DT 30159 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30159

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30159

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Hello, everyone, and welcome. No time to find pictures for this week, I’m afraid, because of a long Wednesday at work followed by needing sleep before getting up very early on Thursday to catch a flight. 

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    Snappy son with little yen to show gesture of respect (6)
CURTSY:  Link together snappy or short, the genealogical abbreviation for son, and the abbreviation (little) for yen

4a    Tries to be reverse of good person meeting office worker? (6)
TEMPTS:  The reverse of a usual abbreviated good person comes after a non-permanent office worker

8a    Margaret when meeting sailor is a dazzling personality (8)
MEGASTAR:  Assemble a short form of Margaret, a synonym of when, and a usual sailor 

10a   & 16a Break them and content damns me? (3,3,12)
THE TEN:  The wordplay is an anagram (break) of THEM CONTENT DAMNS ME. The entire clue can serve as the definition 

11a   Don't go to offer support (4)
STAY:  A double definition 

12a   Property managers come down -- are primarily good guys? (4,6)
LAND AGENTS:  Come down in a plane is followed by the first letter of (primarily) of ARE and some good guys 

13a   Betty felt urn could become insect container (9,3)
BUTTERFLY NET:  An anagram (could become) of BETTY FELT URN 

16a   See 10 Across

20a   Eternal message of conservative folk? (10)
CHANGELESS:  The answer split (6,4) could be a message promoted by conservative folk 

21a   The old man going to court to secure agreement (4)
PACT:  An informal word for old man or father with the map abbreviation for court 

22a   Officer in race? He's a cool guy (3-3)
HEP-CAT:  An abbreviated police office inserted in a race leading up to the final 

23a   It's appropriate to have one American brought back on board (8)
SUITABLE:  The Roman one and an abbreviation for American are joined and then reversed (brought back) and that’s all  followed by a board or counter 

24a   Model needing work? Just a bit (6)
DOLLOP:  A small model of a person with the usual musical work 

25a   African city tribe in broadcast (6)
AGADIR:  A Biblical tribe inserted in a synonym of broadcast 



1d    Wood that may be all-too familiar (8)
CHESTNUT:  A double definition.  My clue database shows that similar wordplay has been seen before several times 

2d    Prepared to study, getting to university finally (5)
READY:  A synonym of study with the final letter of UNIVERSITY 

3d    Newcomer in Yorkshire location overlooking river (7)
SETTLER:  A market town in Yorkshire with the map abbreviation for river 

5d    Get on with any number in English school (7)
ENTRAIN:  The letter that can represent any number in mathematics is sandwiched between the single letter for English and school or drill 

6d    Receiver of gift now beginning to enthuse repeatedly (9)
PRESENTEE:  A synonym of now with two copies (repeatedly) of the beginning letter to ENTHUSE 

7d    Seat is adjusted for forty winks? (6)
SIESTA:  An anagram (adjusted) of SEAT IS 

9d    Gnarled sire out with leading crooks? (11)
RINGLEADERS:  An anagram (out) of GNARLED SIRE

14d   Catch with line configured like a sort of hitch? (9)
TECHNICAL:  An anagram (configured) of CATCH LINE 

15d   Head of school, teaser and martinet? (8)
STICKLER:  The first letter of (head of) SCHOOL with another word for teaser 

17d   Some art slammed by this expert practitioner? (7)
MAESTRO:  An anagram (slammed) of SOME ART 

18d   Stylish dog with no tail outside wood (7)
DASHING:  All but the last letter (with no tail) of a wild dog containing (outside) a type of wood 

19d   Yarn -- what runs through it for reader? (6)
THREAD:  A type of yarn is also something that a reader might find running through a yarn 

21d   Material for party in Wales? (5)
PLAID:  A double definition, the second being an informal name for a Welsh political party 


Thanks to today’s setter. I thought 13a was rather good. Which clues did you like best?

The Quick Crossword pun:  GRATE + DEIGN = GREAT DANE

108 comments on “DT 30159
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  1. Wow, I thought yesterday’s one was tough, but this was harder than Chinese algebra.
    Got there in the finish, but had to get the Britannica atlas out to find 25a.
    Haven’t heard the word for 22a since Shaky’s first song in 1980, a real throwback and my favourite clue for today. Best I set aside all day to attempt tomorrow’s offering if the present trend continues!

  2. Well that was more like it! I found today’s puzzle far more accessible than those earlier in the week. What happened to the week starting with straightforward puzzles and finishing with tougher ones. It seems completely random these days.

    Plenty to like such as 1a, 8a and 15d. I do have a query regarding the African city. Not sure where “broadcast” comes in unless it’s the pronunciation. My favourite and COTD is 20a.

    Many thanks to the setter for the fun challenge and huge thanks to Mr. K. for the hints.
    Now off to lift the dahlias.

    Just read the hints – I did not know the biblical tribe in 25a.

    1. Steve – I wasn’t plagiarising your accessible comment as I hadn’t seen your offering but amused we should both seize on the same adjective!

      1. Thanks, RD. Once I read the hints and discovered a biblical tribe, I saw “air”. Quite a clever clue, really provided, of course, that one is cognisant with biblical tribes.

    2. Steve, I made the same comment about the crossword difficulty being random yesterday. Great minds and all that.

      My comment was relatively late in the day so not surprised you didn’t see it.

  3. An excellent RayT offering – much more accessible than yesterday’s puzzle at **/**** with some great anagrams as ever including the majestic 10&16a. I thought 12a very good but the whole exercise was very enjoyable and despatched over coffee in the rather grand Bedford Hotel in Tavistock.

  4. Plenty of anagrams to get us started this morning in what turned out to be a very steady and enjoyable solve. One of them, 13a, was my favourite ahead of 15d.

    Thanks to our setter for the puzzle and to the hard-working Mr K.

  5. An enjoyable puzzle with not too much to trouble the horses – thanks to the setter and Mr K.
    Isn’t 6d a horrible word?
    My ticks went to 8a, 20a and 2d.

  6. I’m going to buck the trend with this as for me it was a mixed bag.
    Wasn’t keen on Margaret and Betty and the rather obscure (and dated) 22&25a. I think Christian names at the start of a clue are fine if they have another meaning but not simply to be part of the anagram fodder as in 13a. Also thought the definition in 9d a little too close to the solution. The rest I enjoyed, lots of clever wordplay as in 6,15&18d but my favourite was probably 1d.
    Many thanks to the setter (Giovanni?) and Mr K.

      1. Couldn’t believe she was 79 yrs old. Have been listening to Christine Perfect – The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions which is really quite wonderful. Well worth a listen too if you’ve not heard it.

      2. Thanks Stephen L – heard Christine singing this at the end of the Today programme today. Lovely voice and a super songwriter, part of a great band – bought all their albums as lps and cds. Old enough to remember 8a but struggled with 25a as most seemed to.

  7. Straightforward until it wasn’t. 22a the problem – all I could see was the bane of Officer Dibble’s life (title song now an earworm having watched a few clips on you tube which then led me on to some Sgt Bilko clips) but knew the E checker was correct. The wordplay penny dropped at the 2nd run through the alphabet for the 1st letter & Mr G told me the rest. Have always spelt 1a with an E & hadn’t appreciated either acceptable & had never heard of the biblical tribe. 5d made me search out a wonderful song by Van called That’s *******ment off Keep It Simple then watch a super You Tube clip of him singing it live on BBC 4 Sessions.
    All complete in just over 2.5*. 10/16a my pick.
    Thanks to the setter & Mr K
    Ps It’s no surprise Silvanus more than maintains the sparkling standard of this week’s Toughies.

  8. Another brilliant puzzle. We’re having a good week. Just the right level for me, nothing too outlandish or obscure but enough difficulty to keep the grey cells ticking over. That said, I had never heard of 22a – must have slept through the sixties! Had to resort to the hints and reveal the answer before I was convinced. I thought the clue for 9d could have been worded differently to omit ‘leading’ since the word ‘leader’ appears in the answer. Lots of favourites today with 10/16a being top of the pile. Also liked 1a, 20a, 25a and 15d. Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

    1. You need to go back a bit earlier than the sixties. Cab Calloway defines ‘hep cat’ in his 1939 dictionary of jive talk, and I think you will find the term used by the original hipsters (On the road etc)

  9. Some clues a bit clunky for me [ 1d,5d,6d] and a couple of obscure ones [22a,25a] to add to a lot of anagrams, reducing the satisfaction level a bit. Enjoyed 20a and15d though. **/** Thanks to all.

  10. For me, a real curate’s egg for a not a Ray T Thursday – the good parts were OK but the not good parts were terrible – 3.5*/2*.

    No standout favourites but 8a and 1d raised smiles.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K

  11. Not a puzzle that particularly appealed to me but at least I’ve got the other half of my ‘dream team’ to look forward to in the Toughie!
    20a was the only clue I felt worthy of a mention.

    Thanks to our setter for his work and to the indefatigable Mr K for the review.

  12. This week is too difficult for me and not enjoyable. Just re-subscribed to the puzzles…..hope the cryptics improve else i will be reconsidering. There used to be at least some enjoyable doable puzzles…

    Thanks to Mr K for review.

  13. Solved alone and unaided but could not parse 25a….bunged it in as it was the only African city I could think of that fitted the checkers.
    22a seemed a very dated expression to me.
    Liked 10a/16a.

    Thanks to the setter and to the very busy Mr K. Hope your flight went well /is going well.

  14. Two afternoons in plastic surgery with George so far this week and on the way now to visit DD1 in hospital on her birthday. Anyway the journey has given me time to do the crossword and a pleasure it was too. I wasted time looking for an artistic school before realising it was an anagram and was certain that 5d involved a certain school near Windsor. But once I had sorted those out things fell into place and I thought 10/16a was brilliant as was 23a. We haven’t seen any countryside as we have had gig for the last two hours. Not looking forward to driving back home! Thanks to the setter and to Mr K, double kitty pictures next week?

      1. Might be a person/animal? My ex girlfriend’s mother was called Pauline; her full nickname was Giggy but everybody usually called her Gig.

        Or is it a type of weather?

        1. it comes from the early part of this century when musicians used to travel by horse and cart. The cart was called a ‘gig’ and when the band reached the next town, they would use the gig as a stage.”

          Therefore, to go to a “gig” used to mean “going out on the street to see a bunch of travelling musicians play from the back of their horse-drawn cart.

          Or so I have been led to believe. :grin:

          1. Thanks, Steve. Yes, I know that meaning of gig but from the phraseology in DG’s comment it doesn’t sound like she’s referring to that. But you never know – maybe she’ll pop in to confirm?

              1. If DG comes back on here later and reads all this, she’ll probably think we’ve all gone bonkers. Especially if it is just a typo! :-)

                1. I am quite sure you are all on the funny juice! My fault, it was a typo we had FOG all the way there and back. A disastrous trip. For the record I have never smoked in my life, cannot bring myself to say the word f-g as it is horrid. But it kept you all amused!😀

  15. I had to check today was Thursday.
    In sync with the generous setter.
    Elegantly clued throughout.
    Admired the juicy anagrams.
    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  16. No real problems except for the parsing of 25a which had to be what it was.
    13a was a clever anagram for a rather unpleasant piece of equipment.
    COTD 10,16

    1. Blair, Mr K has explained this in his review. Conservative people could be described as those who wish to change less.

      1. I read Mr. K’s tip and didn’t get it. I’m new to this. If I’m being inconvenient, I’ll stop asking for help.

        1. You are certainly not being inconvenient, Blair. Please keep asking questions if you are puzzled by something. I did when I first joined and received a tremendous amount of help.

        2. A conservative person might wish for things to CHANGE LESS. Does that help?

          Please keep asking questions. There will be hundreds of readers out there with the same question who will be thanking you.

  17. A bit clunky in parts, as others have mentioned.
    Didn’t know 22a – perhaps I am too young!!
    Didn’t know the tribe in 25a – perhaps I wasn’t paying attention in RE lessons!
    I enjoyed the “all in one” definition in 10a/16a.
    Thank you mystery setter and Mr K

  18. A very friendly crossword for a Thursday – thanks to the setter and Mr K

    Looking at the comments above, I wonder if you have to be a certain age to remember when ‘cool’ people were called this?

      1. Hip = cool. Cat = jazz player/enthusiast. I’ve heard of a hip cat, but hep-cat is a new expression to me. You live and learn on here, for sure …

  19. Well I really enjoyed the puzzle, like others I put in the cool TC for 22a then the penny dropped with last in 19 and I remembered the Hep version-nicely clued. I think it was an Americanism going back to the 1950’s.
    Like Jane I thought 20a was the best clue’
    Sad to hear of Christine Mc Vie-saw the band live a few years in Manchester.
    Going for a ***/***

  20. I’m with the majority today, found this a struggle to get into. Having filled the grid and looking back, I found the wordplay was actually quite good, so it must be our friend wavelength in play.
    Thanks to the mystery setter for the exercise and Mr K for the review.
    Note: IMHO this has been the toughest week for back-pagers ever, like Tipcat, I shudder to think what’s in store for tomorrow!

  21. A nice enough puzzle but not quite up to the expected Thursday standard. Mostly good clues, an average challenge and a reasonably enjoyable solve, Fav: 20a. 2.5*/3*.

  22. Must have just been on the right wavelength as I thought this the most straightforward Thursday for ages. Many clues just seemed obvious but probably just to me for a change. Very enjoyable though.
    Thx to all

  23. THis is my last scheduled Telegraph back-pager, though I will continue to appear in several other cruciverbal outlets including as G in the toughers. I enjoy the comments, even when some are angry or mad. Thank you

      1. Sorry you are leaving us. Thank you for the enjoyment you have given us over the years. I’m afraidI didnt finish today’s puzzle as I had to be at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford fairly early to keep my very poorly husband calm whilst he had a lumbar puncture.

        1. Oh dear – so sorry to hear that you’re having what must be a traumatic day today. I do hope that it all goes as well as possible.

          1. Thanks Kath. It looks like he has wn encephalitis again and he initially refused a head CT because he is not himself. I was asked to persuade him to have the CT yesterday so that rhe kumbr puncture could be donne today. Theyasked me to there at 10 a.m. today to keep him calm and I had toallow 2 hours for the journey because of the dense fog. I was dead beat, when I got home, too tired to finish the crossword. He was asleep when I left but the doctors got all the sammples they needed. He was verybrave aince it is painful.

            1. We are literally a two minutes walk from the JR. I’ll email you and we ought to be able to sort out some way of helping.
              I’ll be in touch.

            2. So you had the fog as well in a hospital trip! It’s the last thing we want isn’t it! Hope all is calm now. We had a stiff drink as soon as we got home.

    1. Thank you for all your crosswords over the years.
      I wish I’d waited a little bit longer before commenting today as I would have been right in suggesting who set the crossword!

    2. Oh no, exit my very favourite DT setter 😥. Cryptics will never be the same again. Huge thanks Don Giovanni for so much pleasure. 🌹.

    3. Many thanks, Mr Manley, for all of your elegant puzzles over the years on the backpage; I look forward to your Giovanni Toughies.

    4. Many thanks for all the brain-stretching challenges of your Telegraph crosswords – I’ve enjoys them hugely and wish you all the best.

    5. Many thanks sir for all the elegant compilations, some may not have been entirely to my taste but always admired…..and I’m honoured to have correctly called you out on your valedictory back-page appearance!

    6. Thank you, Giovanni, for all your truly great back-page puzzles. Especially for clues like this, from your DT 27479 cryptic:

      Yob outside toilet possibly revealing too much? (3-3)

    7. Very sorry to read this news – I have greatly enjoyed your backpage puzzles for so long, and appreciate their wit, GK, and consistency. As Sue rightly says, the end of an era.

      Thank you so much.

    8. Many thanks for all the wonderful cruciverbal problems you have set us. The DT crossword is one of the highlights of my day!

  24. That’s more like it 😃 Monday’s puzzle on a Thursday **/**** Favourites 20a, 24a and 1d 👍 Thanks to Mr K and to the Compiler

  25. Fine puzzle until the southwest corner where the stupid phrase at 22a which was only known by jazz afficionados held me up so I needed hints for it. It wasn’t even in popular usage when most 70 year olds were around. Cab Callaway and jive talking be damned. Other than that I enjoyed unravelling the clues although I thought Conservatives kept more rather than changed less. Liked 4a and the biggie at 10 and 16a.

    Thanks to the setter and Mr K.

  26. Very late today after burning the midnight oil in Xwordland, delighting in an unaided, fast-time finish of a wonderful Silvanus Toughie, but kicking myself all the way to Savannah for getting hung up on an ‘idee fixe’ in 23a, having convinced myself that the solution was something nautical, like ‘sailable’, until I surrendered to a letter reveal (the U, fortuitously) and that was that. Enjoyed the Don’s finale very much and am sorry that it is his last backpager as I have always enjoyed his challenges. My co-favourites: 22 & 25a. Thanks to Mr K and Giovanni. ***/****

  27. A relatively easy, non RayT Thursday offering, today.


    Favourites include 1a, 23a, 24a, 1d & 18d- with 18d my winner.
    Smiles raised with 8a, 22a, 24a & 1d

    Thanks to setter and Mr K

  28. No serious sticking points today thanks to entirely fair clues/parsings but initialy settling on ‘receptee’ for 6d made 4a unsolvable. Otherwise it was up to the usual DG high standard – another joyful exercise. Thank you so much Messrs. Manley (au revoir?) and K for being on hand in case of need.

  29. I don’t know how to sum this one up, but I’m probably in agreement with most. I went in fits and starts. When I got some of the long ones several more filled themselves in. I was left with some queries. Eventually realised that there were two ways of spelling 1a. I got the African city with all the checkers but had no idea why. Last one in 22a. First thought was ice man. Also then trying to fit in an army officer. I was not keen on 6d nor 9d for double use of lead. Liked 10/16a and 12 and 13a and 21d. Thanks Don G and Mr K.

  30. All went smoothly but 1a held me up whilst I tried in vain to parse my first stab. 13a has a lovely surface. Thanks to Don M. and Mr K.

  31. Thanks to Giovanni and to Mr K for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle that I found a bit tricky in places. Good clueing, an interesting solve. Thanks Giovanni for all the puzzles over the years, wish you all the best for the future. Somehow I’d heard of 22 & 25a, but not the tribe in the latter. Favourite was 1d, which made me laugh, it was also my LOI. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  32. A very difficult offering for me today.

    22a was obscure enough, but putting ‘officer’ in the clue meant top cat was never leaving my easily influenced mind.

    Not heard of the tribe nor African city in 25a.

    Considering I visit Yorkshire regularly to visit relatives, I’m surprised I’ve not heard of the place in 3d.

    Thanks to all.

    Best of luck to the setter!

  33. Straightforward for the most part. Didn’t have a problem with 22a, the almost duplicate word in 9d made me hesitate to write in the obvious answer and I hadn’t heard of the city or the tribe in 25a as my knowledge of obscure Moroccan ports and biblical things is a little thin to say the least. Favourite was 18d. Thanks to the Don and Mr. K.

  34. Some brilliant clues but simply too many “oh come on” moments. 9d “ringleaders” when leading is in the clue – simply lazy clueing

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