DT No 30249 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT No 30249

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30249

Hints and tips by StephenL.

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from a, weather wise, very uninspiring South Devon coast.

Never mind, our esteemed setter has given us what I thought was a cracker of a puzzle that had me working reasonably hard for my unaided finish.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a Type of garment, ancient primarily (4)
TOGA: The initial letters (primarily) of the first four words giving an extended definition.

9a Unpreventable ban or exile abroad (10)
INEXORABLE: Anagram (abroad) of the preceding three words.

10a Some get here, almost spiritual (8)
ETHEREAL: Hidden in the clue as indicated by the word “some”.

11a Passion reportedly more exhausting in EastEnders (6)
ARDOUR: This is a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of more exhausting or difficult after the initial H has been dropped as EastEnders are said to do. Lol.

12a Has to hurt trapping old walrus? (9)
MOUSTACHE: Insert the abbreviation for Old into a modal verb meaning “has to” then add a synonym of hurt or throb. The clue is a definition by example, hence the question mark. Excellent

13a Stop about English being reserved (5)
QUIET: A synonym of stop is placed around the abbreviation for English.

15a Bachelors in action getting sordid (7)
DEBASED: Some Bachelors of Art (don’t forget the S) are inserted into an action or exploit.

17a Reveal criminal’s carrying iron shackles initially (7)
CONFESS: Place the plural of the usual 3-letter abbreviated criminal around (carrying) the chemical symbol of Iron and the initial letter of Shackles.

20a Infant beginning to love making commotion (5)
BABEL: An informal word (used more as a term of endearment really) for a very small child and the initial letter of Love.

22a Slur like individual imbibing martini finally (9)
ASPERSION. Start with a 2-letter synonym of like and append an individual or being into which is inserted (imbibing) the final letter of martini.

25a Writer could be boring study (6)
DRYDEN: Follow a synonym of boring in the sense of unemotional or dull with a crosswordland staple 3-letter study as a noun. Definitely one from wordplay and checkers!

26a He’s a card, performing parlour game (8)
CHARADES: Anagram (performing) of HE’S A CARD.

27a Tick includes oddly lumped part payment (10)
INSTALMENT: Insert alternate letters (oddly) of LuMpEd into a synonym of tick in the sense of time.

28a Friend may be completely unknown (4)
ALLY: Append a mathematical unknown to an adverb meaning completely or fully.


1d Tender love god, also female upset (8)
FOOTSORE: Start with a god of love, add an adverb meaning also and the abbreviation for Female. Now reverse (upset) the result.

2d Worries over small pet (6)
CARESS: A synonym of worries or minds and the abbreviation for Small. Pet here is not a dog or cat.

3d Free beer laid out around time (9)
LIBERATED: Anagram (out) of the preceding two words around the abbreviation for Time. Free here is an adjective.

4d Treat your old well (7)
HEALTHY: A synonym of treat or cure plus an archaic (old) word for your. Excellent misdirection.

5d Not really keen to see vagrant (5)
NOMAD: A simple 2-letter word that could mean “not really” and a synonym of (very) keen.

6d Manacle with copper in bad mood (8)
HANDCUFF: I think this is meant to be a  synonym of with and the chemical symbol of copper inserted into a bad mood or tantrum? If that is the case U is doing double duty so there may well be an error in the wordplay.

7d Beginning to pen line for article (6)
CLAUSE: Place a synonym of beginning in the sense of origin around (to pen) the abbreviation for Line.

14d In woods, thanks sweetheart providing anticipation (9)
FORETASTE: Insert an informal thank you into an area of trees and append this setter’s swEetheart.

16d One acted out amusing story (8)
ANECDOTE: Anagram (out) of the preceding two words.

18d Furtive about cooker left dirty (8)
SLOVENLY: A 3-letter synonym of furtive or secretive goes around a kitchen appliance and the abbreviation for Left.

19d Some autopsy chests to find souls (7)
PSYCHES: Hidden in the clue. I have to say my repetition radar bleeped here as the indicator is the same as that in 10a.

21d Broadcast from excellent band (6)
AIRING: Two letters that could represent excellent and a band in the sense of loop or circle. Nice to see broadcast used as a definition rather than an anagram indicator. Here’s an excellent band with a lovely song beautifully performed.

23d Article supports fake healer (6)
SHAMAN: An indefinite article “supports” or goes below in a down clue a synonym of fake or fraud.

24d Ring of King Charles II’s mistress (5)
KNELL: An abbreviation for King and an informal name for the mistress of the king in the clue.

Quickie Pun:  Gear + Teen =Guillotine

Many thanks Ray T. My ticks go to 11&12a plus 4&24d. Which ones earned your seal of  approval?

95 comments on “DT No 30249
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  1. Ray T at his very best. I seemed to be heading for ** time but I was slowed down by 5d and 7d, and I am not entirely convinced that 5d is a vagrant – 2.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 27a, 6d, and 24d – and the winner is 24d.

    Thanks to Mr T and Stephen L.

  2. Like Senf I was cruising for a 2* finish when 7d hit so ended up with a ***/**** result. I don’t think I have seen pen used in this way before and spent a while trying to fit a word beginning with P. My favourite was 4d. Thanks to SL and RayT. Tavistock is equally uninspiring this morning SL.

  3. I had the same doubts about the vagrant, my LOI
    I didn’t notice the u doing double duty and a gentle enough RayT today.
    I noticed an icky hubby in the unches, I hope Ray is ok
    Thanks to Ray and Stephen

  4. Was getting on like the proverbial residence in flames until 7d brought me to a halt. I had the answer but could not work out the derivation. Thanks to StephenL for explaining it but I should have been able to work it out as I appear to have been on the same wavelength for the other clues.

    Favourites are 12a and 24d.

    Thanks to setter and hinter.

  5. Brilliant.

    RayT has taken brevity to another level with the average number of words per clue being 5.39 with no double definitions, my least favourite clue. What an achievement!

    I hate this sort of grid where the checking letters are often vowels. But, I managed to rip through it, grinding to a halt at 13a which I eventually got.

    Hugely enjoyable with the tip of the hat going to 12a.


    1. That’s interesting – my least favourite one is the “initial letter clue”, where you nearly always get “initial/initially” as a trigger. Bit of a waste of time, really.

      1. I find two synonyms a tad dull as there’s no crypticness, a clumsy word if ever I saw one.

        I hear what you are saying re ‘initial’ as it does immediately give the game away. I think, for rookie solvers, they are hugely helpful to get them going. Very much like ‘some’.

        I once saw ‘source’ play the same role as ‘initial’ which I liked. It was something like….’The source of streams etc’, where it was referring to the first s.

  6. 2*/4* from the master of brevity with 4d my favourite.

    I struggled to parse 6d and, like SL, think the wordplay leads to 2Us.

    I think 5d is OK. The BRB gives one of the definitions of vagrant as “a person who has no settled home”.

    Many thanks to RayT and to SL.

  7. Last in was 7d and a bit of a bung in,apart from this a steady solve and a ***/**** for me.
    Favourite was 11a ,assumed the cockney slang.took a while to get the commotion in 20a
    Thanks to Ray T and SL.

  8. I have finished this, for me, challenging but satisfying puzzle. To begin with ai only had 3 answers and then slowly it all started to fill up. I did have to check a couple on google eg 24d and got really stuck on 27a for ages, as I got insect in my head (a very dangerous medical condition!). I needed the hints to fully understand some of my answers. My favourite was 12a but many others could have been.

    Many thanks to Stephen L for the excellent hints and the setter (RayT)

    Steve C I agree with your animal sentiments which is why we walk the dogs at the rescue centre (our 2 16 year old cats would not like an interloper). You will be pleased to hear that many are being re homed very quickly and hopefully due the process will not be returning to the rescue centre.

  9. A challenging puzzle today with Ray T outdoing himself onthe anagrams and unusualbsynonyms. Its difficult to pick favourites from such a clever collection of clues but 7d was very sly, 4d was delightfullyarchaic, 14d was guilefully misleading and 25a appealed to my literary tastebuds . Many thanks to Ray Tfor a most absorbing puzzle and to Stephen Lfor the hints.

  10. 26A was, typically, beautifully crafted. But, as for some others, 5D did raise an eyebrow. A true 5D would certainly baulk at that definition. And 7D had me foxed for a wee while. But, on reflection, it’s – just about – fair enough. Thanks, as always, to RT and SL. PS … and as for the Quick? Non!

  11. For me, about as good as a cryptic can be, and certainly as enjoyable as any previous Ray T that I can remember. I had no problem with 5d since ‘vagrant’ means wandering, roaming, drifting, etc., as an adjective, but my favourites were 7d, 24d, 1d, 14d, 4d, & 11a–that’s enough for two podia! Thanks to Stephen and Mr T. **/*****

    I found K-cit’s Toughie today surprisingly accessible and very enjoyable.

  12. Surprised I only three hints to finish this Ray T which must be a record for me. Three moans about those three which were 20a, 5d, and 7d. Since we are now virtually a godless nation and the Bible is unknown to most under 50 and Brian I don’t think this word is in common usage. In fact I have never heard it used as such even after nearly 17 years of Sundays in a Calvinist Chapel. As for 5d, having just read Anthony Satin’s excellent book ‘Nomads’ the term ‘vagrant’ for nomads is more than an aspersion or slur on the few real nomads left in the world it is a disgrace.Temps, bums, beggars, drifters, itinerant, the rootless and the hobos all qualify but not nomads whatever the BRB pontificates. 7d I refer back to our godless world where causes are always caused by another cause so cannot really be called an origin.

    Otherwise a fairly friendly puzzle with some very good clues which have been difficult to winnow down to three for honourable mentions. Finally I had to choose between across and down clues and my three are 11a, 22a and 25a.

    Thanks to Ray T and SL.

    1. Started my comment when only Senf’s comment was showing but was interrupted by a visitor. Just saying in case you were wondering why I made such a fuss about 5d. It is really unallowable, verboten, off limits.

        1. But it tarnishes all who keep having this disgraceful slur set in front of them. Whenever they see vagrant the synonyms they think of will include nomads.0

          1. I don’t see it as a slur at all, Corky. Nomads and vagrants are both types of people who lead a wandering/itinerant lifestyle with no settled home.

            1. I agree with you, Jose. One of the nicest most erudite of men I have ever come across was a tramp. He had a sharp brain, a wide knowledge of many subjects and was very interesting to talk to. He used to be a vet by profession but I never asked why he became a vagrant.

              1. One of my near neighbour’s at a former residence was a college lecturer and became a vagrant, sleeping on park benches and the such like. It’s a long while ago since I last heard of him, I’ve no idea if he’s still alive but I doubt it.

                1. It’s sad isn’t it, Taylor that this can happen in today’s society? I suppose in some cases it’s their choice. In our county town of Shrewsbury there used to be, back in the 80s, a lady who slept under blankets by the heating vent of the post office sorting office. Local people felt sorry for her and took legal action to get the council to rehouse her. At the hearing it was ruled that it was her choice to live as she did and she was free to continue living under her blankets by the heating vent. It was what she wanted.

                  1. It was certainly Derek’s choice. I think the drink got to him. In the days when I used to bump into him in the pub, before he was a vagrant, he told me his father drank himself to death and he was going to do the same thing!

            2. Not so. Nomads have a life of movement with the seasons taking their animals where the grazing in the spring and summer and finding suitable autumn and winter places for their livestock and families. Nomads are born into the way of life and they have a long history of achievements.

              Examples given on this blog of the appropriateness of this use of the word nomad are a display of ignorance. BBC Player has several programmes on nomads which are worth watching.

              1. Corky, with utmost respect, it is not us displaying ignorance but you being too specific/narrow. We are, of course, aware of those nomads who form wandering pastoral communities in deserts and places like Mongolia, etc. Here, we are talking about the wider/overall meaning of the words. A nomad is (generally) a wanderer/rover. A vagrant is (generally) a wanderer/rover. Neither of them has a fixed/settled home. Hope that is an acceptable explanation…

                1. A nomad has a fixed home ; he carries it wherever he goes. Such indifference to meaning results in the demonisation of groups which further leads to their becoming outcasts.

  13. Super puzzle from the Maestro, for me appropriately challenging for a Thursday backpager and requiring careful thought to tease out the required answers from the very deft – and concise! – wordplay. What wonderful surface readings throughout, so clever when so few words are used.

    Special mentions to 12a, 22a. 27a, 2d, 4d, 5d and COTD 24d

    3 / 4.5

    Many thanks indeed to RayT and of course to SL

  14. Excellence comes as standard from this setter on such a regular basis that it is very hard to pick an outright winner from such an impressive field. 24d seems to be a popular choice so far, so I am happy to add my vote to that one. Superb puzzle, great entertainment.

    Thanks to Ray T and SL.

  15. Much of what I think about this puzzle has been said by others. It seems that the same clues in the NE corner either foxed or annoyed more than a few. I’m in the foxed category. I’m afraid I couldn’t get 7d even with the hint making this the first DNF for me for a very long time. I’m still not very sure about it! Lots to like, especially 12a, 22a, 4d and 24d.. Thanks to Ray T and StephenL

  16. What a super puzzle! Once again, ticks all over the place but, while enjoyable, it was no pushover by any means. I had completely forgotten that kind of walrus in 12a and what a fantastic clue for misdirection because I spent far too long in the animal kingdom. Another clue with a great surface and misdirection is 4d and 24d raised a smile. My COTD is the aforementioned 4d, which could end up being my COTW.

    Grateful thanks to Ray T for the fun. Thank you, SL for the hints.

    The Quickie pun was great.

  17. Initially, the world of the cryptic crossword cowered at my feet. Devon, Cornwall, and even as east as Sussex were mine. All mine.

    But then…I felt like a man who, chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him in the leg.
    I rocked, like a jelly in a high wind, as my Staedtler HB2 hovered over the page and those blank white squares taunted me.

    My toast, and my orange juice with no bits were no comfort to me today!

    Oh! Praise be that we have Stephen to hand to guide us through these tempestuous waters! For without him, I would be reduced to banging on the dentist’s door and begging him for more Lorazepam.

    Thanks to Ray T, Stephen, and P.G. Wodehouse.

    1. Thank you Terence. I do enjoy your witty, self-depracating contributions, always nice to have some gentle humour on the blog.

    2. If that’s what Lorazepam does to you, Terence then you should visit your dentist more often.
      A wonderful post!

      I take it the lorazepam is because you don’t like dentists?

    1. Yes, I was thinking that too. But in that case the “with” in the clue would have to trigger AN in the answer – and that doesn’t work.

        1. Eh?? In that (flawed) version, the copper(policeman) is the DC – there’s no metal involved. H(AN + DC)UFF.

            1. Yes, that’s the actual flawed clue! BB was suggesting another version (also flawed) that involved a policeman (DC) and no metal – H(AN + DC)UFF. This is all getting very complicated. :-)

              1. It just goes to show that you see what you want to see. When I solved the clue AND CU came to me first and I immediately came up with the answer not even bothering to check that my parsing gave the answer 2 Us. :eek:

                1. I thought exactly the same Steve. Although the ammunition for the anagram wasn’t quite right , the answer to the clue was still clear to see, I suppose.

  18. I think Thursday puzzles are a little like dipping your hand into a bran-tub – you never know who or what you are going to get. Today’s provided me with a lovely surprise and RayT at his most entertaining.Like others 7d taxed my aging brain most, as did 13a for no other reason than me being dense! My stand out favourites include 11a, 12a, 17a & 27, but best chuckle moment came from 25a. Having said all, each clue is worthy of merit. Thanks to MrT and SL.

  19. Ray T at his most benign and very enjoyable for all that.
    I notice that the Queen has now gone to her rest and been replaced by the King!
    Great fun.
    Thx to all

  20. It was the stretch required to find 7d that delayed me today – still less than convinced although I know the maestro will have found justification for it!
    So much to enjoy here and it was hard to restrict my choices. In the end I settled for 25a plus 4,18&24d getting places on the podium.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks to Stephen for the review.

    1. I think 7d is fine, Jane. In a contract or legal document, the terms “clause” and “article” are interchangeable.

  21. Another good puzzle from Ray T. Great clues (except 6d!), a decent enough challenge and a pleasing solve. Of the several ticked I’ll pick 4d for my favourite. 3*/3.5*.

    *Has anyone else noticed that we are getting quite regular (and fundamental) clue errors in these DT cryptics. This hardly ever used to happen before!

  22. Loved it. relatively easy except 7d like many others was my last and then it was a bung in. Not easy to pick out a favourite.

    1. The updated clue on the old puzzles website is:

      6. Manacle with copper Manacle with copper principally in bad mood in bad mood (8)


      1. Yes, threw me also. I just checked and it’s still worded that way on the old site. I still use the old site as it is nigh on impossible to print something I can use on the “brilliant” new puzzle site…

    1. Well said, Willie – we often thank the bloggers without acknowledging the fine work they all do on our behalf. 👍

  23. Good afternoon
    Yesterday’s show was dismal. No more than 50% completed, so I was too ashamed to post! Thankfully today, all is done, not without some degree of head-scratching – especially when came to 1d, which was the last one in by a long way!
    Thank you to today’s compiler (have a Crikey!! for 12a!) and to StephenL

  24. Taking too long over last in, 7d, just popped me into 3* time.
    Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle with 12a as my COTD, just ahead of, on reflection, 7d!
    Many thanks, RayT and StephenL

  25. Typically superb from my favourite setter. By the time I got a chance to solve today’s puzzle the wordplay error in 6d was fixed in the online version. Otherwise I went through this pretty quickly until I was held up by 7d, which I just didn’t see for ages, and 12a which I hadn’t heard of before/forgotten (despite growing up watching Merv Hughes). I thought 10a was a great lurker (though I too noticed the repeated indicator), 4d a smart misdirection that kept me guessing a while but 18d got my COTD for the super surface and making me smile **/****

    Thanks to RayT and SL

  26. Found this RayT a tough puzzle. Nothing came easily and for me a DNF.
    Typical I find for RayT puzzles .

    3*/2* for me today

    Found some of the parsing hard to follow to not following it at all.
    Unknown word in 25a & 23d.

    Favourites include 4d, 6d & 24d with winner 24d

    Thanks to RayT and StephenL

    1. 25a is the name of England’s first Poet Laureate and the “healer” at 23d does crop up from time to time so is worth remembering.

  27. I never find RayT easy and today was no exception, however, I did finish all except in the NE where I had 4 DNF. I used copious ehelp, using StephenL’s hints to complete the NE. Of course, I was lost with 5d and 7d, it seems most of us were. I liked 12a, funnily enough, I never thought of the animal, only the answer, but my fave has to be 24d.
    Thanks to RayT and to StephenL for his help struggling to the finish line.

  28. It takes me a lot to shake off my favourite setter – a particularly brilliant crossword today.
    So many wonderful clues as usual including 9 and 25a and 6d (juggling or otherwise) and 24d.
    Thank you to Ray T and StephenL

  29. Evening all. My thanks to StephenL for the analysis and to everybody else who commented. Much appreciated.


    1. Thank you for a great puzzle, Ray T. 6d caused quite a discussion. :grin:
      Good of you to pop in. It is always appreciated when the setter pays a visit.

    2. Good evening, Mr T and thank you for another great puzzle although I’m wondering whose wrist needs slapping over the wordplay in 6d!

  30. Perhaps it is a measure of how tough some of the cryptics can be lately, but I am finding myself rather enjoying the Ray T puzzles. Could I finally be getting on his wavelength? I do think that even though he can be tough too, you are never left groaning at his answers. I had no problem with 5d or 20a, they are well known words and not something Terence would have to put on his infamous list.

  31. Like others I set off at a cracking pace, slowed to a trot then a crawl, but I stuck at it and followed the instructions and got there, phew! I didn’t notice the double duty of the ‘U’ in 6d until I read the comments. Great stuff from my favourite setter. Cotd was 12a, the answer was obvious but the parsing less so as I had several goes at including ‘ouch’. Thanks to Rayt and SL.

  32. Add me to those that struggled to see 7d (& inexcusably 13a for some reason). Feared I’d have to throw in the towel & seek Stephen’s help but the light bulb eventually came on. No issue with 5d for me though I did notice the ricket with the U at 6d. Enjoyed it.
    Thanks to Ray T & Stephen

  33. Struggled today 5*/ 3*. However, this may be due to my brain being fatigued by 2 1\2 hours stuck on the M25.
    Thanks to the maestro RayT and to SL

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