DT 30160 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30160

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30160

Hints and tips by Senf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A very good Friday morning from Winnipeg.

Zandio was ‘on duty’ last Friday and Silvanus was on Toughie Duty yesterday, so my five bob and four ‘Xs’, one in each quadrant, something we haven’t seen for a while, should safely support this being a proXimal production.

Candidates for favourite – 1a, 11a, 27a, 2d, 8d, 22d, and the Pun.

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 Loose cover across middle of deck (8)
INSECURE: A verbal synonym of cover (against risk) containing (across) the middle letters of dECk.

5a Officer carrying bladed tools is most careless (6)
LAXEST: The two letter abbreviated form of an army or navy junior officer containing (carrying) bladed tools (used by lumberjacks?).

10a Fell on taxpayers to sort out — that’s obvious (4-11)
SELF-EXPLANATORY: An anagram (to sort out) of FELL ON TAXPAYERS.

11a Stop drug that tackles nothing (7)
STATION: A drug designed to reduce cholesterol contains (tackles) the letter that can represent nothing.

12a Forgiving fast about a German turning (7)
LENIENT: the forty days of Christian fasting containing the German word for A (or one) reversed (turning).

13a Succeeded opposing work on area for capital city (8)
SANTIAGO: The single letter for Succeeded, a four letter term for opposing, and a two letter synonym for work placed after (on) the single letter for Area.

15a Show disapproval with introduction to alternative teacher (5)
TUTOR: A three letter term used to show disapproval and (with) a two letter term that might be the ‘introduction’ to an alternative (as in ** we could do this?).

18a Head off from tunnels carrying waste containers (5)
EWERS: The (underground) ‘tunnels’ that carry waste with the first letter removed.

20a Natural responses about ego, accepting ex back (8)
REFLEXES: One of the familiar two letters for about followed by the reversal (back) of a synonym of ego containing EX from the clue.

23a Some heretic niggles revolutionary agitator (7)
INCITER: A reversed lurker (some . . . revolutionary) found in two words in the clue.

25a A winding path’s blocked by large surface material (7)
ASPHALT: A from the clue and the single letter for Large inserted into (blocked by) an anagram (winding) of PATH’S.

26a Delighted coping with society (2,3,2,3,5)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: A double definition – the first is a very ‘elevated’ feeling of delight.

27a Noticing outline of prey hidden in grass (6)
SPYING: The first and last letters (outline) of PreY inserted into (hidden in) a verbal synonym of grass (as in inform on).

28a Male entering nicks parts for furniture (8)
ARMRESTS: The single letter for Male inserted into (entering) a synonym of nicks (a criminal).


1d Thoroughly maintain home with sibling I’m hesitant to leave (6)
INSIST: The two letter synonym for home and (with) a sibling with the two letters equivalent to saying ‘I’m hesitant’ removed (to leave.

2d Dried fruit starts to top exports for Brunei, perhaps (9)
SULTANATE: A single piece of dried fruit and the first letters (starts) of Top and Exports.

3d Scientist injecting half of mice in upper body (7)
CHEMIST: Half of MICE, I will leave it to you to decide which half, inserted into (injecting in) a term for the upper part of the body.

4d Mature Brie open and denied all outsiders (5)
RIPEN: What remains after the ‘outside’ letters (all outsiders) have been removed (denied) from bRIe oPEn aNd.

6d Resisting touching (7)
AGAINST: A double definition – the first might be resisting a course of action

7d Run off from band with upcoming record (5)
ELOPE: The abbreviated form of the name of an English rock band formed in Birmingham in 1970 (so says Wikipedia) and (with) the two letter abbreviation of a type of (vinyl) record reversed (upcoming).

8d Animation from Conservative’s disheartened another (3,5)
TOY STORY: A synonym of (political) Conservative’s (including the possessive ‘S) with the middle letter removed (disheartened) followed by another of the same Conservative (without the possessive ‘S).

9d Really not on being deprived (5,3)
BADLY OFF: A double definition (I think).

14d Flier bearing bow mounted on paper (8)
AIRCRAFT: A synonym of bearing (as in demeanour), and a geometric bow reversed (mounted) on the abbreviation of the name of the ‘pink paper’.

16d Reference book has uterus misspelled (9)
THESAURUS: An anagram (misspelled) of HAS UTERUS.

17d Eccentric in close possesses ten dictionaries (8)
LEXICONS: An anagram (eccentric) of IN CLOSE contains (possesses) the Roman numeral for ten.

19d Attack from south-east with no place to retreat (3,4)
SET UPON: The two letter abbreviation for South-East and the reversal (to retreat) of all of NO from the clue and a synonym of place.

21d Permit European quietly aboard cutter (7)
EMPOWER: The single letter for European followed by the musical letter for quietly inserted into (aboard) a (grass) cutter.

22d A pie-filling supplier’s in dispute (2,4)
AT ODDS: This one needed some e-verification – A from the clue and the murderous fictional Victorian barber who provided the corpses to a friend who made meat pies from the flesh (pie-filling supplier’s) and the ‘S is required for the answer.

24d Talkative with hour spent backbiting (5)
CATTY: A synonym of talkative with its single letter for Hour deleted (spent).

25d Hate Barbara regularly coming round house (5)
ABHOR: Alternate letters (regularly) selected from Barbara containing (coming round) the two letter abbreviated form of HOuse.

The Quick Crossword Pun:



81 comments on “DT 30160
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  1. A steady solve today at **/*** with enough lurkers and anagrams to unlock adequate cross checkers. Like Senf I thought lots of candidates for best clue and my COTD was the best 11a. It was a relief to have no GK today. Thanks to the setter and to Senf for his production.

  2. Excellent, back-pager of the week for me from one of my favourite setters. Only the NE held out for any length of time at all, but knowing there must be an X in there certainly helped.
    Candidates for podium places 11,26&28a plus 19d.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Senf. I had just a single definition for 9d, taking the first part as wordplay but I may be wrong.

    1. ‘Really not on’ and ‘being deprived’ are both phrases leading to the same two-word answer?
      Enjoyable challenge today

  3. Anytime I ace a proXimal production, as I did last night, I have had a great week–and this has indeed been a superb week for puzzles. So much to like here, with 22d getting the Clarkie for LOL time, and 8d, 2d, & 11a making it to the podium, just narrowly edging out a host of contenders. Thanks to Senf and proXimal. **/*****

    To my fellow Mick Herron (‘Slow Horses’) fans: this week’s New Yorker (5 Dec issue) offers an excellent profile of the author and his career, as well as some juicy stuff on Jackson Lamb, et al. The author is Jill Lepore, ‘Counter-Espionage: How Mick Herron Upended Spy Fiction’. Really great reading!

    1. Thankyou Robert. Slow Horses starts a second series tonight on tv which I’m looking forward to.
      I agree about the puzzle it was very enjoyable.

    2. I’ve just read the Jill Lenore article about Mick Herron. As you say really great reading. I loved her description of Ledbury and the many details she described about Herron’s life, including his flushing like a pink peony. She is very insightful writer. Lamb is as wonderful as ever in this second tv series !

  4. I don’t believe that this is an appropriate venue for novices. The posters seem highly accomplished. I’m in a different league and can struggle to get a few correct answers. What on earth can I contribute except stupid questions? In short, it’s too intimidating for someone of my (in)ability. I won’t be back.

    1. That’s a shame – I hope you’ll reconsider.
      Every solver was a novice once and one of the aims of this blog is to help novices become more proficient.
      May I suggest an approach if you’re struggling: Use the blog to fill in all the down answers (carefully averting your eyes from the across hints) then tackle the across clues again, but this time you’ll have loads of checkers which should make it easier.
      No questions are stupid – do please ask.

      1. That’s kind of you Gazza 😉 – so re 9a …..“I really need this” or “I badly need this”? Stretched synonym maybe?

        Enjoyable puzzle */***

        1. 9d The definition is ‘deprived’ (with little money) and something that’s really ‘not on’ is the opposite, i.e. badly (i.e. terribly) off.

      2. That’s is a pity. I know sometimes the comments can be quite overwhelming (and occasionally sarcastic – no names) but if you don’t feel up to commenting why not just lurk for a while. You will pick up all sorts of hints and tips and learn some of the common jargon. On the whole we are an amenable bunch and very happy to support a tyro as we all once were.

        1. You are so right Brian, I suspect we all began on this blog as silent lurkers – then once we get going we let our hair down!

          1. De-lurking on this blog reminds me of when I plucked up enough courage to go to Macclesfield Chess Club for the first time back in the 70s. I was scared stiff – a complete stranger, never been to a chess club before and assumed everyone there would be academic genius, a brilliant player and I would get thoroughly humiliated. It wasn’t the case, of course. I was greeted by a very friendly, down-to-earth chap who ran the B team – he worked as a tarmacker and had a black eye! And he was a pretty nifty chess player, too.

    2. Hi Blair. I agree with Gazza. Please do continue to comment and to ask questions. This is a forum for everyone, whatever their standard, interested in Telegraph cryptic crosswords.

    3. Don’t give up on the site Blair. I still only manage two or three finishes in a week and I often comment on what is obscure or not in general usage. Also reading the hints can be very rewarding and informative which helps in the long run. Yes the accomplished setters irk, annoy, irritate, and inflame negative feelings with their comments such as – it was a read and write today, finished over the first coffer of the day or in bed. And even more exasperating is when these people write something like – ‘Ray T/Jay/ Dada in very friendly mood today’ when you have spent hours not even getting half the clues.

      But believe me you just have to ignore that and ask your questions and you will find that one of these superpersons will gladly offer help in a non threatening or non condescending way. It’s the way I have made progress.

      1. Agreed Corky. Once you’ve followed this blog for some time, you learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are a few bloviating know-it-alls, but I seriously doubt they really are that clever. You soon learn who the real brains are, and they never belittle anyone. Keep following Big Dave you’ll be a pro in no time.

    4. I must add my voice to all the comments asking you to reconsider, Blair. Not so long ago I was thinking along the same lines as you, and Gazza very kindly gave me the same advice as he has to you which helped enormously. I follow the blog daily, and it has greatly enhanced my solving skills – not to the point of ‘read and write’ and ‘over coffee’, but sufficiently so to bring an enjoyable challenge into my life.

    5. I echo what others have said Blair – I too struggle with the puzzles, but have found the hints invaluable. Gazza’s advise is good. I do it slightly differently – I fill in what I can, then look at the hints for a clue that will give me the most cross-checkers then try again.

      And I skip over comments saying it was an easy solve, when I’ve struggled so much!

      Thanks to setter and Senf.

      1. To Blair! I used to struggle something rotten! – now, after a few years of doing the DT like mad, I am much better and enjoy them a lot!
        2 tips I (personally follow) are, 1 – never look up any potentional word while still playing, only afterwards – keep trying all avenues first, and 2 – do the quickie puzzle part way through when you’re struggling a bit say, it gives you a chance to think about the main clues in the background of your mind, like trying to remember something that’s on the tip of your tongue, it often comes later out of the blue!, and it sharpens your word knowledge a lot too!

    6. Stick with it Blair, I am a frequent DNF and try to learn from the hints when I have not a Scooby, but it becomes all the more satisfying to unravel a clue unaided when others comment here of difficulty. The vast majority of answers are common everyday words but you will stumble across new/obscure but these are few. Anagrams and lurkers are the same for all once you become familiar with the indicators. The rewards are worth the effort.

      1. What everyone else has said.
        I was rubbish when I started lurking here but learned a lot then started to comment.
        I still get irritated by the ‘read and write’ and ‘over coffee’ brigade but console myself by reflecting that they may or may not be being terminologically exact. After all anyone can read and write it using Dan Word.

        Please hang on in here.

  5. Mr 4X rides again and most enjoyable it was to hitch along with him. Dithered over 9d for a while but everything else slotted in nicely.
    Top three here were 10a plus 14&22d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Senf for the words and music.

  6. A tricky puzzle for me,last in was 9d as per Senf I was not sure either ! like NAS a steady solve excellently clued.
    As for my favourire, 8d was the easy winner, liked the surface of 25a-the road outside is full of potholes which require constant repairs.Senf ‘s pic was spot on-had to chuckle.
    Going for a ****/***** again thanks to setter for an old fashioned Friday crossword.

  7. Having blubbed yesterday about this week’s, to me, rather difficult set of puzzles, today’s setter has put everything in perspective with a gem of well-clued simplicity. Numerous top clues but 22d has my rosette.
    Thanks to Proximal and Senf.

  8. Many thanks to Proximal and Senf for the puzzle and the blog. Needed help for 26a and 8d whose clues left something to be desired, the rest were managed but with great effort on a morning when I worked on the puzzle in defiance of work needing to be done.

    10 and 11a, and 22d were starred today.

  9. Most enjoyable puzzle of the week for me. Only needed a couple of solutions and confirmations. Can I also confirm to Blair that the suggestions made are extremely helpful and the blog is essential to me !!

    1. Your comment went into moderation because you used a different alias from the one you used previously, some time ago. Both should work from now on but it might be appropriate to, say, add the first letter of your surname to create a unique alias based on your name.

  10. First glance, this is going to be very tricky.
    It was.
    Slowly solved from the lower half, the upper even slower!
    Strong field for COTD, 22d by a nose, or less.
    So, 4*/5*.
    Many thanks, indeed, to ProXimal for the challenge and thanks to Senf.

  11. I do hope Blair (above) does reconsider. I was a lurker here for years, picking up tips, and enjoying the discourse before I joined up and started posting. I believe Blair may enjoy the journey towards becoming more proficient by interacting here.

    Unfortunately in my case, the fun aspect of being here was severely tarnished when I received a haughty, patronising, email informing me I was being disruptive. I found this quite irritating. I’m 67 years old and don’t enjoy being spoken down to like a child. Consequently my own enthusiasm has been biffed over the head with a length of lead piping.

    Tricky crossword today. Thanks to the setter and The Man From Manitoba.

    1. Let it go, Terence, let it go! I got a similar email too, it was to-the-point but I wouldn’t say it was patronising. I probably deserved it. The moderators have to clamp down sometimes for the general sake of the blog. Forget about it , old chap, and get back commenting on here. You don’t get ulcers from what you eat, you get them from what’s eating you!

      1. Sounds like a lot of us got special emails, but I have remained here because I think the world of all of you, and I bear no grudges. Besides, where would I go, huh?

  12. A nice puzzle to end the working (for some) week. No real favourites but as ever with proXimal well clued throughout. Add me to the 9d as last in club.
    Thanks to Mr 4X & Senf.

  13. A very nice puzzle to end the working week (not that I’m still working). Fine clues, a medium challenge and an enjoyable solve. I have ticked a few but will have to choose 22a as my favourite – buy one of those pies and you’d be a cannibal without even knowing! 2.5*/4*.

  14. A terrific puzzle for a Friday and very enjoyable albeit a slow solve. Still, much easier than those earlier in the week. 3d raised a smile with its “Frankensteinian” element and the novel cluing of 18a. My COTD is 20a because, although all the bricks were there. it took me some time to sort them out and build the house.

    Grateful thanks to proXimal for the fun and Senf for the hints, which I will now read.

    Blair, if you are monitoring, please reconsider. I was like you when I joined the blog about 5 years ago but I found everyone most helpful and encouraging. So much so, that I have gone from solving the puzzle on rare occasions only to being able to solve it nearly every day. I have also manage a few Toughies, which was impossible before I joined the blog. Please don’t be put off by your first impressions and keep on asking your questions.

    Cold, misty and damp day here in The Marches. Not a problem because I can sit by the Aga and mark the essays that have landed on my inbox.

  15. Similar experience to Hrothgar: my initial thought was “cripes, this looks tough!”, so I looked to insert the crowbar elsewhere, happily 17d leapt off the page, and I was off and running, sorting out the downstairs before moving to the upper floors. [Blair, do please stay – as others have said we were all novices once. It’s always worth looking for different entry points to a puzzle, whether that means going to the bottom right rather than top left, ‘picking off’ a couple of shorter answers dotted here and there, or looking for the anagrams, anything to get the reassurance of some letters on the grid.]

    Still mulling over 9d and whether “really not on” is synonomous with the answer, but otherwise a most enjoyable puzzle, great clues throughout, and an appropriately “Fridayish” challenge for a Friday.

    2.5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Proximal and to Senf – both for the review and the great ELO clip!

  16. Top was a bit tricky but a bit of perseverance helped and the bottom half was very pleasant. So nice to have a Friday that is not a Toughie in disguise for a change. Last in was 11a which required the hints for an explanation. Should have known the drug, I take it every day!
    Thx to all

    1. We got in a mess in that corner because I put in ‘aspirin’ as being aspiring without the g. A bit tenuous but it seemed to fit with the torso I wanted to use for 3d. It’s all a bit of fun!

  17. We’ve had a good week haven’t we? A really enjoyable solve today though far from plain sailing. Needed Senf’s hints to parse 13a and 14d and resorted to revealing the answer on 9d. Can’t remember when I last did that. Apart from thinking what a clumsy word 5a is, I loved lots of clues, especially 1a, 20a, 25a and my favourite 8d. Thanks to ProXimal for the enjoyment and Senf for the help.

    1. I agree on the clumsiness of 5a but that often seems to be the case when a comparative or superlative, expecially the latter, is created by adding the appropriate ending to the ‘base’ word.

    1. Thank you for the puzzle, proXimal. I have finally managed to complete one of yours and it was very enjoyable.

    2. Brilliant puzzle once I’d finished it but a bit of a b….. on the way. So many great clues 1, 11,28a and 2,8,16,17,22 and 25a all got a daisy. Thank you.

    3. Really enjoying the Cross Atlantic puzzles and of course this back pager which challenged me enough to stir the little grey cells without frustration!

    4. There were two state-of-the-art puzzles this week for me: Silvanus’s Toughie yesterday, and yours, ProXimal, today. I gave them 5***** each. The world of crypticity just doesn’t get any better–and thanks for joining us too.

  18. I can only add my voice belatedly to those earlier commenters who rated this so highly; absolutely top drawer entertainment with some splendid clues, among which were 11a and 22d, my favourites.

    Many thanks to proXimal and Senf.

    To Blair at #4: take all the help on offer from this brilliant site and you will soon be as accomplished as the rest of us. It just takes time, application and perseverance.

  19. Yes agreed. Splendid puzzle. Failed on 9d. Still don’t get the “Really not on” bit. But that’s my problem. As far as I’m concerned it’s just “off”.
    Thanks all.

  20. Reading Blair’s post above prodded me into making my first post, as very much a novice of the cryptic puzzle too. I’ve been lurking about a month and find the hints the only way to finish off the grid or parse others that I’ve stabbed a guess at. Nethertheless, I have found great improvement over my short career by really trying to understand the wordplay and parsing it properly. One day I may finish unaided, I hope you can keep persevering too
    Today I’d never heard of the reference of 7d and only vaguely of 22d. I didn’t know 18a, though I got it from the wordplay + helpers. I regularly find some of the suffixes tenuous and difficult (I don’t think I’ve ever said 5a or 23a). I’m horrible at spotting and solving homophones. The list goes on :) I did break out in a big grin with 11a when I belatedly got it and 8d which is more my era so they go down as my favourites for the day!
    Thanks to proXimal and Senf.

    1. Welcome, Wiggler. If you stick with the blog you will finish unaided one day and we will all rejoice with you. :good:

  21. I needed the hint to parse 22d and like others I couldn’t see the double definition, if that’s what it was, in 9d so technically a bung in. Apart from those no real problems. I went on ‘hunt the fourth X’ quite early on. Favourite was 14d, others ran it close. Thanks to ProXimal and Senf.

  22. Sorry to say for some contributers today I found this very easy but very enjoyable. I’m not boasting sometimes you hit on the setters wavelength and it’s a breeze, other times setters minds work different to yours and you struggle. As for other comments I too am 67 and have developed a v thick skin. I’ve posted comments that have been a bit harshly treated in the past but it doesn’t matter, it’s the opposite of Cheers, nobody knows your name! Screw it!

  23. Strange old world, I found the last two crosswords this week far more solvable than first to 🤔 I enjoyed today’s offering and it’s a ProXimal 😃 **/**** Favourites were many but 5 & 28a and 3 & 22d were the icing on the cake🍰 Big thank you to Senf and to ProXimal
    PS can anyone tell me why the answer to 13a Decamp in yesterday’s Quicky was Levant 😳

  24. As I usually seem to find, I struggled with this proXimal puzzle.
    Find some of his parsing hard to follow.
    Anyway, 2.5*/3* today.

    Favourites other than the two long ones, included 25a, 27a, 28a, 16d & 24d

    Thanks to proXimal and Senf for helping clear up some of the parsing.

  25. I found this very difficult and it was DNF. However, I know it is a wavelength problem and I can sometimes sail through a puzzle unaided. When I’ve had enough I have learnt to throw in the towel and read through the answers putting them in place as I go and doing my best to understand them. There is no point in grieving, As has been said before, it’s only a puzzle, tomorrow is another day…..and the Big Dave site is here to support us!

  26. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! This week I’ve been so close to giving up crosswords, the offerings so far have been way above my ability and no fun, and then ProXimal dumps this gem in my lap at the end of the week. Added to my shortcomings, I have fallen, yet again, and attempted this lying flat on my back, writing uphill so to speak. This has helped me to believe in myself again, I’m 26a y’all. Thank you, thank you Senf (particularly for explaining 9d) and ProXimal, you are stars.

    1. 💐So sorry about your latest fall Merusa – do take care of yourself and let’s hope you will soon be on the road to a recovery. 💐

  27. Managed to solve 2 or 3 then lost interest.

    I think I will take a break from back pagers for a few weeks. If some sort of normality has resumed, I will continue doing them. I have some telegraph crossword books to keep me going.

  28. Bother (or something like that!). I thought I had commented but it appears to have disappeared into the ether. Anyway I did find today’s enigma a very real but nevertheless enjoyable challenge. NW was toughest. I admit to succumbing to several bung-ins due to lack of complete parsing (e.g. 8d, 14d, 21d and 22d). Never heard of band in 7d. Thank you ProXimal and Senf.

  29. To Blair keep going. Ignore all the clever remarks, you learn from the hints. I very rarely comment but do read the blog and people are happy to help

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