DT 30202 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30202

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No. 30202
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

LetterBoxRoy has had problems publishing his review this morning so I’ve produced some hasty hints (no time for pictures I’m afraid as I have to take my car in for a service and MOT).

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


1a They report pot, aluminium, is found between beams (11)
JOURNALISTS: a pot or vase and the chemical symbol for aluminium go between a synonym of beams or rafters.

7a Equestrian bathed in Olympic adoration (7)
PICADOR: hidden.

8a Before circuit, regularly cleared mould off bike part (7)
MUDFLAP: a circuit (of a running track, say) preceded by regular letters from ‘mould off’.

10a Son of Parisian visibly embarrassed having runs (8)
LADDERED: string together a son or young man, the French ‘of’ and visibly embarrassed.

11a Without leader, window-fitter becomes less diligent (6)
LAZIER: a window-fitter without his/her first letter.

13a Professor coming round with drink (4)
DOWN: a professor containing the abbreviation for ‘with’. Drink here is a verb.

14a Tactful cop with mass in Capitol running riot (10)
DIPLOMATIC: a senior detective followed by an anagram (running riot) of CAPITOL containing the abbreviation for mass.

16a Accompanying cool revolutionary in charge of chopper (10)
INCIDENTAL: an informal word for cool, the reversal of the abbreviation for ‘in charge’ and an adjective relating to a chopper (one in your mouth).

18a Hollow animal home, sett abandoned by group (4)
DENT: an animal home and what’s left of ‘sett’ after we’ve removed the group.

21a Obtain licence finally authorised (6)
ELICIT: the final letter of licence and an adjective meaning authorised or legal.

22a Metal bird overturned in a dump uncovered (8)
TITANIUM: a songbird, the reversal of ‘in a’ and the inner letters of dump.

24a Quiet voice that provides cover (7)
SHUTTER: an instruction to be quiet and a verb to voice.

25a Minor test involving hospital equipment (7)
TRIVIAL: a test containing the 2-letter abbreviation for a hospital drip.

26a Money for ill people if neck bites degenerated (4,7)
SICK BENEFIT: an anagram (degenerated) of IF NECK BITES.


1d Crow picked up roll beneath sailor (7)
JACKDAW: reverse a roll (of banknotes?) after an informal word for a sailor.

2d Not coloured at all edges — uneven dainty emerald (6)
UNDYED: the letters at the edges of the last three words.

3d Scandinavians assembled gear in snow (10)
NORWEGIANS: an anagram (assembled) of GEAR IN SNOW.

4d Branch from ascent leaving summit (4)
LIMB: drop the top letter (summit) from an ascent.

5d Fancy room aboard ship for weapons (8)
SIDEARMS: insert a fancy or notion and the abbreviation for room into our usual abbreviated steamship.

6d Unique player really is welcomed by crowd (7)
SOLOIST: start with a word used to emphasise (really) then inset IS into a word for a crowd or large number.

7d Heavy machines Greek character guided over waterways (4-7)
PILE-DRIVERS: string together a Greek letter, a verb meaning guided and inland waterways.

9d Metacarpal remedied with injection of ordinary drug (11)
PARACETAMOL: insert the abbreviation for ordinary into an anagram (remedied) of METACARPAL.

12d We’re told, escape little figure that’s shabby (4-6)
FLEA-BITTEN: assemble a homophone of a verb to escape or run away, a word for a little or small amount and a 2-digit number.

15d Sea raid, act deployed to gain island (8)
ADRIATIC: an anagram (deployed) of RAID ACT containing an abbreviation for island.

17d Groups providing tips about upcoming panel show (7)
CLIQUES: a word for tips or hints contains the reversal of a panel show (currently hosted, I believe, by Sandi Toksvig).

19d Raising hat, is head of theatre snobbish? (7)
ELITIST: reverse a dated slang word for a hat and append IS and the first letter of theatre.

20d Charge fine car up keeping close to motor (6)
TARIFF: reverse (up) the pencil abbreviation for fine and an Italian make of car containing the last letter of motor.

23d Beat back in frenzied massage (4)
DRUB: the last letter of frenzied and a verb to massage.


62 comments on “DT 30202
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  1. Brilliant puzzle, very tough as befits a Friday, but just about doable.
    Some very involuted clues which took a good deal of grey matter
    to unravel.
    My two favourites today were 16a and the smashing 7d. Thanks to
    our setter today, great fun!

  2. We appear to have an X-less pangram today so my five bob is saying that this is a very enjoyable proXimal production – 3.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 22a, 7d, and 19d – and the winner is 21a.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Gazza for a rapid stand-in.

  3. After yesterday’s minor disaster I’m pleased to say I rather raced through this one, though being on pangra(m) alert certainly helped towards the end.
    I thought 1&26a a tad manufactured but overall a top-notch puzzle if not quite vintage X-man.
    Liked “of chopper” in 16a plus 12&19d in particular but top spot goes to 17d, which the likes of Robert may struggle to parse.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Gazza, good luck with the MOT

    1. Interesting you picked out “of chopper” in 16a – I always considered a reference to teeth as chompers instead. I note they are both in the BRB

      1. Choppers is a bit of a misnomer for all the teeth. The front teeth “chop” while the back ones grind. Anyway, I’ve always called them gnashers and I was a dentist – so there! :grin:

  4. I think it’s an X-less pangram but I can never recall who the setter is – proXimal? Anyway, a terrific puzzle, which I did while waiting to see the orthotic lady at the Royal Shrewsbury hospital. I had a couple of bung ins that I will need to check with the hints and I cannot see the parsing behind 18a. My COTD is 7d as a fine example of a “Lego” clue.

    Many thanks to proXimal if it be him for the fun and thanks to Gazza for stepping in LBR.

  5. I thought at first that this might be a pangram, but there’s no ‘x’. North west corner was last in. For reasons beyond me, I missed the lurker in 7a, and I missed the indicator in 2d, both simple clues. Got them in the end. Hey Ho, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Sometimes it’s the simple ones that get me. Thank you setter and Gaza. Hope the service on the car goes well. I’m staying in today, and starting a new jigsaw puzzle. A picture of the Tyne bridge, which has vintage cars underneath. Quite clearly not in the river.

    1. Florence, today’s setter is proXimal. His crosswords are always either a pangram missing the X or they contain 4Xs, one in each quadrant of the puzzle.

  6. My last one was 16a, and my other pause for thought was with the parsing of 1d, where I was looking at first for a homophone (picked up) of the last 3 letters.

    Thanks to proximal and to Gazza

  7. Yes, Stephen, the ‘likes of Robert’ had only one parsing issue–the panel show in 17d–though I did take a stab and discovered I was right! At that point, still expecting a pangram, I was missing two usually elusive letters and–voila!–I found one of them, while still hunting for the other elusive one, never to find it. Wasn’t this fun, though? Up there with this week’s best, I think, especially with 16a, 7d, and 12d. Thanks to Gazza for suddenly manning the chair and to Mr X-less for another winner. 2.5*/4.5*

  8. It’s 2.5*/5* from me for a perfect finish to the crosswording week with this x-less pangram. My podium choices are 10a (my favourite), 16a & 7d.

    Many thanks to proXImal and to Gazza for standing in at such short notice.

  9. Set off at a reasonable pace but slowed considerably when it came to the parsing of a couple in the SW – 16a &17d.
    An enjoyable exercise from the X-man with my favourite definitely being 7d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Gazza for manning the fort.

  10. Great fun and really enjoyable although started very slowly. Finished unaided but needed the hints to see how I got there.
    Thanks to all.

  11. I really liked this puzzle – picked up about half way through that a pangram was on the cards but that never seems to help me much as by the time I work that out I already have most of the letters of the alphabet in the grid. Plus there is always the uncertainty as to whether it will be a true pangram or an X-less one. Never mind – everything slotted in with not too much head scratching. Some enjoyable quirky clues to joust with and give me a phrase that enables me to complete my own personal blog entry pangram. COTD 10a as it made me laugh when I worked it out. Thanks proXimal and Gazza – good luck with the MOT.

  12. A nice Friday offering, a step up for sure from the rest of the week but all solvable with some thought. I found the wordplay precise, but challenging which suits me. My LOI was 18a which took me the longest to twig, indeed I found all 4 of the shorties quite devious today. I’m having two categories of favourite clues today: the ones I enjoyed unpicking – 17a, 18a, and 7d; and the most fun due to surfaces – 11a, 14a and 19d ***/****

    Ty to pro-imal and LBR + Gazza

  13. Mostly hard clues, some much harder than others.
    Satisfying to complete, marred only by seeing accidentally the solution to 17d whilst fiddling about with the letters.
    This my last in.
    Enjoyed, though, todays challenge.
    Many thanks, proXimal and Gazza.

  14. A light but most enjoyable end-of-week backpager, with some odd (1a) and some super (26a, 9d) surfaces. Nothing untoward, but watching more TV would have helped with 17d, parsed post completion. As is usually the case I did not pick up that this was close to being a pangram – as with Ninas, I usually only become aware of them on coming here after the event!

    Special mentions to 7a (wonderful surface read & lurker), 11a, 16a, 26a, 5d & 19d, with COTD to the wonderful combined surface read and answer of 9a.

    1.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Gazza

    1. The surface reading of 1a seemed more than odd: a very rough ride indeed. A smartly parsed solution via a shocker of a clue.
      Mixed bag for me today, and only managed about 75 per cent without help.

  15. I’m not so sure about 26a. Surely it’s sickness benefit?
    I have to admit that the horrible 7a is a brilliant equestrian but I can’t say I adore him!

  16. A touch harder than*** I felt but interesting for all that. Needed the hints to explain some of the answers and very grateful for the plethora of anagrams. Did anyone else put Digitailis in for 9d? Realised it was wrong when I looked at my spelling!
    Thx to all

    1. Have you been missing for a while, Brian?
      I’m about 4 or 5 days behind lately.
      I get a bunch of papers at the weekend and try to catch up.
      Noticed all last week your regular comment was missing.

    1. Keep at it Richard. About 3 years ago I would never try a Thursday or Friday puzzle as I found them so tough. Then through lockdown I set myself a target to at least try every day. I don’t always complete them but I’m 90% of the way there now, and still enjoying learning new words and tricks.

    2. I agree with GJR, Richard. I, too, couldn’t make head nor tail of Thursdays and Fridays but I kept at them. Used the blog to see how the setters worked and I can now solve a fair few including todays.

      1. I agree too – I wouldn’t go quite as far as finished but very nearly.
        I do better with Silvanus Friday’s crosswords than others – I’ll just keep going and hope things get better . . .
        Thanks to proXimal for the crossword (specially one that I nearly managed) and to Gazza who picked up the pieces.

  17. 5d, 17d and 16a ticked the box as great clues today with the last mentioned being my COTD. Worked through this one fairly efficiently for some reason at **/*** which was a huge relief after yesterday’s difficulties….
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter for great Friday entertainment.

  18. This took me ages but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment. Looking back I don’t really know why I was on a go slow, there we were some fantastic clues.I liked the Lego ones at 1a, 7d and 22a. Favourite today was 10a which made me smile. LOI was 18a for which I finally gave in and referred to the hints. Thanks to ProXimal for the workout and Gazza for standing in and helping me out.

  19. A brief scan of this puzzle told me I must imitate the action of the tiger; stiffen the sinews, and summon up the blood as this one was clearly on the very outer edge of my meagre ability. My sinews clearly stiffened sufficiently as I was able to complete this tricky challenge, but I needed to check some parsing.

    Thanks to proXimal, and the former Newcastle and Spurs midfielder.

    1. Thank you, Terence, for taking us back to a terrible time, which (alas) now seems to be another ‘long time gone’ over here. RIP, David Crosby.

  20. I thought this might be ProXimal, althou I failed (as usual to see the X less pangram. As usual with Proximal, it wss hard but doable. I, like others was grateful for all the anagrams, which arealways enjoyable.COTD was 7d, followed closely by12d, 8a and 22a, which were all very clever. Thanks to Proximal and to Gazza for stepping into the breach to do the hints.

  21. A tougher puzzle today than the last couple of Friday’s. Some real head scratchers for me. Top half of the puzzle last in with again, today, the NW the hold up.


    Favourites include 8a, 25a, 7d, 9d & 12d — with winner 7d

    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza for the hints.

  22. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to commenters for comments. I’ll return on Sunday with a Cross Atlantic puzzle.

  23. Typical Friday slog but I didn’t do as badly as I usually do. North went in more readily than South, SW was where I had three unsolved and one wrong; I didn’t know the panel show but if I had a brain I could have made a guess. I got 18a, no wonder I had no idea of the “why” with my answer. I liked 1a, don’t see what’s wrong with it, just suitable and understandable for the tiny brain. My fave was 7d, clever, 10a another smiler.
    Thanks to proXimal and to Gazza for helping me unravel not just a few!

  24. Surprisingly, I enjoyed today’s puzzle and only needed to look at a couple of hints. I think venturing out onto the lower moorland and enjoying some lovely late afternoon sunshine with no bitterly cold wind certainly helped the little grey cells. I returned home and immediately popped several answers in. Though perhaps the slice of cake and cup of tea upon returning home contributed to the improved performance! Many thanks to Proximal and to Gazza for nobly stepping in at short notice. Do hope your car passed it’s MOT. Timely reminder for me to book mine in soon. Thank you!

  25. That was a bit of a curate’s egg with most eventually dawning on me however there were holdups in the SW but have to admit overall it wasn’t one of my most enjoyable cryptics. 24a presented problem as I failed to think of voice as verb and 7d meant nothing to me and, in any case, I know little of wrestling, porno movies or mixed drinks (as per Mr. Google! ). 10a dodgy. Could do better? Thank you proXimal and Gazza (so great of you to fall in as a last-minute hinter).

  26. So ends the week of toughies on the back page as I predicted on Monday. As usual looking back I can’t see why I struggled so much but I did. Hey ho! There’s always next week. I’m going to get cold tomorrow with hypothermia always a constant problem, I have heated thermals, hand warmers and warm clothing aplenty and it’s supposed to be sunny so hopefully I’ll survive. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to ProXimal and Gazza.

  27. Really liked this end of week grey matter work out.


    Fav for me could only be 9d! LOI 17

    Thanks to proXimal & Gazza.

  28. A wonderful day for me. I solved a puzzle – well 99% of it – by proXimal. Found out that Mrs. C’s blood results are looking great and she is feeling better than she has for ages. Sampled a couple of beverages and had a wonderful evening meal – baked Camembert and bread, don’t knock it. Heard that our daughter, Faye and son-in-law, Sami are coming over from Melbourne in September.

    I am now lying in bed with a Famous Grouse and perusing this wonderful blog.

    I couldn’t ask more for my birthday.

    1. Happy Birthday, Steve!! You’re so coy, I announce my birthday in good time so that everyone can send me birthday greetings!! What great news of Mrs. C’s blood work, isn’t it wonderful news after all the manhandling just for them to take your precious blood. Bestest best wishes!

      1. Happy birthday Steve! I agree, this is a wonderful blog. Yuk to the Famous Grouse though, even the smell is awful but at least I won’t be pinching David’s tipple of choice! Glad the results are good.

        1. Thank you, Merusa and Manders. The Grouse has done its work and I am about to drift off. Good night. 😴😴

          1. I hope that you had a Very Happy Birthday, Steve–you old sly fox! Why didn’t you let us know sooner? Anyway, so glad that you seem to have had a red letter day. Cheers!

  29. Struggled with this but probably too sleepy eyed & late in the day to do it justice. Got there in the end but all a bit of a struggle. Last in 13d & sneaked a peek at Gazza’s hint.
    Thanks to proXimal & Gazza plus late birthday greetings to Steve.

  30. 3*/3* …..
    liked 18A “Hollow animal home, sett abandoned by group (4)” ….
    well done to Gazza’s car for its MOT result.

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