DT 30281 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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DT 30281 (Hints)

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 30281 (Hints)

The Saturday Crossword Club (hosted by crypticsue)

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A misty start to Saturday morning here in East Kent where I’m delighted to say that the weather forecast appears to have been incorrect, as instead of rain we have some lovely sunshine and blue skies.  Another delight was to find the crossword actually on the back page of the newspaper

I can’t remember seeing a grid like this where the corners each have three four-letter words.  These are quite often described in comments as ‘pesky’ – nothing pesky about these twelve words, I’d call them extremely friendly and helpful, as are the four three-letter words.

Another one of those prize puzzles where it is difficult to pick which clues to hint. If I haven’t chosen one you are stuck on, just let me know.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, an assortment of clues, including some of the more difficult ones, have been selected and hints provided for them.

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow.


6a    Firm friend admits writing articles to make amends (10)
An abbreviated firm and a friend into which is inserted (admits) part of a verb meaning writing articles

9a    Royal helpers, we’re told, making barriers (9)
The name of these barriers sounds like (we’re told) some royal helpers

13a    Musical on my ship arranged by Charlie (9)
An anagram (arranged) of ON MY SHIP followed by the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

17a    Study exotic lace mask (7)
A verb meaning to study and an anagram (exotic) of LACE

21a    Live with means, perhaps — though not started — to make drinks? (9)
A simple way of saying live with a synonym for means without its first letter (not started)

29a    Rush just a little bit (4)
A verb meaning to rush or a little bit of an added ingredient

30a    One looks for meaning in this (10)
A cryptic definition of an extremely useful book for both setters, solvers and crossword bloggers


1d    Liquid food that’ll make you very high (4)
A synonym for very and an adverb meaning high

4d    Fruit covering back of head? It’s a neckerchief! (7)
A fruit ‘covering’ the letter at the back of head

5d    Police on outskirts of Stranraer disturbed to find burial site (10)
An anagram (disturbed) of POLICE ON and the ‘outskirts’ of StranraeR

13d    Biscuit or loaf that doesn’t reach the edge of a baking tin? (10)
The name of this biscuit, if split, 5,5 could describe a loaf that doesn’t reach the edge of a baking tin

14d    Coat that’s made by Apple (9)
A waterproof coat or a type of computer made by Apple – I did check whether the apple might refer to the National Apple of Canada but that is spelt differently

19d    Greed: a sin ensnaring a king (7)
A (from the clue) and a sin  ‘ensnaring’ another A (from the clue) and the Latin abbreviation for king

28d    Tease about black clothes (4)
A reversal (about) of a verb meaning to tease followed by’ the abbreviation for black

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As this is a Prize crossword, please don’t put any ANSWERS, whether WHOLE, PARTIAL or INCORRECT, or any ALTERNATIVE CLUES in your comment. If in doubt, leave it out!

Please read these instructions carefully – they are not subject to debate or discussion. Offending comments may be redacted or, in extreme cases, deleted. In all cases the administrator’s decision is final.

If you don’t understand, or don’t wish to comply with, the conventions for commenting on weekend prize puzzles then save yourself (and me) a lot of trouble and don’t leave a comment.

The Quick Crossword pun: SACK + RIFF + ICE = SACRIFICE

99 comments on “DT 30281 (Hints)

  1. I enjoyed the puzzle this morning, didn’t notice the unusual shape of the grid until I read the blog. My favourite was 30a. Thanks to CS and today’s setter.

  2. I found this puzzle both straightforward and enjoyable, although , as CS says , some of the four-letter words were tricky and the last to go on I liked 6a, 5d, 8d and COTD the hilarious 9a. Thanks to the compiler and to CS for the hints.

  3. Surprisingly easy for a Prize puzzle … I don’t keep records but … must be close to my fastest ever finish.

    However, just re-read all the clues … very nice surfaces throughout.

    Thanks to setter (Chalicea?) and CS.

  4. Whoosh!
    Tackled this randomly which provided a spread of checking letters.
    Then, simply. filled in the blanks.
    Slight hesitation with several pesky four letter clues.
    Excellent surfaces throughout, I thought.
    In summary, */4*.
    Thanks to the setter and to CS.

        1. how about this one from John Cooper Clarke:

          To convey one’s mood
          In seventeen syllables
          Is very diffic.

          1. That made me really laugh out loud on my way home from the Covid booster. Cannot top that.

  5. Exceedingly gentle even for a Saturday, but no less enjoyable while it lasted. Hon Mentions to 9a and 18a, with familiar old friend 8d taking the top spot because it always makes me smile.

    Thank you to the setter and CS.

    For those who are able to access it, today’s Times puzzle is just as satisfying, and has more than a whiff of Telegraph back pager about it.

    1. Thanks for the tip, I will have to seek one out. This one really didn’t last very long at all!

    2. Thanks for the tip. I tend to stick to the Quickie in the Times, but they don’t do it on Sats.

  6. I found this very straightforward, but did get myself into all sorts of problems with 5d, even with all the checking letters in place.

    Thanks ti the setter and to CS.

  7. Some old favourites but sufficient to exercise the 30a, I chose 5d, 8d and 9a for my podium but even the littl’uns were good. I didn’t notice the unusual grid but first thought was there was a lot of black on show, but I don’t feel short-changed as we have 32 clues to solve. Thanks to CS and setter (who I suspect begins with a Ch or Ce – but my record at setter guessing is spotty at best)

  8. One of those tricky grids where you can’t get a decent toehold, but apart from that, everything fell into place fairly easily for a Saturday.
    Loved 1d when the working dawned on me, very funny, very clever. Well done to our setter today, good fun.

  9. Bit quick today, or maybe it’s not being hung over!

    Anyway, good fun. 13 d and 9 a both caused a smile.

  10. I do hope Jean-Luc pops in today. His restaurant is mentioned as the place to lunch when visiting Hyeres as part of an article on how to see the best of Provence in 12 days in the Travel section of today’s paper

    1. Always grateful when getting a mention in travel guides.
      Thanks to the Telegraph.

      1. I remember happy holidays there in my childhood- but sadly long before your time methinks.

      2. I’ll have to read that a look up Hyeres. We were in Nice in 2019 and loved that whole area. Provence is a lovely part of the world, envy you living there.

        1. I have always fancied a trip to see the Luberon and the childhood home of Marcel Pagnol. If you can see La Gloire de Mon Pere or Le Chateau de Ma Mere they are worth watching

          1. Haven’t seen My Father’s Glory & must seek it out on your recommendation. Claude Berri’s adaptations of Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources (the only Pagnol I’ve ever read) are absolutely wonderful & among my favourite French films.

            1. I loved Jean de Florette and Manon.. too Gerard Depardieu before he turned into an over refreshed ham IMO

              1. Love both these films, and would also love to see those landscapes for real one day!

      3. I had an aunt who lived in Monaco with a family home in Vence. I loved visiting her, lovely part of the world.

  11. Not a pangram, no double unches, very enjoyable, five bob on the Floughie Lady – 1.5*/4.5*

    Although, I did have some doubts over 25a but there it is in the BRB.

    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 18a, 21a, and 8d – and the winner is 9a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and CS.

    1. No, not I this week, though I’ll be back soon. We did enjoy this one (more than today’s Times). Thanks to the setter.

  12. 1*/4*. Light and good fun. I’ll even forgive the “unqualified” woman in 8a as she is not at all vague in terms of this blog!

    It’s quite difficult to pick a favourite today from so many good clues but I think 9a just edges it.

    Many thanks to the setter and to CS.

  13. I liked the layout of this fellow, the three and four letter answers gave me a flying start. 18a nearly made it on to THE LIST, but the panel was feeling generous this morning and let it go.

    H is recovering very well now and we are hoping she is well enough to go out for some fresh air this afternoon, perhaps even for a lovely walk (although a very short version).
    I do hope Robert is improving too.

    Thanks to the setter and PC Security (anag)

      1. Nice to hear that H is on the mend, Terence. After a very misty start, the weatger is bright and it’s finally springlike s I hope it holds for your walk.

    1. Thanks, Terence (and many others), for your kind thoughts during my capriciously mysterious illness. I am somewhat better, just not ‘there’ yet. Glad to hear that H is doing so well.

    2. Good to hear H is recovering and I am sure the lovely countryside will look forward to seeing your pretty perambulations again. I thought one of the downs might have gone on The List but then xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      1. Those are not kisses, I forgot it was Saturday and deserve to be on the naughty step. Apologies. 🫢

  14. Pleasant weekend fun with several amusing parsings. South beat North to it. Surely 2d is usually semi and unusual spelling for 4d. My podium went 1d, 9a, 11a. Thank you Mysteron and CS.

  15. An excellent start to the weekend, light and good fun. Held up by trying to cram a well known citadel into 5d for some reason.
    Favourite was 9a.
    Thanks to the setter and CS

  16. Light and good fun, perfect weekend entertainment.
    Top three for me, based on their humour, 9a plus 8&15d.

    Thanks to Chalicea, presumably, and to CS for the hints & pics.

  17. Definitely light but hugely enjoyable.
    Can’t wait to see the 9a’s on Saturday the 6th and haven’t got a clue if Whitehall and the Mall will be accessible on that day. Might have to spend my time at the Garrick during the procession.
    Thanks to the Saturday setter and to our very qualified girl for the hints.

  18. A very enjoyable crossword today.
    Lots of great clues.

    Thanks to the setter and to crypticsue.

    Beautiful day so far up here. Sunny and bright if a little chilly for the time of year.

  19. Very pleasant and a joy to solve. My COTD is a toss up between 9a and 1d with the latter just nudging ahead of the former.

    I’m going with Senf’s double unch theory and, as there aren’t any, I’m putting my five bob on Chalicea. So thanks to her (or whomever) for the fun and CS for the hints.

    Once again, I will be questing the holy grail.

  20. Not for the first time have I been mistaken for Chalicea….😊! However, I’m glad so many of you liked the humour in my clues: I like to think it’s my trademark (or Chalicea’s as well, perhaps?). I’ve been absent for a while; but hopefully back more reguarly now…

    1. Well how wrong was I? 🤣

      Thank you for the puzzle, X-Type and for popping in. It is always appreciated when setters pay us a visit

    2. Thanks for popping in and for an enjoyable puzzle. You have obviously been away for far too long to be easily recognisable!

    3. Yes, X-Type. I suspected it was you (as it wasn’t a pangram) and am honoured to receive so many warm comments on the quality and humour of your clues. I too have been absent for a while and hope we can both be back more regularly now …

      1. Yes Chalicea, I definitely look forward to your crosswords as they make me feel smart and not as thick as two planks 😊.

    4. Yes, most enjoyable – the grid was very friendly. Many thanks for the amusement.

    5. Thank you, this puzzle was right up my street. A truly enjoyable solve, and look forward to seeing more of your compositions.

    6. Well my 5 bob (on Chalicea) would have ended up in the bookies satchel but thanks for a lovely puzzle & for popping in. Pleased to hear we can expect to see you more often.
      Thanks also to CS

  21. Completed over breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed it (the puzzle and breakfast) before a walk in the sunshine. 9a my favourite but so many others could have been.

    Many thanks to x-type (you have also made the sun come out so please come back again soon) and CS for the hints which help confirm my thinking.

  22. Lovely little gem of a SP puzzle, which ended too quickly. Surprised to see that it’s X-Type, but he’s always welcome here. No particular favourites but fun working out the 3- and 4-letter clues. Thanks to CS and X-Type. **/***

    I read yesterday that Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks (Yorkshire) police procedurals, died back in October and that his final Alan Banks novel is now published over here, Standing in the Shadows, his 28th in that series. I know that several of our commentariat have, like me, been loyal fans. My copy is on the way.

    1. Sad to hear about Peter Robinson passing away. Being the cheapskate I am, I am 18th in line for ‘Standing in the Shadows’ at Winnipeg library where 30 copies are on order so no waiting time once they are received.

    2. I met Peter Robinson on a pre covid Croatian cruise and made sure I had one of his books with me for him to sign. A sad loss

  23. Lovely puzzle, finished in almost double quick time, except I entered the wrong words in 8d and 26d which held up 11a and 30a. 5d is my COTD because initially the clue totally fogged me, but then the mist cleared, I was kicking myself. Many thanks to X-Type for an entertaining puzzle which also allows me time to get on with other things (much to my husband’s relief) and Cryptic Sue, whose hints I didn’t need, but were good to check against my answers.

  24. Quick question to you all. Does anyone else ever try the Sunday Times clue writing comp? I imagine some of you do. If so … I just got (very mildly) chided for daring to use “magic” as an anagram indicator. Bearing in mind the Times used “beast” as one such only the other day, I thought this was a tad harsh! Am I wrong? I often am. But I’d love to know what you think.

    1. The universe of anagram indicators seems to expand daily. If ‘for dalliance’ (yesterday’s Toughie) and ‘beast’ are acceptable indicators, I cannot see a problem with ‘magic’ which does rather suggest transformation and change.

      1. Thanks Mustafa. I was hoping you’d have a thought on the matter. Wise words, as ever. We’re clearly on the same team! The idea of sticking to some mythical, stagnant list just doesn’t sit well with me. T’was ever thus.

  25. What a super puzzle, lovely surfaces and almost a write-in from top to bottom. Held up on 8d because misread the clue and thought that it couldn’t be that jewellery because maybe tasteless but not fake, despite there being lots of unsteady gaits with that jewellery. Too many faves to mention, but I suppose 9a just has it.
    Very many thanks to X-Type and to CS for the blog and its pics.

  26. Thoroughly enjoyed this, despite taking ages to get xxx out of my head for 8a. And yes, I checked the dictionary in case xxx was a word!

    Many thanks to X-Type for an excellent puzzle, and to CS for the tips that I thankfully didn’t need (though enjoy reading anyway!)

  27. I couldn’t resist doing a minimum word Hrothgar, but verbosity is more my style as you may have noticed. I enjoyed this, not only for the 3 and 4 letter words and the humour, but because we only had a narrow window to complete it before setting out for Cambridge for our Covid boosters.
    Sorry Sue I have not read your comments but will come back later. Sitting in a traffic jam behind a large Mercedes with an intriguing personalised number plate. I wonder who it can be?

    1. I did spot this rather flash Lamborghini inYork the other day and wondered if BigDave44 had got himself a new motor

  28. A very gentle solve, but nonetheless enjoyable for that. I liked the unusual grid and the multiple clue types used. Difficult to pick an overall favourite today though, unusually for me, I liked the somewhat misleading anagram at 13a and 1d and 24a provided some amusement. Thanks to X-type for the absolute pleasure and Cripticsue whose comments I enjoyed reading.

  29. Another great Saturday puzzle this week.
    Some answers in this one were almost like Silvanus style in 25a from Friday’s. Made me laugh out loud for two in the top half. Very good.

    1*/5* for me today.

    Favourites were again numerous.
    I pick 9a, 12a, 24a, 30a, 7d & 13d with winner 9a
    Liked … and groaned … at 14d !

    Thanks to X-Type and CS for hints and blog

  30. A very enjoyable puzzle. Thank you X-Type and welcome back and thank you to CS for the hints.

    P.S. Sue, you might wish to take another look at your Hints for 19d and 28d. In the former, the “ensnaring” entity isn’t specifically one of the Deadly Sins and in the latter the second appearance of “about” is incorrect.

  31. Straightforward, amusing and enjoyable. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to X-Type and CS.

  32. Really enjoyed doing today’s puzzle after returning from the hairdresser. Many enjoyable clues. Thanks to X-Type CS. Off to a Rotary charity Tribute act tonight Simon and Garfunkel. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

  33. A very honest puzzle today with humour and good surfaces. Many thanks to X-Type and CS.

  34. Only just completed this excellent and witty puzzle, but well worth the wait. My thanks to X-Type and CS.

  35. Just what was needed to brighten up a dreary wet afternoon! Straightforward but a very satisfying solve with some lovely inventive clues.


    Fav 18a LOI 30a as I realised I’d put an alternate answer to 26d.

    Thanks to X-Type ( more please!) and CS.

  36. It doesn’t get much better than this gem for a Saturday puzzle, IMHO. An enjoyable steady solve, with a handful of 4 letter answers going in last, strangely. COTD by a mile is 9a for me, closely followed by 4d which raised a few laughs. If every day was like this I would feel so smart 😊.

  37. Most of the 3 and 4 letter answers went in swiftly without checkers which is unusual. The only one that didn’t was stupid of me because I missed the lurker. I had only one sticker apart from that as I couldn’t think of the cemetery. I knew it was an anagram or partial but did not get that quite right and was convinced that there was an appropriate word beginning with a different letter. Got there in the end. Favourites 8 11 21 and 24a and 4 7 8 and 14d. Thanks XT and CS.

  38. What a pleasure! So much to enjoy, how on earth can one choose a fave. My only hold up was 5d, I had no problem getting the burial site but didn’t know why, missed the anagram completely. Dim or what? In the end I bunged it in, glad to know it was right. I loved 8d, but giggle today is awarded to 9a.
    Thanks X-Type for so much fun and to CS for unravelling 5d!

  39. What a lot of comments – reading them all have kept me out of trouble for ages.
    My last answer was 1d – just couldn’t see it – dim!
    Too many good clues to pick out any special ones.
    Thanks to X-Type for such a good fun crossword and to CS for the hints and pics.

    1. Nice to hear from . you Kath. I’m glad you are still persevering with Cryptic Crosswords. I ‘m still getting the first letter of some clues in the wrong square of the grid and hitting the wrong key on my mobile phone keyboard. At least I keep people amused with my Freudian Slips and Malapropisms. Don’t be a stranger.

    2. Good to hear from you, Kath. As Chriscross says, please keep dropping in. I still recall with fondness the concern you showed me when I went into hospital a few years back. I look for you daily. 🌹

  40. Good fun, although originally I had a Gwyneth Paltrow product/item? for 1d. What do I know about said person! Thanks to all – see you tomorrow

  41. I think I did it! I was slowed down by one answer that proved to be wrong and there was a couple of answers I wouldn’t say I have full confidence in. I had to look up 18a (the one mentioning germs) and the answer wasn’t a word I’m familiar with. Enjoyed it overall, always nice not to be staring at a blank grid for ages!

  42. Thanks for a great puzzle X-type….more like this please! Thanks too to Cryptic Sue.

  43. I enjoyed completing this spp over a pint at the pub this evening, like so many others 9a was my favourite. Initially I had the first part of 8d wrong having failed to fully parse it, my mistake was confirmed after solving 11a. Thanks to CS and X-Type

  44. 2/5. I’ve been out most of the day so late on parade. What a delightful puzzle. Favourites were 6, 18 & 25a. Thanks to X-type and CS.

  45. After a night’s sleep solved the last two, need to look to CS for a couple of parsings. Fav 13d, clever and made me laugh. A very enjoyable puzzle with many excellent clues and will now enjoy reading the hints and comments, a large part of the pleasure of the daily cryptic crossword. Thanks to setter and CS.

  46. Sorry for the late entry but yesterday was very busy. But I had to comment as I thought this was an excellent puzzle which I found highly enjoyable.
    Thx to all

  47. A belated comment from me (again): having noticed how many of you made remarks about the shape of the grid….It wasn’t my original design – we setters have to use one of a range of pre-drawn DT grids (of course, we can choose which ones we want to use, and when): but we can’t create our own purpose-made ones…. ‘Bye!

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