DT 30199 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30199

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30199
Hints and tips by Twmbarlwm

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning. Fantastic fun, a puzzle with some lovely anagrams and clever cryptic definitions and a selection of other clue types executed with wit and panache. So enjoyable.
It reminded me of a puzzle by Wurm that I did recently elsewhere, so I’ll take a tentative punt on this being an NY Doorknob production and prepare my face for egg.

Many thanks to the setter.

In the following hints, definitions are underlined, indicators are mostly in parentheses, and answers are revealed by clicking where shown as usual.
Please leave a comment below on how you got on with the puzzle and which aspects you liked etc.

1a Horrible cold undies worn by son kept under wraps (11)
UNDISCLOSED: The letter for son is contained (worn by) an anagram (horrible) of COLD UNDIES

7a Help to dig where a flier drinks? (7)
CROWBAR: A quirky description of a watering hole for certain corvids

8a Plant rot (7)
RHUBARB: A double definition, one of which means nonsense

10a Something sweet I put in memo (8)
NOISETTE: An insertion of I from the clue and a synonym for put, or place, ‘in’ another word for a short memo

11a Slowly all undressing, made magic hot (6)
ADAGIO: Three words from the clue are undressed – stripped of their outer parts

13a Possibly major row (4)
RANK: Two definitions, one of which has a military meaning

14a Concerned one new setter upset editor (10)
INTERESTED: The Roman numeral for one and the letter that represents new are followed by an anagram (upset) of SETTER, and then a shortened editor

16a Firm writes to stop colleague’s refund (10)
COMPENSATE: A two-letter abbreviation of a firm or business is followed by an insertion (to stop) of a synonym of writes put into a word meaning colleague or partner

18a Fair chance, reportedly (4)
FETE: A homophone (reportedly) of a word for chance or fortune

21a Showing sign of stress? (6)
ITALIC: A cryptic definition of an indication of emphasis in type

22a Go to fight hairy members (4,4)
BEAR ARMS: A whimsical description of a right that is protected by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution

24a Unpleasant row about retired medic (7)
NOISOME: A word for row or racket containing (about) one of the handful of two-letter representations of a doctor in reverse (retired)

25a Barman impressed with good cleaner (4,3)
HAND GEL: The quirky ‘barman’, or composer, has the letter that stands for good inside it (impressed with)

26a Sensationalists, say, seen in good crowd (6,5)
GUTTER PRESS: Another word for say or speak goes into (seen in) the letter for good (again!) and a synonym for crowd as a verb


1d Spinner caught by posh Scotsman? Ideal! (7)
UTOPIAN: A spinner, as a child’s toy, is inserted into (caught by) the letter for posh or upper-class, and a three-letter Scotsman’s name

2d Item that makes an impression in bed? (6)
DIBBER: A cryptic definition where bed means a garden plot

3d Inspect unit struggling with crises (10)
SCRUTINISE: An anagram (struggling) of UNIT [with] CRISES

4d Fat playwright has left for Belgium (4)
LARD: A popular term for Shakespeare, usually preceded by ‘The’, has the one-letter vehicle registration code for Belgium changed to the letter for left.
Perhaps the setter had Stephen Fry’s notorious decamping to Belgium in mind. Fry is a playwright, having written ‘Latin’ in 1979, although it was a Simon Gray play that he was appearing in at the time of his disappearance.

5d More robust battling nameless intruders (8)
STURDIER: An anagram (battling) of I[N]TRUDERS (nameless)

6d Current piece on board (7)
DRAUGHT: A double definition, one of which refers to a current of air

7d Isn’t for one prisoner drawing (11)
CONTRACTION: A definition-by-example (for one): a diminutive term for a prisoner precedes a word for drawing as eg a medical treatment where parts of the body are gently stretched

9d A way to one’s heart? (5,6)
BLOOD VESSEL: Another clever cryptic definition that misleadingly evokes a romantic gesture

12d Buy particular joint and be sacked (3,3,4)
GET THE CHOP: Whimsical wordplay of a trip to the butcher’s for some pork perhaps

15d Pilot and her new place to land? (8)
HELIPORT: This one was probably my favourite anagram, nicely disguised: PILOT [and] HER (new)

17d Import of poor gin condemned (7)
MEANING: Another deceptive anagram clue where the definition appears to mean something else: the anagram is GIN (condemned), which follows a word for poor or shabby

19d Free range eggs with nothing inside makes one cross (7)
ENRAGES: That’s three anagrams in a row: (free) RANGE precedes the outer letters of eggs (with nothing inside)

20d Margin call accepted by loud European (6)
FRINGE: A word for call or phone goes inside (accepted by) the letters that represent loud, or forte, and European

23d At this point, in the red! (4)
HERE: The solution is hidden

My particular favourites were 10a, 11a, 14a, 16a, 21a, 25a, 2d, 4d, 7d, 15d and 17d. What were yours?

Today’s Quick Crossword pun: HEIFER + LOOT + INN = HIFALUTIN

101 comments on “DT 30199
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  1. Is it me? I couldn’t make head nor tail of this. I had to have ehelp for far too many for it to be enjoyable. Folk talk of being on the right wavelength but I couldn’t even find waves with length long enough for me to get on. I am sure others will consider it enjoyable but I am afraid it didn’t float my boat.

    Anyway, thanks to the setter for the thrashing and to our friendly Welsh hill, Twmbarlwm
    for the hints.

    Tomorrow is another day.

    1. Funny, I just finished my rant about this puzzle to someone and finished with the same Scarlett quote, “tomorrow is another day!” How can anyone give ** for difficulty to this I don’t know. Maybe Toombarloom is a mystery genius. As for the setter, who on earth can this be? If you haven’t gathered so far, I didn’t like this puzzle.

      1. I was actually going to give it one star for difficulty but my finger slipped. :grin:
        Seriously though, as I’ve already said elsewhere, it’s a case of me being bang on the setter’s wavelength and solving much faster than I normally would. I can only be honest about my personal experience in the ratings, which aren’t set in stone.

          1. I often struggle with puzzles that others here find easy, and very occasionally I’ll find a puzzle enjoyable and have no problems and be surprised when others do. It’s just luck or one’s mood at the time. I’m not sure why you’re being unpleasant about it.

            1. I don’t think Merusa means to be unpleasant, Twmbarlwm. Sometimes, on here, a compliment can seem not to be so. :grin:

            2. No, I didn’t mean to be unpleasant and I’m so sorry I came across as so. Furthermore, you’re Welsh, one of my favourite places in the world, I’ve had so much fun over the years there. I would never want to offend a Welshman.

              1. You don’t need to apologise for me misinterpreting you. I wrongly thought your second remark about me being a genius and you being thick was dismissive sarcasm with an implication that I was making myself out to be better than others. I’m sorry for getting the wrong end of the stick.

    2. I could not have put it better, Steve – I finished with ehelp, but my head is still reeling. Not my cup of tea at all – sorry setter, but I didn’t much care for it.

    3. I struggled as well. I put it down to having had a difficult day and being so cold. One I got a foot hold and read Twm’s hints I began to see how clever it was. I wondered how a photo of a Boy Scout could be a clue until I remembered my brother chanting the vow. 11 and 22a were also delicious. I struggled with 26a and got a different anagram out of range at 19d. So not my best day.

  2. Good solid fare from our setter today, perhaps a bit tougher than a usual Tuesday but
    that might just be me.
    Not sure about ‘dig’ in 7a but could be missing something.
    Took an age to get the last one, 7d, but was approaching it back to front.
    Favourite today was the very witty 25a. Great puzzle well done to our setter.

        1. My thoughts exactly, Merusa. When I got the first word of the pun I thought it was going to turn out to be “heffalump” as in Winnie the Pooh.

  3. Using the online “old” puzzles site this morning, I had the awful predictive text/letter/check, etc. coming up all the time.

    Anyone else have that?

    Reasonably enjoyable puzzle if a little quirky in a few clues e.g barman.

  4. Definitely a little harder than usual for a Tuesday, with half a dozen in the bottom half taking as long as the rest of the puzzle. 25a was easily my favourite clue from a very competitive list. Most enjoyable.

    My thanks to our setter and Mr T.

  5. What a strange puzzle. My first attempt in bed this morning yielded all of 5 clues so I was rather depressed. Came back to it later and it sort of fell into place so thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm (whose name I have to cut and paste!)

  6. Completed unaided but quite hard going.
    Especially the NW.
    7 and 25a and 2d made me smile, very clever clues.
    Thought 1d a gem, my COTD.
    So, 3*/4*
    Many thanks to the settter and to Mr.T

  7. Nothing worth watching last night so I did the crossword instead which means that I’m able to comment nice and early, for once. Very satisfying solve. Last one in was 8D because I had to search my memory bank for British board game names. Absence makes the brain grow hazy. My top picks are 22A, 26A, and 2D because its such a lovely word. One thing though. Can a chop reasonably be considered a joint? Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  8. I found so.e of the clues really off beat and that mDe rhis harder than usual. Quite a bit of guesswork was involved and I wouldn’t fill in the SECcorner until I had checked some of the hints t make sure I had the right end of the stick. It was certainly a challenge annd quire clever. Like the curate’s egg it wss enoyable in parts. 26a was my COTD,, with24a , 17d and 1d as runners-up. I’m not sureabout 24a; clever but annoying. Thanks to the compiler for the brain gmnastics and to Twmbarlwm for the reassuring hints.

  9. Enjoyable for the most part but held up for far too long by the dubious (in my opinion) synonym fot ‘drawing’ at 7d. Wanted to put ‘conjunction’ or ‘conjunctive’ in but, of course, couldn’t sort out 13a then. Some really nice cryptic clues today. Especially liked 25a, 26a, 6d and 9d. My overall favourite was 11a – very clever. Thanks to today’s setter and Twmbarlwm for confirming my eventual answer to 7d.

  10. Great fun and a bit trickier than we normally get on Tuesdays. Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.
    I’ll choose 16a, 22a, 4d and 7d as the pick of a very good bunch.

  11. 2.5*/4*. The definition for 7a seems a little strange to me but, that apart, this was nicely challenging and good fun all the way.

    My podium choice is 8a, 16a, 4d & my favourite 7d.

    Many thanks to the setter and to Mr T.

      1. Welcome, StraySheep and I’m pleased you got on better with this back pager than I did. My worst performance for years. Hope to hear from you again. :good:

  12. Not a lot of fun for me I’m afraid. I found it all rather convoluted. I needed too much electronic help. I will be polite though and say thank you to the setter for the effort, as I know that others have enjoyed this one. Thanks too go to Twmbarlwm.

  13. A not Typically Tuesdayish curate’s egg for me – 2.5*/2.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 16a, and 6d – and the winner is 10a.

    Thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  14. I am with Twmbarlwm (I too have to double check the spelling of our Welsh hill hinter) – I thought this was a fantastically fun puzzle with a good degree of challenge particularly in the SE. Some great cryptic clues, misdirection and anagrams. Many contenders for COTD but I narrowed it down to a choice between 7d, 25a and my LOI – 19d. Prize goes to 23a for the barman reference.

  15. RD @15, a digging b__ is a large kind of 7a, so I think that’s it.
    Paul @14: think of what the word ‘isn’t’ is in grammatical terms.

    I’m surprised this one has caused difficulties for some. Perhaps a rare case of me being totally on the setter’s wavelength (NY Doorknob or even X-Type?) and managing to sail through it much quicker than I usually do.

    1. Same here. I’m usually annoyed with some clues but on this occasion all fell into place relatively quickly. Thanks all

  16. Have to say that I’d be a bit concerned about someone digging with a 7a, perhaps it’s the same fellow who takes a sledgehammer to his walnuts!
    Curious mix of a puzzle but I did enjoy the likes of 10,25&26a along with 17d.

    Thanks to our setter (NYDK?) and to Twmbarlwm for the review.

  17. Took me an age to get going but once I solved a few anagrams and had checking letters I worked my way through it.

    I agree with lovely Jane. Would one really use a 7a as an aid to digging? I’m sure the BRB may be quoted back at us but it still feels a little odd.

    I haven’t ventured outside yet today and other than to bring the bins in (the glamour!) I intend to stay indoors. This sudden icy blast was not requested by me.

    Thanks to the setter and The Twmp.

    1. T, 7a. You’re right, you wouldn’t normally use on for digging and the BRB doesn’t support it. But you COULD use one as an aid to digging in certain situations. See my comment immediately below, though mine is a 3-foot gorilla bar – a large, heavy duty and not so bent version/type of the answer. It’s not a definition I would have used myself, though. The odd subjects that get discussed on here! :-)

    2. *I believe I’ve solved the mystery regarding “digging” in 7a. There is a tool, which is effectively a small c*****r called a cat’s paw and I explained its use in DT 30063:

      August 11, 2022 at 1:36 pm
      15d got me too – have I lived too quiet a life? 14a – presumably there is a hand tool named a cats paw? If so I hadn’t heard of it. Thanks to MP and setter.

      August 11, 2022 at 2:05 pm
      SiSA. That tool cropped up just a few months ago:

      May 11, 2022 at 3:25 pm
      Too small to be a jemmy or crowbar. A cat’s paw is used mainly for digging/pulling out smallish nails that have been driven in flush or below the surface of the timber. Pincers used to have a similar small claw on one end of the handles (with a ball on the end of the other). They were called ball and claw pincers.

      May 11, 2022 at 4:13 pm
      *And, if you’re not careful, I’ll describe what type of tool an “old woman’s tooth” is!

  18. I found this one quite a bit more tricky than a normal Tuesday production, from from decidedly below average difficulty to a tad above. Good clues, a reasonbale challenge and a pleasing solve. Like RD, I did find the 7a definition rather strange but the answer can be a verb and I have used the straight end of a 3-foot one to break up very compact earth/hardcore in a confined space – so I’ll let the setter off. Favourite of a fine group: 16a. 3*/4*.

  19. A mixed bag for me today, I thought some clever and lateral clues that I enjoyed, mixed in with some quite jarring clues that I didn’t. Maybe it’s just a wavelength thing for me today. I had probably 5-6 clues that I bunged-in and needed hints to explain the wordplay. I really liked 16a, 11a, 22a but COTD goes to 15d, and I rarely pick anagrams. ***/***

    Ty to mystery setter and MrT for the light

    1. When two, usually short, words are combined and one or two, perhaps more, letters are ‘replaced’ by an apostrophe, as in the first word of the clue, that is known as the 7d answer. Probably more commonly found with the combination of a pronoun and a verb.

  20. 7a is either brilliant or rubbish depending on your point of view . I’m in the former camp [ for once ! ]. Pretty tricky for a backpager though .

  21. I found this fairly well for a Tuesday back pager. 7d was more of a problem than 7a but both fell. eventually.
    Thanks to setter and Twmbarlwm.

  22. Can’t in all honesty claim an unaided finish as last in 2d took 2 stabs to select the first vowel correctly. Not being remotely interested in gardening I had never heard of the implement. My 27 degree utility club however is somewhat disparagingly so called by my regular golfing chums because I use it just off the greens as a pitch & run club to such annoyingly good effect that they threaten to hide it. I’d agree that today’s puzzle was a good bit trickier than a typical Tuesday & very enjoyable too. 7d a bung in & forgot to go back & try to parse it & I also found 7a slightly iffy. 25&26a my top two.
    Thanks to the setter & T.

    1. Glad I wasn’t the only one who had never heard of a 2d. Nobody else in the comments above professed any ignorance, so I assumed it was just me!

  23. Not on this setters wavelength today.
    A DNF for me with 6 or 7 words I just did not get, to see the parsing on, even when I peeked at the word.

    Favourite was 9d

    Thanks to setter and T.

  24. If the rest of the week is as hard as today’s then it’s going to be a very frustrating test for my equilibrium. Not at all on the setter’s wavelength and those I managed seemed quite contrived with word meanings not in my active or passive vocabulary except for dibber. I use a dinner in the garden for planting seeds and seedlings ; an Invaluable tool at planting time.

    Many thanks to Twmbarlwm for unlocking the impenetrable and to the setter for providing so much that was impenetrable.

    1. I love the thought of you using a dinner for planting! Damned predictive text. Our dinner was made by my grandfather out of a broken fork handle.

  25. Quirky but solvable with a few throw ins 😳 ***/*** but also some very good clues e.g.7a, 13a & 7d👍 thanks to Twmbarlwm and to the Compiler 🤔 Off to check Wordless out and then another Countdown semi final 🤗

  26. I thought this was an absolute cracker of a puzzle, full of wit and misdirection with some great wordplay.
    Pity the setter used G for good in consecutive clues though…not read the blog but I’m sure someone must have pointed it out.
    My top clues are 21&25a plus 4&7d. Great stuff
    Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  27. Out of sorts today, with bad arthritis flareup, so have taken to my bed, but I did manage to solve everything last night but that 2d instrument, which I’d never heard of. Lots of misdirection and rather odd definitions, or perhaps I should just say lots of oddities. Favourite: 26a. Thanks to T and the setter. ***/*** Will read the blog now….

    Cracking Toughie, which I finished unaided, in much briefer time than the backpager.

    1. Oh dear, I do hope you feel better soon, arthritis is a real curse. You did much better than me with this one, despite your pain, so my hat is off to you. Thanks to Steve Cowling and your comments, I have just printed up the Chalicea and look forward to tackling later. She, at least, does not make me feel like a complete dunce.

    2. Thank you, BusyLizzie. Nice to hear from you.

      I just read the blog. What does the Boy Scout illustration have to do with that instrument? Why would our hinter make his ‘help’ more arcane than the clue itself?

      1. It comes from an abbreviation of one of the old Boy Scout chants ‘Do Your Best, Do Our Best’ – always accompanied by a salute. Agree with you, it’s somewhat arcane – probably why I remember it!

      2. The Boy Scout motto is “Do your best” ie DYB, pronounced “dib”. So at ceremonies etc during a meeting, they chant “dib dib dib”. Hope that makes sense.

        We found the crossword quite tricky, but had some good clues – especially 11a.

        Thanks to setter and the Welsh hinter.

      3. Sorry if I got that wrong. I mostly try to strike a balance between a diverting photo and not giving too much away. I didn’t think there’d be a point in a photo of a dibber as you either wouldn’t recognise it as such or it would just be another literal illustration of the answer. Sometimes the photo can be a visual joke with the hint being in the text.

  28. Failed on 2d also despite being a keen gardener. Mind you, all the gardening tools I use are just called thingies.
    Really thought 12d would end in “hip”, which threw me for a while.
    Favourite 7d.
    Thanks to the setter and to Twmbarlwn for the review.

  29. Well I certainly struggled with today’s puzzle. Wouldn’t like to think how many drinks I might have got through! Eventually by using the hints I got 7d. Although I got 7a I couldn’t believe it was right so didn’t put it in! It’s a good job the frosty weather kept me in and I was disinclined to do much else. Many thanks to the setter and Twmbarlwm.

  30. A really enjoyable puzzle, with several clues needing some very close concentration, though I found the 2d and 7a intersection extremely hard work, with both clues giving me a major headache. NHO of 2d, but got it by a process of elimination after finally cracking 7a. As has been mentioned above, I might have got there very much quicker had I even remotely associated a crowbar with digging – I always have a mental image of burglars breaking open padlocks, and the like!

  31. I’ve said my two penn’orth earlier but forgot my manners. Many thanks to the setter for the challenge and to Twmbarlwm for the hints.

  32. Thanks setter (I think) but I couldn’t get more than 75% done before using Twmbarlwm’s excellent help. COTD 25a for the sweet barman PDM.

  33. Many thanks to the setter for a gentle and most enjoyable puzzle, with many excellent clues – albeit I thought 22a and 2d rather weak.

    Hon Mentions to 11, 13 & 25 across, 7 & 17 down.

    1.5* / 3*

    Thanks also to Twmbarlwm for the blog!

  34. To see a two star rating is somewhat demoralising, thankfully most commenters are also dismayed. I understand that a very few could breeze through this, but when there’s a puzzle which is considered a breeze by everybody, given generally 1.5 or 2, what would this guy rate it ?
    Anyway, I finally completed it, I could have flown to Melbourne and back in the time it took, including lengthy airport delays !

    1. Most weeks “this guy” generally gets the level of difficulty closer to the average mark than he did with this one.
      For some reason I didn’t have any problems or sticking points so I marked it accordingly. Looking later at the amount of commenters who found it hard, I realised it was probably a fluke, but there it is. But obviously it would be unusual if a blogger’s experience chimed with everyone else’s all the time.

  35. Sorry, a week later: I didn’t have time to do this on the day, but the comments it created meant I really wanted to give it a go. While mostly I find crosswords harder than the many commenters, sometimes it just happens that there’s one which many others grade as difficult but I find I solve quite straightforwardly.

    This … wasn’t one of those occasions!

    But it was really good fun, and slowly and steadily I got there, without requiring any hints. There was a fair bit of putting in partial answers (when I hadn’t solved a clue, but it had to be plural, or end in a particular part of speech or something, or for 12d I had the first 2 words but couldn’t make “boot” fit the final one), and it took many, many passes. But I did get there.

    Thank you so much to the setter for the pleasure. I particularly enjoyed: 11a (“Slowly all undressing”, which was my first in, and fell foul of my not following Chris Lancaster’s new year resolution to solve more slowly: I didn’t really appreciated it until going through Twmbarlwm’s explanations afterward), 4d (“Fat playwright”), 7a (“where a flier drinks”), 7d (“Isn’t”), 15d (“Pilot”), and 21a (“sign of stress”). Any of those could’ve been my favourite in most crosswords, but in this one it’s 19d for the “Free range eggs” cleverness.

    And thank you to Twmbarlwm for explaining 25a’s barman and 26a’s crowd as a verb.

    More like this, please!

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