)
JANE EYRE — a charade of the playing card symbol for Jack, the AN from the clue, and Pooh’s gloomy campanion with the letter that looks like a zero removed

28a   Sailor, male, quiet leaving do (6)
HEARTY — a male personal pronoun and a do or shindig from which the musical direction for quiet has gone missing


2d   A female also up in the air (5)
AFOOT — concatenate the A from the clue, the single letter for female, and the reversal of another word for also

3d   Cook rings about Latvian opera (9)
RIGOLETTO — cook or fiddle (the financial records, perhaps) followed by two instances of the ring-shaped letter enclosing a citizen of Latvia

4d   Suppose leader of Wesleyans lost faith (4,2)
WHAT IF — the initial letter of Wesleyans and an anagram (lost) of FAITH

5d   The precise object (8,7)
DEFINITE ARTICLE — precise or certain followed by an object or thing

6d   Hangman, for one, willing to proceed after brief conversation (8)
WORD GAME — willing or eager to proceed comes after a figurative term for a brief conversation (which, taken literally, would be a very brief conversation indeed)

7d   Small enthusiastic crowd (5)
SWARM — the clothing symbol for small and another word for enthusiastic or whole-hearted

8d   Physician with House in TV series? (6,3)
DOCTOR WHO — form a word sum of the title accorded a medical practitioner, the single letter for with, and the map abbreviation for house

14d   Gold carriage in song, evergreen (9)
ARAUCARIA — load the chemical symbol for gold and a railway carriage into an operatic solo

16d   Almost damage girl’s musical instrument (9)
HARMONICA — damage or injure with its final letter removed followed by a female given name

17d   Guarantee wife complete authority, finally (8)
WARRANTY — a charade of the genealogical abbreviation for wife. an adjective denoting completer or utter, and the final letter of authority

20d   Prominent headline: ‘Power Cuts Cut!’ (6)
SPLASH — a physicist’s symbol for power inserted into a sweeping cut

22d   A silly urge to quarrel (5)
ARGUE — the A from the clue and an anagram (silly) of URGE

24d   Fool about before preliminary round (5)
CHEAT — the single-letter Latin abbreviation for about (in the sense of temporal proximity) and an early round in a sports competition

It seems almost a slight to many other fine clues in this puzzle to single one out but I will name 27a as my favourite clue today.

Quickie Pun (Top Row): WAIVE + EARLY = WAVERLEY

Quickie Pun (Bottom Row) : NEIGH + PULLS = NAPLES

55 comments on “DT 30156
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  1. Very enjoyable indeed, for me the best Monday puzzle for some time. A bit general knowledge heavy but with lots of very clever wordplay throughout.
    I thought 1&4d were brilliant, also liked 5&24d but could have mentioned several others.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon for the 23a entertainment.
    Ps….what a golden trio of Toughie setters to start the week.

  2. This was certainly a tad more difficult than the average Monday, but all the better for it. Lots to enjoy, with 4d my favourite this morning. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  3. Agree with Falcon that this Monday puzzle was more difficult than usual,and I found the NW corner particularly so-last in was 9a, my favourite.Special mention too for the 27a charade
    Agree with a ***/**** an excellent start to the week from our setter,

  4. This was the most enjoyable Monday puzzle for ages – many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.
    From the many clues I ticked I’ll select 23a, 27a and 6d for my podium.

  5. It’s Monday :good: It’s Campbell :good: but he definitely ‘upped the ante’ this week 3.5*/3.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 27a, 3d, 5d, and 14d – and the winner is 3d.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  6. I’m with Stephen,YS & Gazza – thought this one a distinct cut above the usual Monday fare. Lots of ticks for me – 1,15,23,27&28a along with 4,6&20d.
    Thanks to Campbell & Falcon

  7. I had to use electronic help for 14d. Guessed 9a answer equated to Oregon pine. I have a question mark against 28a as I think it’s a bit of a synonym stretch.

    1. 28a is a word that Long John Silver would have used.

      From the BRB:

      hearty noun a hearty person, especially one who goes in for sports, outdoor pursuits, etc, distinguished from an aesthete; (in plural) an old form of address to fellow sailors.

      1. As in: “Avast, me hearties!”. Or nowadays probably something like: “Discontinue hauling, my exuberant colleagues!”. :-)

  8. I’m with the too much of a slog, save it for the Toughie lot. It was a difficult puzzle and I gad no less than 10 clues with a big question mark next to rhem because I wasn’t sure if they were right. I didnt so much feel satisfied that I’d finished the puzzle as feel glad it was sone and dusted. However, I did like 18a (geographical) and the 26a anagram. Thanks to Falcon for the hints and to Campbell.

  9. Definitely more challenging than the usual Monday offering but I enjoyed it though found it frustrating in parts. 5d went straight in and you would think that that would have given me a firm foothold but not so. I found the west side went in with relative ease though I needed electronic help for 14d – never heard of it. The east side was a whole different ballgame. 26a went in early on but I still struggled in the SE corner. My favourite today was 27a, closely followed by 9a, 15a and 4d. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  10. I had to check today is Monday.
    Certainly mined the grey matter.
    Some really brilliant clues with excellent surfaces eg 15 and 21a and 16d
    Last in 9a which put me into a solid 3* time.
    Many thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  11. Our Monday setter flexing his GK muscles today and I did need to check on a couple of things, one of them being a definition of 12a that I hadn’t previously met.
    Well done to him for finding yet another way to clue 21a!
    Biggest smiles came from 11&27a and my favourite was probably 4d.

    Thanks to Campbell and to Falcon for the review – our temperatures are due to drop to 9C this week which is enough to make me cry, can’t believe that you rate 5C as ‘pleasant’!

  12. May I ask an off topic question?

    Can anyone tell me if the difference between the 2 subscriptions to the Digital Telegraph app, or basically, does the Digital subscription give you access to the cryptic crossword and Sudoko or do you have to have the Digital Plus offer?

    Thanks in advance and sorry to hijack the thread!

    1. I found the Digital subscription gave me access to the old version of the crossword but not the new version. I bought the £29.99 supplement for the puzzles which now gives me both, a lot cheaper than Digital Plus. This is using web access, not the app.

  13. I agree with Gazza , very enjoyable .
    It’s hard to pick one particular favourite , perhaps 9a or 14d or 5d.
    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  14. I thought i had commented earlier, but no I hadn’t – a senior moment.

    2.5*/4*. Apart from guess-a-girl in 16d, this made an excellent start to the week.

    Although I knew the slang for sailor needed in 28a, I was curious to see if it was in the BRB. It is but it specifies it is only used in the plural, which seems rather strange. :unsure:

    My top picks were 27a, 3d, 4d & 5d.

    Many thanks to Campbell and to Falcon.

  15. A delightful challenge with which to kick off the (working) week. SW delayed things a bit mainly due to stalling over 14d although parsing that eventually revealed all. 17d bunged in prior to complete dawning on me and likewise stupidly the parsing for 24d. Thank you Campbell for fun and Falcon for being there for us.

  16. A bit hard for a Monday…especially if you are me who is not so great with Campbell.
    Got stuck on 7d and 10a for ages but got there in the end.

    Thanks to the setter and to Falcon.

    Have finally, after what seems like weeks of continuous rain, got a washing out this morning. Sadly I suspect that it will hang wetly until I take it in again….”Nae drouth” as Gran used to say.

  17. I needed a little bit of electronic help with this one but I still enjoyed it. I spent far too long on 27a wondering what to do with Pooh once I’d taken an “o” out of it before I realised that I needed his grumpy little friend. Thank you setter and Falcon.

  18. I also found this difficult for a Monday. Too many vague definitions. How does the answer to 1d. mean “in the air”. I tried for far too long trying to fit ALOFT to the clue. Similarly the answer to 12a = tripe? And 26a = sailor?

  19. I thoroughly enjoyed this, though I had to check the spelling of 14d cos I didn’t trust my memory. I agree 28a was a tad stretched but I am surprised no one has commented on 16d which made me snort with laughter! The only laughter I’m going to get today as I now have to accompany George to Plastic Surgery as his squamous wounds don’t look good.I sent them a photograph and they said come in. Hey ho there is always something. If I don’t go with him I might not get the true story! Many thanks to Campbell & Falcon, who sound like soup makers to HM the king.

  20. Can see both sides of the argument; some very good clues and some a bit dodgy for me [ 1a,9a and 14a]. Certainly agree it was difficult [ for a Monday] .

  21. Interesting! 14d was a new one to me but this setter is pretty fair in that respect as obscure GK is usually obtainable from the clue as this was. Got delayed slightly at 23a by going for Top Twenty until seeing the error of my ways. Still managed in **/***. I thought 4d a well hidden anagram and 19a and 28a excellent – the latter my COTD. Thanks F & C.

  22. Found this Monday Campbell puzzle harder than normal … maybe it is me, who knows.


    Favourites include 19a, 21a, 4d, 5d, 6d & 8d with my winner being 6d, but to be honest, they were all winners.

    Chuckles with 21a, 25a, 4d, 8d & 16d
    14d a completely unknown word.

    Thanks to Campbell and Falcon

  23. I went through a number of capitals before lighting upon the correct one for the pine tree. It is not a capital that springs immediately to mind.
    Generally very enjoyable. Thank you Falcon and setter.

  24. Finished in reasonably quick time. After reading 1a I thought this was going to be tough. However after getting 4d and 9a ( annoying answer to capital, what could be more obscure). All solved but not parsed in under ** time. After a little thought I only had 3d to parse so thanks to Falcon. Still find Campbell annoying, but maybe he’s growing on me a bit.

  25. I don’t normally comment on Monday or Tuesday, but I will today because this one is significantly more challenging than a typical Monday offering. Very good clues, a decent challenge and an enjoyable solve. I’ll pick 23a and 27a for special mention. 3*/4*.

  26. Considerably tougher than usual but decidedly more enjoyable for just that reason. I was pushed well into *** time, with the SE corner holding me up at the end. Lots to like, though–especially 27a (naturally for me), 4d, & 28a, my LOI. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon. ***/****

  27. What a thoroughly unpleasant crossword. Far too tough for a Monday with many poor clues such as 19a.
    Thx for the hints

  28. Definitely a bit of a slog for us. This could have graced the Friday or Tuesday toughie slots. Torn between 27a and 14d for favourite which I made up from the wordplay and then we checked it. Thanks to Campbell and Falcon.

  29. Found this very tough for a Monday. Definitely *** Didn’t know gammon could mean tripe and the evergreen was also new to us.

    1. That evergreen was the crossword name of John Graham who died in who died in November 26th , 2013. That is how I knew it. Close enough to his anniversary.

  30. There is nothing unpleasant in this puzzle.

    In fact, it makes a nice change to have a more challenging Monday Crossword.

    Bravo! Campbell !

  31. I am like Elaine still trying to see how tripe and gammon go together, new meaning for me! Enjoyable and tougher than usual thanks Campbell and Falcon

  32. What a shock after painting all day to sit down to do the Monday crossword and find it’s a Friday puzzle. Still I managed it all but two for which electronic help was needed. Some very good clues and some interesting ones.

    1d was the most interesting ; up in the air and afoot are related? Well if that is the case then Shakespeare and Dr Watson both saying “the game’s afoot” obviously knew of the children’s game of Quidditch which J K Rowling identified fairly recently.

    Many thanks to Falcon and Campbell.

    1. In the air (no “up”) and afoot are straighforward synonyms. They both mean looming/in the offing. The “up” is a reversal indicator (up in a down clue).

  33. Tough in places, yes, but highly satisfying. Loved 27a ❤️. I thought a 15a was something different so needed Falcon’s help with that and 23a as I was trying to make it xxx whack. Thanks to both.

  34. What a lot of comments for a Monday.
    I always have trouble on Mondays but less so today and more enjoyable, for me anyway.
    My favourite by a long way was 27a – took me ages to sort it out but loved it.
    I also liked the two trees specially the monkey puzzle tree.
    Thanks to Campbell and to Senf.

  35. I am feeling very thick today as I still only have four but I shall try, try again. Then I shall probably sneak in here and read the answers.
    I blame it on the fact that here in Ontario I still have pansies and honeysuckle blooming even after that bout of snow we had. Nature is confused and so I am. Seems only fair.
    Added to which my e-mail box has been bombarded with ‘Hurry! These Cyber Monday deals are almost gone!’ One of them was urging me to buy a cyber deal on a matching bra and knickers set. What?

  36. Why put such a difficult crossword on a Monday?

    Way too much obscure gk for me today. An old fashioned term for a Latvian, weird meanings in 1a and 12a. The capital in 9a is a town, not a city. 14d I worked out but had to Google to confirm this fir that most people have never heard of let alone spell.

    Little enjoyment despite the obvious talent of the setter.

  37. Sorry but a long drive back to The Marches from Ryedale in Yorkshire has given no time for the puzzle. I had hoped to have given it a glance on our return to Chez Nous but we couldn’t find the key to the cottage. After emptying the suitcase on the drive and searching the car, I was on the point of taking a hammer to a window to break in. Then Mrs. C sees something shiny down the side of her seat. It’s the key and it’s under the metal tracks of the car seat. Have you ever tried retrieving a key from such a place?
    Sorry to moan. 😳
    See you all tomorrow.

    1. We have indeed! As recently as this week. There were some rude words involved but eventually we did manage it.

  38. Despite the help I still don’t understand why 1a best part can mean the answer. Bad start, got worse. Not on my wavelength sadly so for me ****/* Roll on tomorrow…

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