DT 30214 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30214

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30214
Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

LetterBoxRoy has had more problems publishing his review this morning so I’ve produced some hints.

Thanks to the setter for the puzzle.

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


1a Title rumoured for composer (6)
HANDEL: this composer sounds like (rumoured) an informal word for a title or name.

5a Shortened career over your foul (6)
FILTHY: reverse (over) a word for career or way of living without its last letter and add an old form of ‘your’.

10a Car manufacturer employs one that’s oddly lacking ability (5)
MIGHT: a formerly British car manufacturer (now owned by a Chinese company apparently) contains the Roman numeral for one. Append the even letters of ‘that’.

11a Remains very unwell visiting north-eastern US city (9)
NASHVILLE: insert a word for remains (of a fire, say), the abbreviation for very and a synonym for unwell into the abbreviation for north-eastern.

12a At university work facing students ultimately increases (7)
UPTICKS: assemble an adverb meaning ‘at university’, a verb to work (as a clock may) and the ultimate letter of students.

13a Grapes mostly cultivated outside over large garden feature (7)
PERGOLA: an anagram (cultivated) of GRAPE[s] without the last letter contains the cricket abbreviation for over and the clothing abbreviation for large.

14a Retired South American, so it’s written, managed plant (9)
NARCISSUS: string together abbreviations for south and American, a Latin word meaning “so it’s written” and a verb meaning managed. Now reverse the lot.

17a Quietly direct what courtroom defendant must do (5)
PLEAD: the musical abbreviation for quietly and a verb to direct.

18a Slip when I run to escape large creature (5)
GAFFE: remove I and the cricket abbreviation for run from a large African animal.

19a The littlest ones growing up in a nursery? (9)
SEEDLINGS: cryptic definition. This nursery cares for plants rather than infants.

21a Raise cheer to welcome English victor (7)
ELEVATE: a verb to cheer or make happy contains an abbreviation for English and the letter that victor represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

23a Trainee nuns, their condition of acceptance by convent? (7)
NOVICES: split the answer 2,5 to get what’s required of trainee nuns.

25a Pub Heather left after sister’s initial round (9)
SPHERICAL: the mapping abbreviation for a pub, a type of heather and the abbreviation for left all follow the initial letter of sister.

26a Posh philosopher finds employment (5)
USAGE: the letter that means posh and a philosopher or wise person.

27a Scraps tools Bill offloaded (6)
BRAWLS: start with tools used for boring holes and remove the abbreviation for a bill or poster.

28a Spice seen in stone cask from the East (6)
NUTMEG: bolt together a word for a precious stone and a type of cask for holding alcohol then reverse it all (from the East).


2d Worry mustang’s tempted to bite (5)
ANGST: hidden in the clue.

3d Busy? Not working, with time for fun principally! (9)
DETECTIVE: busy here is an informal word for a copper. Start with an adjective meaning not working or faulty and replace the principal letter of fun with the abbreviation for time.

4d Bridge close to Swiss golf course (5)
LINKS: a verb to bridge or connect and the last letter of Swiss.

5d Crooked thief’s protecting fool that’s lifted sandwich spread (4,5)
FISH PASTE: an anagram (crooked) of THIEF’S contains the reversal of a fool or gullible person.

6d Able to go topless in bar (5)
LEVER: an adjective meaning able or bright without its top letter.

7d Enable European to stop female making annual event (9)
HALLOWEEN: a verb to enable and an abbreviation for European go inside (stop) an adjective meaning female (especially when referring to a party).

8d Criticise dog name this writer’s introducing (6)
IMPUGN: a type of small dog and the abbreviation for name are preceded by the contracted form of ‘this writer is’ from the setter’s perspective.

9d Cartoonist maybe up for prize (6)
REWARD: reverse what a cartoonist is an example of.

15d Cool drink ordered here’s free virtually, right? (9)
REFRESHER: an anagram (ordered) of HERES FRE[e] followed by the abbreviation for right.

16d Son obsessed essentially with flipping hidden Roman coins (9)
SESTERCES: the genealogical abbreviation for son and the two central letters of ‘obsessed’ are followed by the reversal of an adjective meaning hidden or covert.

17d Vote Paul rigged to keep student in athletics event (4,5)
POLE VAULT: an anagram (rigged) of VOTE PAUL containing our usual abbreviation for student.

18d Bribe EU member, we hear (6)
GREASE: this informal verb to bribe sounds like a country in the EU.

20d Is my team regularly adopting somewhat vacuous approach? (6)
SYSTEM: regular letters from the first three words containing the outer (vacuous) letters of ‘somewhat’.

22d Bolt vegetables once peeled (5)
ARROW: start with some white-fleshed (and largely tasteless, IMO) vegetables and peel off the outer letters.

23d Material many Londoners will acquire (5)
NYLON: hidden in the clue.

24d Stop fugitive finally packing trunk (5)
CEASE: the final letter of fugitive goes inside a trunk or bag.

I liked 25a and 3d for their well-disguised definitions. Which one(s) hit the spot for you?

Quickie Pun:  THOR  + DOUBT = THAWED OUT

113 comments on “DT 30214
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  1. Very hard but immensely enjoyable puzzle today, took a good while to finish, but well worth it in the end. Great clue at 16d, and by coincidence I’d watched Carry On Cleo yesterday, and one scenes has the late, great Warren Mitchell trying to get 40 of these for Jim Dale at the slave market.
    Can’t for the life of me see how 25a works, yes I know, ‘read the hints before commenting’ but I think that would mask some of the struggles people have.
    Favourite clue today was 14a. Many thanks to our setter, great fun!

  2. Very enjoyable indeed, perfect for Friday I’d say, full of wit, clever wordplay and misdirection.
    Plenty of winners to choose from but I’ll highlight (for the above reasons) 18,23&25a plus 3&22d. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and LBR (oops) Gazza for his super-sub role.

  3. Well a toughie in any language-back to the old Friday puzzles.
    Last in was 3d a new ‘Busy’ for me confirmed in my Chambers’
    Agree with SL that it was very enjoyable indeed-16d was a tad obscure!
    Liked the word[lay of 23a and 12a, favourite was 27a’
    The 10a pic reminded me of my old MG A , number MBG 283- wish I had kept it!

  4. I thought the three stars for both difficulty and enjoyment was one light on the first measure and two on the second. I found this thoroughly entertaining and rewarding to solve, with some very clever clues and no shortage of fun. Trying to pick a winner from such a line up was hard, but I did like 3d.

    Thanks to our setter (Silvanus?) and Gazza.

  5. Difficult, with somevvery convoluted clues, especially on the west side, which made it rather a long-winded solve. I had to use Gazza’s hints to understand the parsing of 3d and 12a. I quite liked 5d and 28a, which were clever and elegant but COTD for me was the cleverly put together Lego clue, 11a. Thanks to the compiler and to Gazza for the hints.

  6. 3*/4.5*. What a great way to finish the week. I found the SW corner most challenging taking me up to my 3* time.

    It has come up several times before but I struggle with “career” and “life” being synonymous. The BRB however does list the former under the latter entry.

    I’ve never come across anyone other than an American use 12a, but the BRB gets the setter off the hook with “chiefly North American”.

    I’ve got favourites aplenty (sorry, Kath), too many to list them all.

    Many thanks to Silvanus presumably, and to Gazza for standing in again.

    PS. Gazza you’ve entered the homophone as the first word of the Quickie pun.

  7. Not my fastest backpager but got there at a steady pace, spending a bit too long trying to parse 27a with the wrong tool. 3d and 19a were my picks.

    Thanks to today’s setter and Gazza.

  8. Could not get a toehold at first, so started in the Middle East, then worked my way in a somewhat peripatetic manner around the grid. A proper backpage challenge, immensely satisfying even if I was left with my answer to 27a unparsed until coming here. Favourite clues were 3 & 16d, 18 & 25a, with 23a my COTD for the laugh-out-loud moment.

    3.5* / 4*

    Many thanks presumaby to Silvanus, and of course also to Gazza

  9. Zandio last week and neither of proXimal’s ‘trademark’ indicators can only mean that this has to be a very enjoyable production of the third member of the Friday triumvirate, Silvanus – 3*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 25a, and 28a – and the winner is 25a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza for ‘subbing’ once more.

  10. Loved this crossword so much that we are commenting for the very first time after many years. A great mix of clues and difficulty and an absolute joy to get back to a true Friday puzzle, both taxing and enjoyable. Favourite clues? There are many but we particularly liked 14 and 25ac and 16d. As before 23ac made us smile. Not so keen on ‘uptick’, though even though the BBC news editors use it as their current ‘keeping up with the Yanks’ word!

    1. I was convinced that 12a was upturn and that 3d must be determine (but Imust be too dense to work out why was my first thought). Then I read Gazza’s hints and all became clear

    2. Same. I felt the anglicism worked perfectly well. Not sure I would have copped the synonym for busy even with the right 12a.

  11. Very tricky for me; needed help for the last half-dozen. Of course, 16d goes on THE LIST. There is no appeals process.

    Off to Stamford Bridge to watch the mighty Chelsea International All-Stars take on our wee neighbours, Fulham. I’m expecting a significant win for Chelsea. Nothing could possibly go wrong…

    Thanks to the setter and the former England midfielder.

    1. OK, I’ll bite on the somewhat patronising comment about Fulham, would expect nothing else from a Chelsea fan. Fortunately, our victory at The Cottage is still fresh in my mind…

  12. Too hard for me I am afraid. However, it is Friday so that is to be expected. I had never heard of 16d and had several guesses which proved to be correct although I knew not why. My favourite has to be 23a.
    Thanks to the setter and for Gazza for the very useful hints.

  13. Perfect Friday puzzle with just the ghastly 12a and ‘needed to be checked’ Roman coinage holding me up for a while.
    Long list of favourites as usual with this setter – 5,11,18&28a plus 3d all squashed onto the podium.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the entertainment and to Gazza for the review – loved the 18a cartoon!

  14. My first DNF for a while, and all because of 12a. Although I was not happy with ‘turn’ as a synonym for work, I put upturns as my answer. That rendered 3d impossible!

    Thanks to setter, and to Gazza

    1. I’m with you on upturns. Upticks is horrid and I am surprised Terence didn’t put that on The List instead of the perfectly respectable Roman coins.

  15. Tricky – last one in was 3d – don’t know that term for copper / very enjoyable – although a few clues were a bit convoluted

  16. Many thanks to Gazza for deputising for LbR and to everyone else taking the trouble to comment and discuss.

    May I wish you all a great weekend.

    A bonus clue for you: “Benefits of new arrival to the Cowling family (5)” ;-)

    For anyone who might have missed it, Cryptic Sue kindly posted earlier the “runners and riders” for last Friday’s landmark Toughie. It truly was a team effort with the Puzzles Editor and Deputy Puzzles Editor contributing clues too.

    1. Oh, too clever by half. Had to think a moment for his name, only Lola came to mind. Thanks for the puzzle (or guzzle as Crisscross would say, expecting us to believe it is cough medicine she is on) it was a smasher.

    2. Thank you, silvanus – Perks is suitable impressed and purring like a well oiled engine and a smug look on his face.

      Hudson, on the other hand, is sulking! :grin:

  17. According to Jimmy Buffet, “it’s always five o’clock somewhere”, so please join me to celebrate my eighty-fifth birthday. From the middle of the sugarcane fields in Jamaica to Miami, it’s been a long time with much ground covered. It’s been a helluva trip and I wouldn’t change any of it. I doubt I’ll do the crossword today, it has *** for difficulty, I don’t have a lot of time and I want to get in the pool to do my exercises. See you tomorrow.

    1. A very Happy Birthday, Merusa. I hope you have a great day and I don’t blame you for forgetting the crossword on such an auspicious day. :rose:

    2. A very Happy Birthday – I will have the Glenlivet by my side later (I am sure that Ora Meringue will approve as it is not one of those ‘Jeye’s fluids’ from the Western Isles) and will raise my glass accordingly.

        1. I was the miller at The Glenlivet for several years in the 1970s but I presume that most of the whisky which I helped to produce will have been consumed long ago.

          1. Welcome, DaveP. I hope you comment again because there a few on here who need some education with regard to scotch.

            (I’ll get my coat!)

            1. Thank you. I have found this blog very useful over the years and hope I can give some whisky advice in return. Unfortunately my personal consumption is now much reduced, probably due to an over indulgence during my first Hogmanay living beside the distillery.

    3. A very Happy Birthday to you, Merusa. I will most certainly join you in a celebratory drink. I wish I could also join you in the pool. At the present time, it’s -27C here (-41C with the wind chill).

    4. A very Happy Birthday to you, Merusa. Have a great day.

      I have very eclectic musical tastes. Country Music is one of my favourite genres with Jimmy Buffet right up there as one of its best proponents. In fact, I am listening to CountryLine Radio UK while typing this. They have just played this magnificent song by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss.

        1. If you like Country Music, Brad Paisley is well worth getting to know. He is a Premier Division artist as a singer, song-writer and guitarist.

    5. Happy birthday from me too. May must once have been a happy month for some as there seem to be loads of birthdays about now!
      PS I do really agree with you about disposable tissues v washable handkerchiefs!

    6. Many happy returns, Merusa, a lovely day for a lovely lady. I’ll certainly join you for a drink at five o’clock, thank you for the invite!

    7. 💐 Happy Birthday Merusa and Many Happy Returns of Today. Enjoy the pool, sunshine (?) and golden memories. Cheers! 💐

    8. Many happy returns, and thanks for giving me the excuse to open a bottle to drink your health!

      A dip in the pool would have been preferable to my struggle with today’s puzzle!

    9. And a very Happy Birthday from me too. I’ve just raised a glass as I prepare to read the badly needed hints. 🎂💐🥃

    10. Happy birthday, Merusa. Hope you’re having a great day.
      Incidentally, I think NY Doorknob probably didn’t see your question to him on the Tuesday blog, but I doubt he’ll mind me telling you the name of his band is The Far Meadow. They’re categorized as ‘neo-prog’, which includes influences from old-school progressive rock (eg anyone who likes 1970s Genesis will probably like the song Sulis Rise). There are a few tasters on youtube.

    11. Thank you everyone for the birthday greetings! I’ve had a good day, a long wallow in the pool doing my exercises, visits from neighbours, and now I’m waiting for two young English ladies to visit, they’re in Miami for a break. Haven’t seen them for so long, thank goodness the sun is shining for them, temp in the 80sF. Tomorrow is forecast for rain, which we so badly need. I’m now officially an old woman and have an excuse for my slowness! Love you all.

    12. Happy birthday Merusa – I’ve long been a fan of your comments and I especially like your use of the term ‘the intelligentsia’ for those who sail through the crosswords easily! I hope that you enjoy your special day. As for the crossword- well I’m half way through so many thanks to Gazza for the extra clues I will no doubt need and to the setter for the challenge. As for 5d, as a child I was given the choice between several flavours for my sandwich and they all tasted the same – yuck!

  18. Very rewarding solve which was eventually managed unaided despite quite a lot of head scratching. Apart from 1a, I couldn’t, initially, get a foothold in the NW but quickly completed the NE and then worked my way round somewhat haphazardly. It was the SW that held me up longest and pure chance that I landed on 16d. Lots of brilliant clues to choose from, including 11a, 23a, 25a and 20d. Favourite today was 14a – very clever. Thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and Gazza for stepping in once again.

  19. I struggled but it is Friday so no complaints. I managed about three quarters before having to resort to the hints. One of the ones I needed help with was 16d. I knew it had something to do with Roman currency but I simply couldn’t come up with the correct one. My COTD is 28a.

    Many thanks to the setter and Gazza for stepping up to the plate.

    1. Hope young Perks appreciates his special clue from Silvanus – not many felines can boast of such fame. Our setter’s own furry companion might be quite jealous!

        1. I have posted the momentous event on FB but it won’t go very far. The only folk I have as friends on FB are family and those I have known for years. They amount to about twenty in all. Not one of them will understand the clue that silvanus, in his kindness, created. Not one understands cryptic crosswords.

  20. Top notch puzzle which I found tricky but completable. My LOI was 3d which I got completely from the wordplay and didn’t see the definition link at all until I checked the BRB and 2nd LOI being the coin I had not heard of (despite visiting Bath Roman Spa only before Christmas!) and belatedly getting “flipping hidden” to complete the wordplay. Still, an enjoyable tussle. I thought there were many super clues, including 10a, 11a, 23a, 9d, 18d and 20d, but COTD goes to 18a for the inventiveness! Though I finished unaided I needed help with about 4 or 5 parsings – ty to Gazza. ***/****

    Great challenge Silvanus

  21. A tough but very enjoyable solve. A trio in the SW were the last to fall. The logjam started to break once I realized that the vegetables are not carrots. Then I solved 16d from the wordplay (and checked to see that the Roman coins existed). I finally got the “scraps” but could not parse the clue as I only knew the shorter general name for the tool and not the more specialized version needed. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  22. Electronics needed today for 12a & 16d and although I had answers to complete the grid, though it is Friday, I have plenty of sympathy for Brian, in my book this was definitely a Toughie!
    Thanks as usual to Silvanus for the puzzle (and owning-up), thanks also for Gazza for parsing my bung-ins.

  23. A superb Friday puzzle! Great clues, a tricky challenge and a very enjoyable tussle. I have ticked about half the clues and there’s too many excellent ones to isolate a favourite. 3.5*/4.5*.

  24. Good afternoon.
    First of all, thank you Gazza for confirming one or two of the answers that I had to leave to guesswork – and for reminding me that Bill (27a) can mean AD; I was fixated on Bill = AC, or account. Definitely one or two head-scratchers, and a “CRIKEY!! 😱” for 14a.

  25. Golly gosh. Hard. The horrid 12a held me up and I had to turn to Gazza – I bet he saw me hit the reveal panel. I thought 14a very clever, I initially thought of agapanthus, thus being so it is. Then I got back to Miss Hamer’s Latin class at 16d and it all clicked in. Miss Hamer sat down and settled her large brown crepe covered bust on the desk before starting the lesson. She taught us the soft vee, as in Weni, Wide, Wice and we all had Latin names. Mine stumped her. Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza for stepping in. I hope LbR is not unwell. Good weekend everyone.

  26. Was already feeling chipper after a better performance on the golf course & having a Silvanus puzzle to tackle over a beer (or two) a real bonus. Found it slow going in parts taking me into *** time for completion with last in 16d the biggest head scratch until I twigged the wordplay. Like others I couldn’t see beyond turn until the penny eventually dropped with the right context of work. As ever ticks in abundance – 11,14,19&25a plus 3 (my fav),7,8&20d to pick just 4 of each.
    Thanks to Silvanus & to Gazza for stepping in.

  27. I found this very tricky and not very enjoyable – I did finish but had to read the hints to see how I managed it.

  28. Strangely I found this slightly easy than yesterday, in that I managed to complete it unaided. An excellent challenge, right on the edges of my abilities.
    Lots of great clues, with 23a and 5d being my favourites.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza

  29. An off day for me as I found this Silvanus puzzle way out of my league today. Didn’t have the patience today for it.
    4*/1* for me for today.

    Favourites … 11a, 17a, 19a, 8d & 15d

    New word in 16d

    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza for all the hints i needed to complete the grid … but really a DNF for me under my own steam

  30. That was quite a challenge particularly in the NW where I too tried to use turns in 12a. 20d as approach didn’t ring a bell and 16d was new to me as was busy rozzer in 3d. Pleased to come to the end of this one. Thank you Silvanus and Gazza.

  31. Took me well into **** time but I got there in the end, even though I’d forgot the special application of ‘busy’ for 3d, so that was my LOI…and a bit of a hunch rather than a matter of certainty. But I always love the craftiness of Silvanus’s art, and this was one was exceptional even if one of the more challenging ones for me. I did know the Roman coins, luckily, and that helped me solidify the SW corner. Ticks everywhere, with 14a, 5d, 8d, 25a just nudging out a whole slew of others. Thanks to Gazza for always being there and to Silvanus for his usual excellence. ****/*****

  32. Like others I often have ‘LOL’ moments when solving, but today, once I had got over my ‘SOL’ moment (swear out loud) I found this an absolute joy to solve. I’d never come across ‘upticks’ before and surprise surprise or no surprise really, found it to be Amarican. Nuff said about that. I loved 5a, 25a and 27a, but 7d and 15d appealed to me the most. Thanks firstly to Gazza today for some much needed parsings – 3d and 12a especially and of course thanks to our Friday setter – for me your puzzle was more difficult than the two Toughies I have managed to solve unaided so far this week.

  33. A difficult one for me today. I needed help with the NW corner as well as quite a lot of the parsings.
    Enjoyable, though . Lots of great clues.

    Thanks to the setter and to Gazza.

  34. Thanks and three cheers to Gazza!
    I generally avoid Friday crosswords like the plague but managed to do lots more than usual so feeling a tiny bit smug.
    I’ve never heard of 12a.
    There are so many things I could say but I think most of it has been said already so I’ll leave it at that.
    Thanks to Silvanus for the crossword and thanks and :rose: to Gazza for the hints (and the 18a cartoon)

  35. Being a Friday, I don’t get to this until later and little time for solving + rather convoluted clues + way off wavelength = no hope of finishing this one. Have to be content with Wordle today. But fingers crossed for tomorrow.

  36. Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza for the review and hints. This must be one of the hardest back pagers I’ve ever seen. I managed to solve 15 clues, and guessed one from the checkers, but needed 15 hints to finish. So much that I’d never heard of. Couldn’t fathom most of the wordplay. Back to the drawing board for me.

  37. I started off at a gallop in the SE corner and then rapidly became the wrong horse for this course. I think I was a bit too cocky after, what for me, was a week of very satisfying solves. Thank you to Gazza for the hints ( much needed) and Silvanus for the challenge.

  38. What a cracking puzzle, full of elegant clueing & yes it was challenging but the sense of achievement in teasing out the answers was very satisfying.


    Fav 18a LOI 27a

    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  39. Wow, tough today but got there at the third attempt, the wine helped. North West stumped me this morning, then it began to flow. Timer says it took over an hour but at least didn’t resort to the hints, used everything else going though. Ignorant on Roman coins I’m afraid. I think I enjoyed the challenge but hope Saturdays is a little easier.
    Weather forecast this week has been generally good in North Cornwall, but it has rained nearly all the time…..just something else I don’t understand!

  40. Having seen the 3* difficulty I wondered whether to waste time bothering at all. However I did complete 12 unaided, which was more than I expected. Having realised that this was well beyond my pay station I then gave up. I do wish that the crossword editor would understand that those of us with less clever brains don’t want two toughies in a day. Crossword puzzling (like guzzling) should be a pleasurable pastime not an uphill struggle. Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza for so bravely standing in.

  41. Hardest puzzle for a long time.
    Left with 12a after some very hard thinking.
    Only got it by exhausting every possibility with the checking letters.
    A new word for me.
    Brilliant clueing throughout eg 3 and 8d.
    Many thank Silvanus and Gazza.

  42. Had a decent go at this but came up short as usual. Did not appreciate tick for work, busy as detective or career as life. I strongly suspect the Friday back page setters are wannabe toughie setters and it shows. As usual I managed slightly more of the proximal toughie which seems bizarre.

  43. A terrifically challenging puzzle from Silvanus, I got there on the second day !
    Cooped up as I am, getting the week’s papers at once, albeit 5 days late, I don’t mind a struggle such as this.


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